Wednesday, February 08, 2006

As We Pray, So We Believe

“As We Pray, So We Believe”:
A Theology of Inclusion

Part of what we inherit as Anglican Christians is a particular historic method of “doing theology” – a method coined in the Latin phrase “lex orandi, lex credendi” which can be translated “as we pray, so we believe” or “praying shapes believing.” At the heart of this methodology is the assertion that our believing (our theology) can and will be changed by our praying (our bringing to God the yearnings of our hearts and listening for God’s response.) It presumes:

That revelation is an ongoing process never fully contained in any text or creed.

That God continually calls us to new and wider expressions of the infinite love that lives beyond even our ability to imagine.

That we are partners with God in work of calling all creatures into loving relationship with their Creator and with each other

It is out of that historic dialectic process that All Saints Church strives to articulate a theology of inclusion. This theology of inclusion springs from our foundational understanding of God as the ultimate source of abundant love. As Trinitarian Christians that understanding manifests itself in prayers such as this blessing: “The blessing of God, the one who creates us in love, the one who liberates us to love everybody and the one who brings us into communities of love be with you this day and always.” It is also summarily expressed in the invitation offered at All Saints Church to the communion table: “Whoever you are and wherever you find yourself on the journey of faith you are welcome to come to the Lord’s table and receive the gifts of bread and wine made holy.”

Those prayers, along with many others through the decades, have shaped our believing that one of our chief callings is to prioritize manifesting God’s inclusive love in all aspects of our mission and in our ministry. Our believing – our theology – is firmly grounded in the traditional Anglican triad of scripture, tradition and reason.

In Scripture we claim the over-arching theme of both the Hebrew and Christian texts we inherit: the relentless pursuit of a loving God calling all people into community with God and with each other. In our Anglican identity we claim a tradition that has historically and sometimes uniquely managed to establish an inclusive “via media” where diverse voices live together are enriched rather than threatened by their differences. And our reason tells us that the proactive articulation of this theological perspective has perhaps never been more needed as we struggle in these early days of the 21st century with the challenge of multicultural, interfaith dialogue in a climate of increasing polarization and empire building.

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