A Movement for Wholeness
I'm a Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor. The first question people ask of me when I say that (after saying "Weird! Never heard of 'em!"), is typically this:
"What do Disciples of Christ believe?"
"What are you guys all about?"
Naturally, I'm never offended by this, because I get it... we're just not that well-known.
Our churches are listed in directories as "Such-and-such Christian Church," which, in the days of a multitude of nondenominational churches calling themselves "All-manner-of-things Christian Church" (I'm looking at you, 'The Lighthouse,' 'River,' and 'The Rock'), makes us hard to pick out of the crowd.
The truth is, most folks don't know they're in a Disciples of Christ (DoC) church until after they've joined us for worship. I'm wasn't born into the denomination, myself, so I had to learn about what it meant to be a Disciple of Christ after I started worshiping with my home church in Kentucky, many moons ago.
So what are we all about? Our identity statement, as posted on disciples.org, doesn't answer the question very well at all, but it's a start:
We are Disciples of Christ, a movement for wholeness in a fragmented world.
As part of the one body of Christ,
we welcome all to the Lord’s Table as God has welcomed us.
The founders of our denomination didn't want to have a church with denominations at all (more on that later), so they started calling themselves and those that worshiped with them 'Christians' instead of 'Presbyterians,' or 'Baptists,' or 'Lutherans.' Everyone was welcome to be a part of this new 'Christian Church,' no matter the members' various differences on this or that piece of personal theology.
Don't believe in Hell? You can sing hymns right alongside the guy that does, or the gal that thinks 'Hell' means something different from you or the guy, and you can all be 'Christians.'
Believe something mystical and soul-changing happens when we break the communion bread together? Join with the people that think it's just a symbol and the people that think God is present in the elements of bread and cup.
Here's the one that makes a lot of folks in a lot of other traditions flip, but it's part of who we are: believe in the Trinity? Father, Son, Holy Spirit, not three beings but one in triune nature (trust, another blog post can be alllll about the Trinity, but it's not this one)? Great, come chat at coffee hour with people that don't.
"A movement for wholeness in a fragmented world." We welcome everyone to worship with us, no matter their denominations, their gender, their race, their sexuality, their country of origin, their political affiliation, their opinion on this or that theological concept... boundaries don't matter, differences don't matter. In the Disciples, the transgender Republican woman from Ghana that thinks the Trinity is bunk can worship alongside the straight Democrat man from DC that wonders how you can read the Bible and not come to the exact same conclusions he does, because here's the thing - despite our disagreements, we agree about one thing... the need for a Savior, and the sacrifice of the one we worship.
There's one affirmation we share, that we agree on, and leave what it means in specificity to the individual:
I believe that Jesus is the Christ, Lord and Savior of the world.
That's what unites us as Christians. The other stuff? The stuff that other groups have divided themselves over? We don't want our connections with other Christians broken. We want to be whole. We want others to join us in the wholeness. That's what we're all about.