The Name Game
I love this church. I loved it when it was just a dream of mine, more than a decade ago. I loved it when Jenny and I decided to take those dreams into action. I loved it when a small group of brave, brilliant, wonderful friends met in our house to figure out how to make this happen. I love it now. I love it when our Harbor Hall starts filling up with people every Sunday. I love the laughs, smiles, and hugs. I love this family. That’s what it is, really. We did our first Christening last Sunday, and one of the little ones involved already knows some of the words to our invocation. We are at the beginning of something wonderful.
This church has a simple creed; I bet you’ve heard it already. It’s on our website, our t-shirts, the signs we put up along Third Street. God is Good. You are Good. Go do Good. When people ask what we teach here, that’s a good place to start.
Of course there’s more to say. The front page of our website goes a little deeper. Every week I write a blog article that, if I’m doing my job, sheds a little more light. My Sunday lessons are designed to help, too. That’s one of the reasons we are committed to interactivity in so many ways. There’s also a podcast, a bunch of videos, and more. Soon there will be classes, and books, and all kinds of other things.
At the end of the day, though, if you have those three simple ideas in mind, you have what you need to build a closer relationship with God and a life that makes a difference. God is Good, You are Good, Go do Good.
Exactly none of that is new. The Bible is loaded with quotes that support all three ideas. Jesus Christ taught them everywhere He went.
Yes, this is a religion, yes, this is a church, but it certainly isn’t a new one. The word religion simply means taking your beliefs into action. As we’ve said many times before, spirituality is about how you feel, and religion is about what you do. I think we need both. Nothing new about that. And a church is just a community, a family, of people dedicated to supporting each other along the way. Nothing new there, either.
We are always working on new ways to present the Truth and bring it to bear on real life, here and now, but there’s nothing new about the Truth itself. The Truth is timeless, or it wouldn’t be True. If we are doing this right, Jesus Christ is the Head of this church, this religion. Our goal is, as Charles Fillmore said a long time ago, "to use and prove the eternal Truth taught by the Master."
People often ask what we call ourselves here at Water and Stone. For a short while, we played around with some names, ranging from cute to intense to silly. One of our teens suggested the name "stoners.” She got points for snarkiness, which goes a long way with me, but we decided against it. When all is said and done, there’s only one name that makes sense to me.
We call ourselves Christians. Yes, there are a lot of people who use that name, and many of them mean different things when they use it. That’s okay. We are all doing our best to uphold the Jesus Christ standard, and that’s good enough for me. Let’s keep trying. We can talk about our beliefs all day long, and I adore those conversations. Honestly, though, the best thing we can do is show the world what we mean. Let’s put our beliefs, our feelings, our love, our family into action. That’s how the world will know.
Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16, NASB)
We call ourselves Christians. We do our best to live from that place. Everything else is just brand recognition, and we’ve got more important things to do.