The Abomination of Denominations

Hank Mattimore
Reproduced with Permission

Religion is getting quite a bit of media coverage these days. The election of a new Pope for the Catholic Church made quite a splash. TV and other media enjoy speculating on what effect Pope Francis will have on the worldwide membership of the Catholic Church.

Did you notice that they invariably make a big deal about the "inroads" fundamentalist Christian Churches have made in Latin America and elsewhere. The Church, so the story goes, is very concerned over the increasing number of other Christian sects and the decreasing numbers of Catholics.

You know what? Here is one life-long Catholic who is not concerned in the least about those "inroads." I suspect that a loving and compassionate God does not give a rap whether I am officially enrolled in the Baptist Church or the Church of the Holy Rollers or the Catholic Church.

Good grief! This is not some sort of numbers game we are playing. "Ner ney ner. We have more Catholics than Protestants." I dare to hope that we have put behind us the time when Catholics bragged about being "the one true church," and Protestants accused the Catholic Church of being the bride of Satan. We are bigger than that aren't we?

The "Church" founded by the carpenter from Nazareth was not an exclusive club. It was closer to being a movement, an invitation open to all people, Jews and Gentiles alike. The only membership rule in this denomination is that we try our best to love one another and to take care of the world God has given us.

By his life and by his teachings, Christ preached kindness, forgiveness and told us work for a just world, to have compassion on the poor and the vulnerable and children. Jesus reminded us of our dignity as human beings, born in the image and likeness of God.

He told us that the kingdom of God is within us and that we are all brothers and sisters to one another. God is not up there somewhere. God is as close as the air we breathe, as close as the checkout person at a super market or the homeless dude on the corner.

These are the big picture truths of Christianity, shared with not only Protestants but spiritual people of many religions (and even no religious denomination at all.) Wherever men and women are trying to live their lives in accordance with those values, hey, I'm down for membership in that kind of denomination. That's the way I want to live my life.