What's in a name?

I am a Christian and unashamed to admit it . I do not believe in denominations, I believe in Jesus. Once you begin to claim a denomination, it has the tendency to soak itself into your very identity. You then begin to live by dogma rather than conviction through scripture. Christians of all denominations tend to believe in what I call "God in a box". That box has very distinct corners, and walls which we are defined by our denomination and we are quite comfortable living with God in that box.

Catholics have church law, catechisms, levels of sin (mortal sin or not mortal sin?),and human demands outside of scripture. So much so that church goers are bogged down with rules, regulations, and most of all confusion. Protestants on the other hand throw off all the external substances (except for perhaps their home church constitution if it has one) and work very hard at internalizing guilt among its members through sermons, accountability groups and the constant reminder that we are all sinners (as if we aren't terribly aware of that fact already)

Now. Why am I blogging about denominations? Because. When you identify yourself as "a Baptist" (just as an example) instead of simply "a Christian", then you tend to view the world with a Baptist lens. Which means, *should God want to teach you something outside the realm of Baptist traditions, you may very well not be willing to accept it.* And it is at this point that we have a problem. Most people don't realize they do this.... most people also don't realize how addicted they are to coffee and sugar until they stop having it every day ( more personal experience right there) :-)

When you open your world up to the possibility that God is a vast, wonderful, loving God that lives OUTSIDE of your comfortable box, then maybe you can begin to grasp the details of his design for your life. But you have to let go of preconceptions or this won't work.

I believe that God is constant. I believe He is Holy, Perfect and True. I also believe that to be a successful church, to have a loving accountability group and live in the freedom that Christ provides, we have to focus on the right things. And I also believe that we need to be willing agree to disagree with other believers - without automatically assuming they are sinning if they have a different thought than ours. (GASP!!!!)......but more on this later :)