This "pondering" is a little longer, so I'll go to traditional blogging format:
Based on the saying (Augustine?)
In essentials (the things we know for sure are of prime importance to God,) unity. In non-essentials (the things that are debateable, doubtful, not known for sure, open to interpretation,) liberty. In all things, charity (love, acceptance, care, concern).
For the last year+ I've been pondering, wondering about, & observing how much of our Christianity (mine & yours?) has been based on our culture rather than on real faith essentials... meaning, much of what I grew up in, experienced, & have observed (& continue to) has been more a product of our country of origin, the life experiences, & the definitions, practices & traditions that have been passed down to us by our very well-meaning elders... the result ends up being a Christianity defined by what we don't do. Something that I have heard over & over & over, ad nauseam, from other Christians is "you're not doing it right" referring to how I live for Jesus; my values & convictions; my priorities & life choices. Someday, I may do a post with the top 10 "We don't do's" for American christianity, so I won't list them here... But, you know what they are, don't you :)?
It's funny because different groups have different lists of things that they would consider to be "essentials" - my take is that if its something Jesus & the scriptures emphasized, the church has been connected with, still applies & matters regardless of your country of origin, culture & cultural experience, & technology (or lack thereof,) it might be an essential.
Bummer. We don't associate with other "believers" that aren't as enlightened as us. That we "do it" or "don't do it" right, while others don't. Don't believe it? Read the yellow pages, in the ad section for churches. Check out how we differentiate ourselves from other churches. Usually by the "We don't's". Hmmm.
It gets me to thinking about my perspective, the point of view that I have. Is it godly? Or have I created my own god in my own image, one who reflects me, my likes & dislikes, my preferences? Am I espousing a theoretical christianity that nothing to do with living a godly life? Or is the "godliness" I proclaim more closely tied to epic, stoic, &/or ascetic belief systems?
Freedom. It was for freedom that Christ has set us free. Are we free? Or are we bound to religious traditions & practices that lead more to the exaltation of self than the glorification of Jesus Christ?