Anyway, as a result of a number of recent discussions about Gretta (as she has not entered into them) on various FB pages I made the following post in the United Church of Canada FB group:
Key to all the discussions sparked by Gretta Vosper's musings has been a simple, yet very complex, question. And it is one that I think we need to lay open for discussion so we can then talk about where the boundaries of the community are...
What does it mean to be Christian????
THe United Church of Canada is a Christian denomination. Therefore to belong to the UCCan is to be a Christian (with the only membership boundaries being those laid out in the New Testament, not signing on to any other creedal statement). THere are a wide range of opinions on the details of what it the term "Christian" means but I believe that there is a common kernel.
What is that common kernel? What is the least you can believe/say to be a member of the Christian community?
As the one who posted the question(s) I think it is incumbent on me to try and provide my own answer....
To be a Christian is, at a base starting point, using the example of the New Testament community, to be one who proclaims "Jesus is Lord" (the earliest creedal statement).
Again using the witness of the New Testament as the base, to be a Christian is to be one who proclaims a crucified and resurrected Jesus/Christ.
To be a Christian is to be one who affirms the reality of God and that God is (somehow) active in the world.
To be a Christian is to be a follower of The Way, one who strives to live out love of God, neighbour, and self.
To be a Christian is to affirm that the life of faith needs to be lived out in community.
To be a Christian is to affirm a future hope, that which we call eschatology, for a world where the life of the Kingdom/Reign of God is made fully real in our presence.
To be a Christian is to affirm that in the writings and experiences of those who have gone before, especially the books we call Scripture, we can learn about God, about God's hope/plan for the world, and about how others have struggled with questions similar to ours, therefore we continue to read Scripture and ask where/how it intersects with our lives today.
I think that to go beyond that is to go beyond the base ground, the common denominator.
Edit to Add: While cleaning the bathrooms (because insights hit us at the oddest moments) I realized I had forgotten two statements:
To be a Christian is to proclaim that somehow in the "Christ event" (the life death and resurrection) God was doing something to bring God's creation to a state of "at-one-ness" with God in a way that had not happened before.
To be a Christian is to announce that God was revealed in the life, ministry, death and resurrection of the man we know as Jesus of Nazareth, who with the eyes of faith we also call the Christ, the Anointed One of God.