Friday, July 14, 2006

We and I

Read a brief article in the latest Christian Century about changes proposed by the American Council of Bishops to the Liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church. What interested me most was the change at the recitation of the creed from 'We believe,' to 'I believe.' Strange I thought.
I don't like to pick on any denomination and pride myself on being the kind of Baptist that respects other beliefs, practices and traditions. In trying to get a clergy association started in my hometown I have had the best relationship with two local catholic priests. But changing We to I???

I am afraid that Christianity in America is already too individualistic and that may be largely in part due to Protestant even Baptist theological focus on personal salvation. Now Baptist have long focused on 'Soul Liberty' the right and responsibility of the individual to respond to God as they feel called. But I fear for the 'I' focus in worship. I once heard a person new to Christianity say, 'I get all I need from my small group. I don't know why I need worship.' Faith for this person was all about self, what do I get; how do I feel, what do I learn...
While Baptist do uphold the importance of the individual response to God we must keep that in tension with the purpose of the response. I am choosing on my own to be a part of the we, the family of God, the body of believers.

'I' faith misses the point of salvation, which is to empower the individual to live into the kingdom, the community of God. 'I' faith is only focused on self and not the community, not the renewal of all creation.

So please my Catholic brothers and sisters, don't loose the 'we.' Stick to 'we believe,' Not only for your sake, but for mine. In the end 'We believe' is the prayer that one day we will truly live as 'One Lord, one faith, one baptism...'

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