The biggest personal dilemma ever faced as a Christian was realizing that the Church was not one. That the bride of Christ; which was charged to be Christ on Earth in action was hopelessly split into many sects. Even more disturbing is the fact that one Church deems one thing to be against Christ that another church deems to be with Christ. These are all matters that do not even address the issue of theological differences. There is not agreement among much of the Christian world about what it means to be a Christian. Worse those who gather in the name of Christ many times spend more time attacking each other than doing the work of God. Of course there is no clear, “work of God “for most Christians to agree on anyway.
This is leading some to assume that the relationship one has with Christ is individual. An individual relationship with God is narcissism. Personalized to our own needs and likings much like all those nifty cell phone applications that can tell us where we can find sushi anywhere on earth. These folks assume God will be their GPS through the daily trials of life and get them to heaven in the end. They get extra brownie points in heaven if they lead others to their own customized relationship with God.
They of course like this individual relationship with God idea. God is their Daddy who looks like them, thinks like them and of course has the same ethics which can neatly be written into doctrine. Those of us who are not lucky enough to be naturally like God need doctrine so we can have our fellow Christians individual relationship with God. Of course we have to give up being the individuals God created us as and meet whatever doctrine of Christian neighbor is promoting.
True Christianity is not some neat little relationship with God; that we get when we weep the sinners prayer when we are upset with our lovers, our jobs, and general disarray of the world. It is the journey of life where we constantly struggle to put Christ at the center when we are spiritually mature enough to know that that is what God calls us to do. Christ is with us from our point of Baptism. We grow imperfectly in the knowledge of Christ until we accept the truth of Christ at our confirmation and partake of Christ with full knowledge at the Eucharist.
We are only Christians when we know we have the choice to follow Christ or ignore Christ. We most walk that muddy middle ground until life’s circumstances calls us to fall at Christ feet. It is here in God’s true church that we discover and our born again into our Lord over and over. It is here that we find the grace of God in the absolution of our sins. Mother Church always welcomes back her errant Children because she is the essence of God’s love and promotes God’s true work in the world. The miracle is Christ church is one even when we act like it is not and Christ himself forgives us our arrogance for not seeing it.