Reflections on Membership in the Christian Community
Among other religious movements, the Christian Community stands out in its attitude toward membership.
On the one hand, there seems to be an almost casual attitude that allows non-members full participation in the spiritual life of the community. On the other hand, there is a deeper, far more earnest attitude toward membership that implies an effect in the whole life and destiny of the person who becomes a member. It is one of the paradoxes of our age that two such attitudes, in themselves seemingly contradictory, can exist side by side. These two views of membership, however, do not contradict each other in life.
The first view is a justified one for someone who has not yet become a member of The Christian Community. The Christian Community does not place rules and restrictions in the way of newcomers who are seeking a relationship to Christ. Church authority, or dogma, has no place in our path to Christ. Instead, every individual can discover a space in which he or she can grow at a pace determined by their own possibilities. The individual can one day reach the point where the inner membership with The Christian Community comes into view.
The second, deeper and more earnest view is taken by those whose inner membership has led to outer membership. They have taken a step that adds a broader dimension to their relationship to The Christian Community. The reality of Christ’s presence has begun to permeate the experiences in spirit and soul. It is often accompanied by changes in one’s outer life, because the moment has come when the effects of the Christ impulse have also begun to transforms one’s life.
When you become a member, it changes not only your own life, but it changes the life of The Christian Community as well. The inner commitment takes on an outer dimension which means that the life and destiny of The Christian Community have been strengthened. The outer body for the working of the Christ Impulse in our time has become stronger, more capable of maintaining itself in an increasingly complex world.
As a member, you discover that your participation in the Act of Consecration of Man is not for your benefit alone, but for the benefit of all who seek a relationship with Christ. This discovery makes you realize that your attendance at the Act of Consecration of Man is not merely a personal matter, a personal choice, but reflects a higher duty, a higher commitment that needs to be refreshed with some regularity.
It is out of this awakening of a higher duty, a higher commitment that the realization awakens: The Christian Community cannot live without you who are members. You are the rock on which it stands, a rock that will not waver and quake with every personal wavering and quaking. And you express this by giving in three ways:
-by giving of your Self to the spiritual life of The Christian Community in the Act of Consecration of Man
-by giving of your time to the social life of the community in helping with what needs to be done
-by giving of your money to the economic life of The Christian Community so that it can exist in the outer world
When you become a member of The Christian Community you become a member of something far greater than a local church. You become part of a religious movement that has a task that spreads out in space around the globe and spreads out in time into the future of humanity.
James Langbecker (1988) revised 2010 by Rev. Craig Wiggins