In the West, many of us have historically classified our faith with denominational labels. Catholic, Episcopalian, Baptist, Anabaptist, Lutheran, Pentecostal, Methodist, Non-denominational, Presbyterian, Reformed and the like. Each of these broad labels has its own sub categories.
Ours is a tradition of increasing fragmentation and disunity. Recently, an acquaintance asked me about my "religious views." I told him that I’m a follower of the teachings of Christ.
"You mean that you’re a Christian then." was his reply. "So what are you? Baptist, Lutheran….?
I replied with simply "Yes." (I took a deep breath) and followed that up with, "I’m an Orthodox~Anabaptist~Reformed~Liberal~Lutheran~Pentecostal~Catholic~Presbyterian~Non-denominational~Conservative~Methodist~Baptist~trans-denominationalist~Episcopalian~Mystic who follows the teaching of Christ in the Freedom of the Holy Spirit." (I’ve been resonating with "a Generous Orthodoxy")
"huh? What’s that?" Was the reply to my self disclosure.
Our conversation was off to a good start. As our conversation unfolded, I explained that my spiritual life is informed by the beliefs and practices of all of these traditions and many more within the broad scope of Christian history.
I’ve always had a disdain for the labels and classifications we use to isolate religious experience. Ones experience of God must extend into every area of our life. It should not be confined with the limits of any classification or denominational label we can attribute to it.
Following Christ is so much deeper than joining a church or denomination. We should embrace our long heritage, indwell it, let it percolate through our actions as we live out our faith before God.