Terminology: Christian

I am glad I am not the only one struggling with these issues! There is an extremely honest post at O cuniculi! Ubi lexicon Latinum posui?,

Aren’t labels sticky?

I especially like this:

In short there are always senses in which the word “Anglicanism” does and doesn’t apply. So Perhaps for Anglicanism its a case of Louise Armstrong’s maxim: “if you gotta ask, you’ll never know.” Could we really get away with “If it doesn’t feel English, then it isn’t Anglican”?

Maybe being Anglican is about a common cultural heritage? The whole post is well thought out and argued. Although it claims not to be philosophical it reminds me of the philosophical discussion over universals and particulars. So read it and meditate upon it.

Yet, this paragraph really struck me:

I think if we quibble about what Anglicanism is, then we miss a very big point. Surely it is better to be a Christian rather than have our exact identity pinned down according to the way we conduct our Divine Liturgy and Divine Office. Even then we quibble about who is a Christian and who isn’t . There are many who call themselves Christians who say and do things that are manifestly not Christian ideals – that in itself doesn’t stop a person from being a Christian since we all sin and fall short of the glory of God. It’s what we believe in our hearts and confess with our mouths that is important. Jesus is Lord. If we cannot say that and mean it then there is a doubt on our Christianity.

I know there has been discussion in the comments section on this issue. I think it is one of those red-herrings sometimes thrown into the discussion. If we distill everything to whether or not an individual is a Christian, why do we bother with the Church and all these theological arguments? Why bother going to Mass on a Sunday rather than sitting at home and just being a Christian? Taking the lowest common denominator route in this does not add anything to the discussion.

When we talk through these issues we need to think communally! We need to see ourselves not as an individual but as a member of a community. My baptism not only calls me into the Body of Christ but also gives me a responsibility for all those called. Being a follower of Jesus does not happen in a vacuum! Can we really say that a person is a Christian outside of the context of God’s Church? Yes, we are all sinners but that sin is forgiven by God’s means, that is, his Church. Saint Paul says that the Church is the pillar of truth when he reminds Timothy of his duty as a priest (okay, I simplify!). I think Newman was right: we are either moving towards [Roman] Catholicism or away from it, that is, atheism.

Jesus is Lord and wants me to know his Bride, the Church!!


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