One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church?
There are religious people who - no matter how small a group - dare to think, that out of all the people only they are saved; spiritual paranoia, associated with great sincerety and great stupidity, is very hard to cure. Christians need humility too.
Josh Billings has claimed (for reason) that man is not made fool by what he doesn't know but what he thinks he knows.
Believer who in every matter hurries to say "this is incombrehensible", is criticising things too much based on his own reason. What one man's reason can't comprehend, is not even basics of knowledge and understanding for another.
It is not christian to agree, but to learn to disagree in harmony.
Christian is no longer a witness of truth, if somebody has a right to obligate them to adopt a same idea of truth that they have, even if this idea of truth had been universally aknowledged through the christian era.
You can always get along with the heathens. Believers are the worsed. When they condemn, they drag God along with them to condemn, and therefore there is no limit for their bashing.
Fanaticism is mostly based on imagination, that it is meaningful what we think of different "questions of faith". It can be meaningful, but only in negative sense, if we truly think God is interested what we think of theoretical religious problems, over which we never get further from reflection. And in the worsed case we call these convictions "Faith". Then we have theorized the whole Faith which is love affair.
Aphorisms by late Finnish Lutheran Vicar, Voitto Viro (1914-1999) by whom we have been inspired and have respect for, for he was unprejudiced servant of truth, who had courage to say what he thought, regardless of consequences.
Christians are "living stones" in a spiritual temple, within which the Spirit dwells. Under the new covenant, God dwells in His people. Thus, the Church was understood to be the "Messianic Community or the New Israel, its members being Abraham's seed, heirs according to the promise." The "ecclesia" - which is the Greek translation of the Hebrew "gahal" - the congregation of God's people, the elect race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession" (instruments of God in His work of redemption). "It is the temple of he Presence, it is the Body of Christ, and the Bride of Christ; yet the Temple has still to be built together, the Body has still to built up, the Bride has still to become wholly one with her divine Bridegroom."
The definition of Christians - "those upon whom the ends of the ages are come." - From the Early Christian Church" by J. G. Davis
"It is a universal law that, in order for anything to last, it must be able to constantly renew itself. And if Christianity is at present losing ground, it is because it has not renewed itself: for centuries it has clung to old concepts that are no longer valid and ought to be relinquished. Of course, it is not a question of replacing the principles upon which it is founded; there can be no better principles than those found in the Gospels. But so many false beliefs have been added, as well as practices which are now groundless!
Many people have also left the Christian religion in the name of reason, feeling the discoveries of science to be incompatible with the teaching of the Gospels. Well, that too is a mistake; to those who know how to interpret them, the discoveries of science only emphasize the Gospel truths. And it is up to the churches now to broaden their perspective, to show that scientific truths will never be able to destroy the truths of the Christian faith." Omraam Mikhaël Aivanhov
Being in the Church, Not of It
Often we hear the remark that we have to live in the world without being of the world. But it may be more difficult to be in the Church without being of the Church. Being of the Church means being so preoccupied by and involved in the many ecclesial affairs and clerical "ins and outs" that we are no longer focused on Jesus. The Church then blinds us from what we came to see and deafens us to what we came to hear. Still, it is in the Church that Christ dwells, invites us to his table, and speaks to us words of eternal love.
Being in the Church without being of it is a great spiritual challenge.
Henry J.M. Nouwen
Called out of Slavery
The Church is the people of God. The Latin word for "church," ecclesia, comes from the Greek ek, which means "out," and kaleo, which means "to call." The Church is the people of God called out of slavery to freedom, sin to salvation, despair to hope, darkness to light, an existence centered on death to an existence focused on life.
When we think of Church we have to think of a body of people, travelling together. We have to envision women, men, and children of all ages, races, and societies supporting one another on their long and often tiresome journeys to their final home.
Henri J.M. Nouwen
Being a Christian?
If you say you're a Christian, you're not really saying anything about yourself. Someone has said, there are as many ways to be Christian as there are Christians. Rather than various denominations, one could say we have different Christianities. We don't do justice to any spiritual movement if we only see it through our own belief system. Judaism as an example, we must fully appreciate it in its own terms - as a religion with its own self-understanding, not merely through Christian lenses as a predecessor to Christianity.
Christian is ultimately everyone who consider themselves Christian. No one can decide it for you! Christ surely knows his own sheep, and he's got other sheep as well, nor from this flock, just as there are many rooms in Father's house - room for everyone who wants to be in.
It is not Faith of the Heart to believe in this or that doctrine; It is not Faith of the Heart to obey certain rules for life; It is not Faith of the Heart to let oneself go with emotions. Faith is a personal love affair between the two, you and Christ.
Religion always has its outward shell and inner core; Courtyard and the Most Holy. Outer Christianity is dealing with a letter of the Scripture and morals; Inner Christianity drives to find the Spirit behind the letter, and aims to inner renewal of man - to become Christed inside out.
If you take thousands of years old Scriptures as sciense or law book, that is simply stupidity! Stupidity is hardly a sin, but surely it's not honorable for believers either. Christianity is not bound by dogma, nor owned by any church, neither it is captured in one book. If you think you've got all the answers complete within the covers, what you really got is a relic of the past in your hands. Christianity is a living, spiritual impulse springing forth from Golgotha and flowing through the history to open us a new glorious future! The Fall has not ended, signs of the times speak with clear voice, but as a counter activity or balancing factor, a new Creation in Christ has begun.
"Fraternitas Christi" - Fraternity of Christ - was a concept originally of the 15th Century world of ideas, concerning a secret brotherhood of the Christians, that goes beyond the denominational borders; It was especially propagated by Lutheran Theologian, Johann Valentin Andreae, and influenced on the rise of pietism, and later on various "secret societies" (rosicrucianism, freemasonry).
As John Matthews writes, there has always been a secret Church of the Grail beside the official Church. The ultimate mission of the priests and churches is to make themselves unnecessary. Religion has reached its purpose when man has learnt to make a silent church in his heart and work as a priest for himself, Paul Brunton wrote. Mind is a priest and heart is an altar, Kahlil Gibran wrote in turn. Also:
I am the church of God. The altar of my heart,
Is holiest when clean and empty of all art.
Ultimately, there is only one ecumenical, spiritual and invisible Church of Jesus Christ, and we are all called to be the Priesthood of Jesus in this Church of Love! "Lovest thou me?"..."Feed my sheep" (John 21). Sacrament is you, sacrament is love, and every encounter with another person. Where two people are gathered, there is a church, said St. Augustine. Church is not supposed to be a social institution, but a Mystery School.
According to Jacob Boehme, the “true Church of Christ” means the spiritual and divine aspect of humanity as a whole, and to whatever denomination, “Christian”, or “unchristian”, a person may belong externally, if he has found the true light of the Christ, i.e., Divine Wisdom within himself, then is he a member of the true Church of Christ, and a member of the inner circle, “an initiate” and “adept”; but if he has not found the Christ within himself, then all his titles and pretensions are worthless and ridiculous.
Gerald Heard thought that true Church is assembly of Holy Souls in all religions. The Book of Revelation states about New Jerusalem... "I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple (21:22)." John Shelby Spong has claimed that Jesus' Great Commission is request to cross over racial, cultural, and religious borders dividing nations.
"I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Mt.16:19)
To bind souls together on earth to set them free in heaven. Free community, united in Spirit but free to think for themselves.