Tag Archives: 1 Corinthians

Ecumenical Christian


I recently filled in an application form which had a box for ‘religious affiliation’. I was tempted to write: “It’s complicated!” I am Christian, a missionary disciple of Jesus. But which branch of the Christian family do I call home? The best way, really, to describe myself is as a practicing ecumenical Christian.
St Paul, annoyed with the divisions between Christians in the church in ancient Corinth, reminded them that “all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas [with their perceived distinctive ‘brands’] or the world or life or death or the present or the future – all belong to you, and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.” (1 Corinthians 3:21-23). That pretty much sums up my own experience. As a member of the Christian household, I am blessed by a superabundance of expressions of faith in God through Christ Jesus, so many gifts of a loving God to God’s people. Christ is not divided, the Lord our God is one God, so why should I have to choose to be ‘in’ one camp and ‘out’ the other?
My move from South Africa to Ireland has given me the opportunity to learn so much from Catholicism, and for my word-based spirituality to be filled out with the richness of images and rituals. All the gifts of the Christian world, in whatever form, from whatever tradition, are God’s gifts to God’s people, and I accept them with gratitude. To paraphrase St Paul, all those who proclaim the Gospel of Jesus are God’s servants, working together, and we are all God’s field, God’s building (1 Corinthians 3:9). What a wonderful building, what a beautiful, fruitful field!