July 6, 2008 at 12:08 | Posted in Life | 3 Comments
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Those that know me know I am a fairly spiritual person, but lately I’ve been feeling rather adrift. The church I am a member of (The United Church of Canada) made some rather large changes in recent years. I don’t object to the changes from a moral standpoint. In fact I think most of the changes are a step in the right direction.

My problem is that it seems in their move to become more modern and relevant and to, lets face it, get more butts in seats, something has been lost. When I go to the church now I just don’t feel it the same way I used to. Going to church used to have a strong “Faith experience” for me. Now when I go it just seem to be “going through the motions”.

It may partly be that I have changed congregations recently, but I can’t see that being the totality of what is causing this sense of something missing. It just all feels too watered down now.

The other problem is that when I look about to see if there is an alternative I’m faced with a stark divide. There are the faith communities that for me feel too rigid and set in dogma and outdated culture (Catholic, Evangelical, Baptist, Anglican, etc) and others that feel too “feel good” and seem to lack substance (Contemporary Christian groups, Other Evangelical groups, etc). The UCC used to be my happy place in between the two shores. A place that had substance, and felt good. Now it feels like they are trying to become one of the “Feel Good” faith groups, all fluff and no real spiritual work. I say spiritual work because the UCC is still big on social justice and I still like that about them.

Am I missing an option? Is there a Christian Faith community out there that is modern enough to not be encumbered by dogma and outdated culture, and yet hasn’t lost sight of the spiritual side of things?

I guess, due to the some times contentious nature of talking on matters of faith that I should clarify my terminology.

When I speak of dogma, I’m talking about too heavy a focus on the ritual, to the point where the routine of the ritual becomes the focus instead of the underlying spiritual reality(I understand the importance of ritual, and even enjoy it as part of the Faith experience, but feel the focus must be on the inner spiritual growth/journey of the Church (both the laity  and ministry).

By “outdated culture”, I’m referring to any community culture that imposes guilt or shame (I believe that God is a loving god and does not exclude people from that love due to their human failings), or separates the laity from the divine by imposing a “Special” priest class (I believe it is possible for all Christians to have a personal relationship with God without any intermediaries)

By “Feel Good” faith, I’m referring to the kinds of groups that seems to espouse that belief in Christ equals salvation, nothing more to it then that. For me there is a much deeper and more meaningful journey. Belief in Christ is only the very beginning. For me being Christian is a striving to be Christ like, it is an ongoing transfomative journey, not a destination. A Christian nature is something that I will forever be striving to achieve, through my actions and the transformative nature of grace.

I’m open to suggestions on options of Christian faith groups I may have overlooked, or constructive thoughts on the above. It has not been my intention to be divisive or contentious, I am simply trying to discus what is going on for me right now.



  1. Hi new around town, just wanted to invite you come by my site to get a good laugh about being a team player.
    it’s read my lastes post “Onk, Onk, here piggy”

    drunk in the holy spirit

  2. Hi, Freemor…

    I’m a UCCan minister – can I ask what community you’re living in? Part of the reality of the UCCan is that each congregation can (and does!) have different ways of expressing what you’re talking about.

    Some fall more toward the ritual end of things (ritual connected with our Methodist or Presbyterian heritage, or coming out of the more ancient heritage of the church Catholic), while others are in the “feel good” space… and still others are working in another direction.

    It makes for quite a melange!

    Christ’s peace – Richard

  3. Thanks for the interest. I am in St. Andrews, NB. now so Wesley UC is my local congregation. I haven’t officially move my membership there (moved from Toronto) yet. The Places I felt at home were Wanstead United (Toronto) and Cooksville United (Mississauga). But both of those were before the some of the larger recent changes (new statement (song) of faith, etc). I Have sent you an e-mail, with contact information, through your website should you wish to continue this discussion.


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