Universal Christ

“Jesus said, ‘Do not stop them (casting out demons or healing in my name); for no one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterwards to speak evil of me. Whoever is not against us is for us.”

There has been what seems to me a worrying trend in some of the world’s leading Christian denominations over recent years, toward a renewed and zealous ultra-conservatism with regard to non-Christian religions. Newly ordained priests in the Roman Catholic church in this country and in America have been a notable example but I have seen plenty of signs of it in the Church in Wales too, both among newly ordained clergy and the laity.

Elitist attitude toward the other is born of fear and ignorance. It does not come from Jesus and it is at best a complete misunderstanding of his teaching. At worst, it is contemptuous of it. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. A religious constitution of any kind clearly is not.

There is much in common between our faith and the practices of the other major faiths. It is in honest dialogue with all God’s children, that we and they might grow in faith and in relationship with the Creator and with each other. Learning from the spiritual practices of others and sharing with them our own, is surely a natural response to the God we find in the face of all creation.

Someone asked the Dali Lama on a recent visit to UK, “How do I convert to Buddhism”. The wise one replied simply and quietly, “Go and become a better Christian”.

Let us walk in peace, secure in the notion that we are journeying in humility, empathy and respect into the heart of the universal Christ.

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~ by Fr Tim Ardouin on September 28, 2015.

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