Christian Connection

Shannon Gammon Articles, Carla Aday

Christians come in all flavors: Catholic, Baptist, Presbyterian, and most recently in large groups defined as unaffiliated or spiritual but not religious. Our congregation is part of a group founded on American soil during the western frontier expansion of the 1800’s. We are called “The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)”. We didn’t even call ourselves a denomination for the first 100 years of our existence because we were more of a movement than an official organization. But whether you call it a movement or a denomination, there is some energy and dynamic possibility that emerges when Christians gather together. As Jesus said “Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them” (Matthew 18:20)

I experienced that spiritual connectedness this week as I gathered in Dallas with a group of 35 Disciples of Christ pastors who lead congregations around the United States. The keynote speaker on leadership was fabulous but those shared lunches and dinners between sessions were the moments when laughter, tears, triumphs and defeats were shared in sacred trust. We are rejuvenated not by God alone but by the Spirit which arises when we risk the messiness of traveling life’s way together in community.

The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) has profoundly shaped my life and enabled me to glimpse the living Christ. When I was in the 5th grade, I was introduced to a young woman studying for the ordained ministry at TCU’s Brite Divinity School and because of that meeting, it never occurred to me that women didn’t belong in the pulpit. In high school, I traveled to New York and Washington DC with Disciples Christ teenagers from across Texas to learn about public policy and how our Christian convictions call us into faith that shapes society. At youth camps and conferences, I met friends who modeled for me the ethics of spiritual vitality and intellectual integrity and challenged me to live as a follower of Jesus. It is easy to take all of that for granted. But there are no self-made Christians.

I have always loved The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) denomination because not once in my life have I had to say “I belong to this denomination but I don’t . . . . . “ because this band of Christians encourages us all to read the Bible and discern for ourselves the truth of the gospel and how to live that out in real life. No prescribed doctrine or social policy from a faraway authority who decides for us. No group is perfect and ours isn’t either. We have our limitations and flaws. But I would place my life again in its care.

Because of this movement of Christians, I have known God’s transformative power. I don’t think it’s bad that folks try to be a Christian alone. I just know that for me, it isn’t possible.

Grace and Peace,