'It joyfully confesses that God is God, and we aren't'
Editor's note: The Rev. Michael Kinnamon - highly regarded as a gifted teacher, preacher, ecumenist and global church leader - was asked by the UCC's Stillspeaking Initiative to offer reflections on why someone might consider joining the UCC. Here are his 10 reasons.
Because, in an era when communities so often define themselves by whom they exclude, this community joyfully claims an identity as those who welcome the excluded, even as Christ had welcomed us.
Because, in an age of growing fundamentalism, this community joyfully seeks to be a "People of the Book" who, at the same time, feel no need to protect the Bible from the modern world.
Because, in a society where beating the competition is regarded as the highest value, this community joyfully treasures the gifts that God has given to other parts of Christ's one body, and to neighbors of other faiths. Because, instead of focusing only on personal blessedness in another world, this community joyfully focuses on the power of God to make this world other, a place of shalom for all God's children.
Because, in a culture dominated by images of self-fulfillment, this community joyfully celebrates that its members live no longer for themselves but for Christ and, thus, for their neighbors, each of whom bears sacred image of the Creator.
Because, resisting the extremes of hierarchical power and do-your-own-thing individualism, this community joyfully attempts to live by covenant of mutual accountability, grounded in God's covenant with us.
Because, in an age of horrifying violence, this community hears the call of the Holy Spirit to be just peacemakers, even when this is a costly thing to be.
Because, while it resists bumper-sticker religion, this community joyfully insists on thinking globally and acting locally.
Because, at its best, this community is marked by bold humility, precisely because it joyfully confesses that God is God and we aren't.
Because, in a culture that is willing to speak of God so long as God is kept safely contained in past traditions, this community joyfully proclaims that the living God is still speaking, and that is very good news.
Kinnamon, an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is the Allen and Dottie Miller Professor of Mission and Peace at UCC-related Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis.