If you are new to this blog....

Welcome! The primary purpose of this blog is to explore and encourage around what it means to be winsome and sent into the world for God's glory. If you are new here, the definition of "lighthouse-searchlight" or our missional journey is a good place to start. Come peruse the blog and add me to your RSS feed!

Friday, March 16, 2012

what is a denomination?

Barry Ensign-George has written a thoughtful article entitled, "What Does it Mean to be a Denomination?"  As I was reading it I looked at the word, 'denomination,' to think about it's usage in everyday language.  Many people I know (often even within the church) use the word 'religion' to (incorrectly) describe the differences between Baptist, Methodist, Catholic, etc... - as in "I'm Methodist, but she is the Baptist religion."  All that is to say, 'denomination' does not have widespread usage, much less is it understood.  So Barry's post is a welcome explanation and invitation to consider this terminology.

The only mainstream usage of the word that I could think of is do describe different denominations of money.  20-dollar bills are said to be a different denomination than 5-dollar bills.  As I was about to move on to breakfast, I had the thought that many in the church and world probably think in those terms more than in the carefully thought-out terms in the article above. 

For example, some faulty but overheard commentary, translated into the currency analogy:

  • "It's all money, but we're more of a $20 denomination than a $5 denomination (or that very pedestrian $1 denomination over there)"
  • "Twenty $1's is worth as much as one $20.  Maybe that explains why there are more ______'s than ______'s"
  • "Oh that bunch over there? ...that's not real money (i.e. counterfeit)"
Not real encouraging to hear that kind of thinking, is it?  But I fear that's how many in and out of the church think of "denominations."

May we recapture the best of what it means to embody "distinctive ways of living out the Christian life" (Ensign-George) and let go of the mammon-mindset that is demonstrated in the kinds of comments named above!
 

Tag Cloud

2014 2015 accountability acts advent archive art arts ash wednesday aslan assurance audio auditions bands belief bigotry blessing blob bloggers blooper reel bluegrass body of christ book book reviews boomer boundaries breadth of worship builder bus calling Calvin Symposium cd ceilidh change character of god chart christmas church church partnerships civility commandments commentary communication community con ed confession confirmation contemporized hymns crisis culture D.Min. dance darkness death definitions denomination depth of worship discernment discipleship discourse dismissal dissertation drama early church easter ecclesiology ecpc emergent church error evangelism excellence exile exodus experimentation facebook failure faith family of God father fear fellowship fellowshippres following forgiveness friendship frost fruit frustration funerals GA ga219 ga220 GAhelp generations genX gift gifts girl scouts good news Google gospel grace gracious witness gspc youth hands health highlights holy spirit holy week hope hospitality humility humor hymn image of God imago dei improvisation incarnation inclusion index information insider language institutions interns invitation iTunes james jazz Jeremy Begbie john piper jonah joy judgment Keith and Kristyn Getty kids kindness language law lay renewal leadership legalism lent license life light lighthouse linked articles links listening liturgy loneliness love lyrics maddie shuler meme mentoring mercy metanarrative mgb commission millenials ministry networks miscellaneous mission missional missional identity missions moderator montreat mumford music narnia neighborhood neighbors new wineskins new year news newsletter NEXT NEXTchurch nicaragua noticing obedience obstacles organizations outreach palm sunday parenting participation pastor pastoral ministry pcaus pcusa peace performance peter pgf pictures plagues planning podcasting poetry politics ponderings pornography post-modernism prayer preaching presbymergent presbyterian global fellowship presbytery publishing questions racism reader reconciliation recordings recycled goodness redemption reflection refugees relationship relationships retreat righteousness risk roadblocks rss rules sabbatical safety salt samaritan satan satire scotland searchlight searchlight 2.0 sectarianism self-righteousness seminaries sermon snippets sermon-song sermons shalom sheep shepherding sin small church social media song songwriters songwriting spheres of influence spirit spiritual lessons spiritual power stewardship stories story sub-culture summary sunrise talent challenge tears technology teenagers Ten Commandments terrorism testimony theater theft theological education top posts tragedy transformation translation travel trees trinitarian worship trinity trust truth twitter union with christ valentines VBS video virtual reality vision waiting website wednesdays out wee kirk welcome witness word cloud wordle words workshop worship writing year-end YL you tube youth