I think every year the United Church Observer does a reader survey. If it’s not every year, then it seems to be pretty regular, usually about the beliefs of their readership.
This year, I was called to share my own thoughts around the results. It seemed, to the reporter, that 13% of it’s readership (who completed the survey) would fit into a “traditionalist” category. Somehow, the reporter found out about me and thought I too would fit into this category. How reporters do that, I have no idea.
The full results can be found here: http://www.ucobserver.org/faith/2011/07/what_you_believe/
It was nice to see she captured our interview nicely, and quoted from a couple of my sermons in a good context. I have to admit I was bit worried about how I might look with the article. And while I think she had me in the right category as far as a theological perspective fit, I’m not really comfortable with getting this label.
Ok, sure, my theology may be “old fashioned”, and I’m fine with that. However, for my friends and regular readers here, would you place my theological practice in this category?
As one who is trying to push the church to think in new ways, to change some of the ways it does ministry, does this fit the “traditionalist” label? (it’s ok if you think so, I could be a bit disillusioned with myself, in which case, you’re helping!)
Not that it really matters a whole lot. But I wonder what sort of affect such labels have on our clergy and churches? I know that we all don’t think the same way in the United Church of Canada, and often our differences have created great divides in our denomination. Do we need to know we think differently? Yes, of course we do. But I know in my short history of the church some of the divides and labels have hurt people deeply.
Yes we need to acknowledge our differences, but we also need to converse and learn from one another. It’s my hope the articles will help that discussion by opening doors and not closing them, even if I’m not always happy with the labels being used.