When talking fails, listening begins?

I moved and settled down here in Saskatoon because some of Gods people asked me to do so. I have come to love Saskatoon, her people, beauty and personality. As someone arriving from far away I was thrilled to recognize the imprints of the work by the Holy Spirit in the city, she is founded on the spirit of the aspiration of mutual understanding and cooperation rather than colonization and segregation. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M–y1AEX9pM (Thank you Chris Randall for bringing this to my attention). Many spiritual gifts are at work in the Church of Saskatoon. The Holy Spirit is at work here and the Kingdom of God is just a perspective away. Like an orchestra the Church in Saskatoon is tuning up to play beautiful music, but before that can happen, before the full potential of the orchestra is unlocked, the orchestra needs to put it’s full attention on the Conductor first, not each other. When full attention is given to the Conductor then we are able to play at the right moment, giving our all back to Him, receiving instruction and life in turn. We are able to listen and hear the melody of the Conductor in the others of the orchestra when we are waiting in anticipation to play.

When the different members in the body of Christ (i.e. the orchestra) try to communicate and get to know one another we often refer to this as “ecumenism” or “dialogue”. Here in the city of Saskatoon there has been such a process going on between the Roman catholic church (RCC) and big parts of the Evangelical church (EC) for the last 3,5 years. A group of 10 representatives from each “side” have met regularly to try to find out what we have in common, where we differ and where we can cooperate for the overall good of our city. The group has been trying to “tune up”. I admire and feel inspired by such an endeavor and process and I respect the work of the group walking trough all of this as well as the many forerunners that made this conversation possible. The goal, as I understand it, is for the representatives to eventually sign a document that outlines the similarities, differences and how we can cooperate.

It just turns out that this is harder than maybe anticipated. There is a hold up. Leaders asked to sign struggles with signing it. They are looking for their instruments. They don’t even know that a tune up has begun. They don’t even want to play. Why is that?

I believe that the ecumenical dialogue, the tune up, will only move forward if Truth is put forward, and in this dialogue process of getting to know each other better we are discovering notes missing and instruments being bent and out of tune. Getting a symphony ready to play takes time. Truth is that under a politically correct and polite surface there are many, old and deep resentments lingering in the members of the body of Christ. If those instruments are played out loud, the world will hear an orchestra out of both tone and sync. The beautiful music She was intended to play becomes a testimony against Her, the audience and the musicians fleeing the scene. Then after a while we eventually start a new dialogue or a new attempt at “revival”…

It is pretty easy to sign a document but it is hard to be one. We can sign a document and feel pretty good about that for a while but unless we are actually prepared to go back and repent and return from the things that caused all this disharmony in the first place it will be just another “nice” document to put on the already overflowing shelves of “historical events in the church” in the “humanities” section in the “library of pride”, another concert that appeared maybe even nice but did not stir the hearts of the musicians or the audience.

Documents and notes worth their while, always need to be representative of an existing reality. This goes from everything from bills and bonds to creeds and sheet music. Money without trust or a functioning economic system is just, paper… Notes without a person with an instrument interpreting and playing them in tune are just ink… No spirit and no life. If ecumenism is going to remain true to it’s name and continue in the Spirit of the 7 ecumenical councils (to draw all the members of the Church to Christ by the Holy Spirit, to bring us home) it must seek what is true about how the church ended up in her current state. Ecumenism must not dwell on the sin and despair but it must aid the Church in acknowledging the history of Herself and repent from the things that seek to destroy Her from within. The members of the body must be prepared to remain in proximity to one another even when the worst sins are brought to surface. In a process like this, (and don’t get me wrong, the formulated document is very much stating the reality of our current agreements and differences), the different parties/members must be prepared to grow the environment in which the document is formulated in. It must be a living letter/document/covenant before it can be written. A document can never bring about reality but reality can bring about a document.

Sure there are 20 representatives in a working group that are able to come to an understanding of what the document is about but that is because they have committed to relationship. If the goal is to state the truth about our current situation then we must have representations from a greater and more diverse base doing the same. We must refrain from calling it a vision statement because that communicates that we share a common vision, we don’t. We share One Lord, One faith, One baptism and One Lord and Father of all, (Eph 4:4 – 6) not a common vision/understanding/interpretation of Him. God can never be grasped by our imagination or knowledge. He can only be experienced through a bond of love. He remains forever elusive to the proud but forever close to the humble. He remains the same but in His greatness we experience Him in different ways on a personal level recognizing Him in one another. So, rather than a vision statement I’d like to call the document “A current assessment of the Church in Saskatoon – a living document.” (Even though that might sound a bit dry. Other suggestions are received with gratitude!)

It is not that God is not at work in Saskatoon, He is always at work, everywhere. He Is. It’s just that we won’t experience (t)His reality, Him at work, until we submit to His will and authority. What is His will? That we love Him and one another (John 13:34 – 35), it is here that we fall short. We put our own, or at least I know I do, agendas/believes/egos before loving others. If we love one another, unity will follow by default, by divine decree. Why is it so hard to love one another?

In my own research about the history of the Church I have encountered two patterns, two spirits that seems to hold a tight grip, undermining every try to truly love and to reconcile. These two spirits are hard to identify because they have formed paradigms that many persons operate from within. Once within a paradigm, it is very hard to see it from “the outside”, hence it is hard to identify these spirits if one is operating in them.

One spirit I call the spirit of paternalism and this is the spirit that claims that it is only certain people with certain abilities that can have revelations from God or interpret what God says. The spirit of paternalism undermines true conciliar process, and the voice of every believer. It tries to regulate the Holy Spirit by definitions and protocol. It refuses to wait in patience for the Holy Spirit, fearing exposure. It hoards legal process, scholastic method and fixed strategies to be applied on diverse circumstance. The spirit of paternalism in many ways is the parent of colonialism. Paternalism says that the body of Christ is something to be ruled over, not membered into. It clings to status quo to a fault, it suspects creativity, spontaneity and diversity. It shuts its ears for anything that it can’t control, for the miracle and for the unexpected. It is addicted to nostalgia. Paternalisms creed is “No change.”

The other spirit that is roaming around is the spirit of independence, or rebellion. Some 33.000 denominations (http://www.philvaz.com/apologetics/a106.htm) testify to the fact that this spirit does not want to come in under any authority except its own. This spirit breeds church splits, dissent and emotionalism. It is the harbinger of restlessness, discontentment and confusion. It leaves and disengages rather than committing to the relationship. It seeks something “new” as to stimulate its appetite while discarding anything “traditional” as dead religion. It claims ownership over “new” discoveries while failing to recognize that this “new” truth had been present all along. The spirit claims that it is the guardian of individual freedom but it is a false claim since true freedom can only be actualized when we give our freedom away, binding ourselves to Christ. We need His authority as incarnated by the Holy Spirit in His Church to be free. This, the spirit of rebellion refuses to recognize. The spirit of individualism might say that it has Jesus as Lord but will often refrain from taking any instruction from Jesus very own body, the Church. It abhors repetition, structure, discipline and accountability. The creed of the spirit is “Everything must change”.

I leave it up to your conciliar discernment to determine what different doctrines these two spirits has put forward within the history of the Church.

When these spirits clash, murder happens, as we have seen in both crusades, post reformation Europe, inquisitions, slave trade, power agendas in worldly politics etc. They enforce each other in a vicious circle leading towards death. When we refuse to recognize that both these spirit are present within our own hearts we often choose to endorse one and “kill” the other but there is a different way. By acknowledging the presence of both they start to loose power over our hearts and eventually it becomes clear that we, as the body of Christ, in a mystery, must change to remain the same (to use the words of fr. Alexander Schmemann). It is our lack of love for one another that keeps us from seeing that structure and freedom are not opposed, that ritual and creativity is not mutual exclusive and that liturgy and spontaneity actually benefit from one another.

The problem was never that we didn’t know the solution. The solution has always been there. The solution is a Person and our hearts as parts of this Person has always known that deep within. We, as the body of Christ are the mission (Missio Dei). The Kingdom of God is standing at the ready to launch in and invade a broken city, one act of love at a time. The highway to His city runs through our hearts (Ps 84:5). The problem was/is that we never thought it might actually cost us something, or rather everything (Matt 16:25). Pure love, Gods Way, requires pure hearts (Matt 5:8) and in that area, I must confess, I have much that I must offer back to God for His healing. There are many stones in my life obscuring the path (Isa 62:10) to the gate that stands wide open. I just can’t make it on my own. I need my Conductor to be able to play. As churches we can’t make it on our own, we need our Conductor and one another to manifest the glory of Christ’s body, to find and reveal that glorious city right here in Saskatoon (1 Cor 12:20 – 22) Everything is ready, a feast prepared, (Matt 22:2) a robe waiting (Luke 15:22), gates swung open (Rev 21:25), the table set (Luke 22:29 – 30).

For the reconciliation of the body of Christ in Saskatoon, to be obedient to the will of Christ Himself , to be one, (John 17) I suggest the following:

  • Continuously pray for the Holy Spirit, the Giver of life, to be present in all of the aspects of the process. Allow for time to wait and listen for Him. Take a posture of waiting and expectation.
  • Continue the dialogue with holy tension. Invite more and more people to public meetings, talking about the different parts of the document, what they mean and how they can be applied. Create a place where relationship can happen and we can get to know one another. Do not set a “goal date” for when a document needs to be “finished”. The law is now written o hearts of flesh, not on stone. If we desire to love one another then we need to get to know one another, both blemishes and gifts.
  • If there are to be some joint services in this process, give them a language of repentance, vulnerability and sacrificial love rather than a celebration of a unity that is based on mental ascent. If we can’t share the Eucharistic table because of different believes or lack of love, this should be acknowledged rather than ignored as to not grieve the Spirit of Truth. In pretending that we offer our all, celebrating “unity” we (albeit maybe not intending to) commit the same sin as Annanias and Saphira, the sin of pretense, perpetuating the brokenness by never addressing the underlying issues. On the other hand, if we in joint service can be vulnerable and acknowledge the sins of the past that we have committed towards one another then the Spirit of Truth is at work and can begin His work of healing.
  • Don’t do anything together until we know who we are together. If we are going to function as a unified body we need to know what the different parts of the body are good at, what their identity and function is. For this to happen we need working relationships. Can we find a way to gather all (Roman Catholic, Evangelical, Orthodox, Protestant, Baptist etc) Christian leadership to pray together at least once a year?
  • List of things that we need to repent from: I won’t point fingers but will trust that the Holy Spirit will reveal to us what we need to repent from. If you feel bold enough I encourage you to write down what you believe you need to repent from in the comments below, maybe that can give us some clues about what the body of Christ is suffering from and then we can ask for His healing.

One of the first lessons we learn about discernment – from Jesus anyway – is that it will always tend toward concrete expressions of love with real people rather than theoretical conversations about theology and philosophy. Such conversations are valuable only if they eventually lead us to a more concrete expression of love for the real people who are in need around us. If such conversations don’t move us toward concrete action in the world, we become the proverbial noisy gong and clashing symbol. The disciples blindness to the work of God in their midst is sobering because it demonstrates that even those who are the closest to Jesus and on a serious spiritual journey can still miss things – especially if we are living and breathing the same cultural influences together.” Excerpt from “Pursuing Gods will together” by Ruth Haley Burton

It would have been easier not to write anything at all and just go about life as usual, life is fine. But, we are made for more than just “fine,” we are made in and for greatness. It is for this reason I have penned this text. It is for Jerusalem’s sake (i.e. the Church – the foundation of peace) I can’t keep silent. The Conductor is urging me to pay attention to Him and play my instrument together with you. In the end it is not enough to talk about Christ, we must be a part of Christ. I say that I love Saskatoon. Blessed is the one who does not have to use words to convince his listeners… Lord, have mercy. Holy Spirit, come with Your cleansing fire.

In Christ

fr. Jakob

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General anaesthetic

Great Lent is approaching, below is an excerpt from the annual Lenten letter that I distributed to the saints at Holy Covenant.

Imagine yourself in the emergency room of a hospital. From where you are laying you can hear the noise of people in pain. You were one of the lucky ones that made it all the way to the hospital, not all from the car crash did. Blood is coming running down your cheeks and from your chins. A sharp pain from the elbow makes you aware of that not everything is as it should. The voices of concerned and stressed nurses disappears in the distance as you start to fade away under general anaesthetics.

Imagine yourself in the sanctuary of a church. From were you sit you can feel the uneasiness of people struggling. You were one of the fortunate ones to make it all the way to church, not all from the storm of life did. Tears are running down your cheeks  and  you feel stressed. A numbing pain from your stomach makes you aware of that not everything is as it should. The voices of concerned and stressed pastors and friends disappears in the distance as you start to fade away under the blanket of… Lent.

In many ways Lent is like a general anaesthetic. It does not necessarily take away pain but Lent can have a very calming impact on the essence of our being when we realize that it is not in our own strength that the purpose of Lent is accomplished. When we follow Christ out into the wild, into the quiet place, the sounds and noise of the emergency room and the busy city, fades away by default. There, in the calm, when we remain in one place, the Healer can do His intrinsic surgery. I would suspect that even Jesus finds it hard to operate on someone who is running around, splashing blood all over the operating room. Or even worse, someone who is trying to operate on all the wounds by himself.

Lent is like a general anaesthetic in that it invites us to  completely surrender to the Doctor. We are not even aware of all the procedures that are taking place in the operating room but we are there. We trust that the Doctor will perform whatever needs to be done to make us well. Lent presents us with the opportunity to let go of all those things that has kept us from going to the hospital. Coffee , screen time   or sugar is only bad if it makes it harder to go to the Doctor. Go to Him in the hospital and ask His advice on how to balance those things. We often seem to find excuses when we know we need to go to the hospital saying things like: “I’m not really sick, it will blow over.”, “I don’t want to bother the Doctor,  He is busy already.”, “I’m so busy, it can wait.” and on it goes until we fall off a chair  all alone with our body full of cancer. Let go of the excuses that keep your from receiving a proper diagnosis and from entering the operating room. Present yourself to the Doctor, He will take care of you.

I hope I’ll see you in the hospital,

fr. Jakob

Is freedom, freedom if it is limited?

As of late I have been pondering a couple of questions that I thought I had safely stacked away on the shelf of “mysteries I don’t understand but choose to believe in”. If you are a bit like me then you also consider and discern certain believes and doctrines to the point where we choose to accept them or reject them according to our consciousness, then we kind of “lay them to rest”. In the current position I find myself on this journey called life I find myself thinking a lot about the nature of freedom. I am starting to accept that there are a couple of more layers concerning freedom that I chose to ignore before because I could glimpse the uncomfortable consequences of what investigating it further would bring.

In the post-modern, western paradigm that I have grown up in we tend to define freedom as the opportunity and possibility to do whatever we want, whenever we want, as long as it does not infringe on someone else freedom. We have freedom of speech and expression. We enjoy freedom of thought, religion and conscience. The democratic idea is built upon the notion that free citizens will contribute their vote (will) to form the governing/stewarding body for the general benefit of the citizens. In many countries in the West we have enjoyed these freedoms to the point where we believe that freedom is the same as no borders, no limits and no restrictions. The individualistic “thought of rights” have pushed us to the brink of taking our freedom of choice for granted. Let me suggest that as a result of this we witness all kinds of developments in society where man tries to “bend” the natural order of creation into what he wants and believes. When I was younger I used to hold a notion of freedom very close to this but as of late, something in me has changed. I’ve come to accept what I knew deep down all along, we are not free in the ultimate sense of that word. We use to be, we are not any longer. We will always strive to be free because we know; deep down, this is our purpose.

Now, if we take a couple of steps back from the narrative of “progress” and humble ourselves, if turn to Scriptures and let ourselves be read by Scriptures rather than the reverse, we will see that the freedom we enjoy today is far from what it was before the fall. If we allow ourselves to be guided by the established patterns in the universe we soon realize that this notion of freedom being the same as “unlimited” freedom just isn’t true. Truth is that we are created free, in the image of God, but that our freedom is limited because we are not God. Even if we wanted to we can’t create something out of nothing. Hey, we would have a really hard time just altering the course of the earth around the sun. If I put all my will power and choice into the process of becoming Superman, I would not succeed. I do not have the power to “will” myself into existence. We are free to explore and steward the world but we are not free to create it or even permanently destroy anything in it. Hence it might be possible to draw the conclusion that our freedom is limited by the borders that God has set up for our existence. He wills us into existence and He takes us out of it (even though this seems highly unlikely since He loves us. Why would He have created us in the first place just to eradicate us?). In our hubris after the fall we have come to believe that we are the “owners/masters” of our lives and that we are in control of these borders. We have come to believe that we have the power to destroy the world by either nuclear disaster or pollution (or both) but this is not so. God is in charge of the final destiny of the world. In Exodus (and many more places in Scriptures) we read, “All the earth is Mine.” It is God Who is in ultimate control. As it is only He that has all knowledge it is only He that enjoys ultimate freedom (and even He is bound by Himself). It is He that is the Author of our ability and faculties of freedom and choice, the most important choice being, us trusting or rejecting God for our healing.

Why is our understanding of the nature freedom so important? Why is it important to designate between Gods unrestricted freedom and our limited freedom? It is important because since freedom is an attribute of a loving God, in Who’s image we are created our understanding of this attribute will shape the core of our person. It is important because this is to state the truth of our circumstance and the Truth will set us free.

For the longest time I believed that unless I am totally free (unrestricted freedom) I can’t truly love. I still believe this to be true but this statement is framed in the wrong way. It is not about if love requires freedom to be true love, it does. It is about us accepting that we are not the Masters of our lives so that we may open the door of our hearts to the one Who is. I thought that I could truly love because I was truly free. Truth is that we are the fruit of Gods true love and freedom and it is because of this that we can love each other in freedom even though this love in freedom is not perfected like God’s. We are not the authors or sustainers of true love and freedom and until we realize this we will not be able to join and enjoy Him Who is. It is not about us first; it is about Him first and then us becoming a member of His body. (Rom 5:18, 8:19-20, 11:32)

A proper understanding of limited and ultimate freedom also opens the door to the eventual reconciliation of all people to God. How you might wonder? One of the greatest obstacles for the idea of universal reconciliation to God the Father through Jesus is the notion that God will never violate our freedom of choice. If He does, well then we are just robots in some super advanced board game that God has created for His own amusement and we don’t have the choice to reject Him. Since we can’t reject Him, there is no true choice or freedom hence He can’t be a God of love. On one hand we know that God is love (and Love never fails). On the other hand we know we are free and so we wonder if the triumph of love is inevitable, what room is there for free will? And on in circles it goes. What if our salvation is more based on God choosing us in His unlimited freedom rather than us choosing Him with our limited freedom? “If we are faithless, He remains faithful because He can not deny Himself. (2 Tim: 2 – 13) The argument is framed in the wrong way. It is not freedom or love, it is freedom in love and that freedom can only be found when we realize that we are bound to God by His love for us, He is Love. We have an eternally valid connection with Him because He created us in Love.

I am somewhat confounded by people who say: “If God violates our freedom He can’t be a God of love.” (If a father puts his son in house arrest to protect him, he cannot love His son…) The same people also often proclaims that “This same God of love will condemn many people to eternal damnation and conscious torment.” (If the son of the father refuses to say yes to his father the father will eternally punish him).

Some questions that I have thought about this last year are: How can a God of love let His children suffer eternal damnation and torture? How can a just and loving God allow for any presence of evil to last forever and ever, even if it is restrained in hell? How is God’s victory complete if evil is allowed to remain? Why does a loving God require a permanent punishment for temporary violations against His will? This is not just. This does not make any sense. These are questions many churches and pastors dare not touch because the current hermeneutic and paradigms of many denominations does not provide the tools to answer these questions. How is this good news for all people? How is this gospel? People in the West are leaving the church in droves because of the Church failing to answer these questions and I can’t really blame them. If this is the case then the Gospel is not good news, it is bad news for most people.

If God has a plan for reconciling everything to Himself, to the same good state that was before the fall, as Scriptures seem to imply in several places: (Psalm 86:9, Isaiah 49:6, 54:8 – 10, 16, Matt 18:13, Acts 3:20 – 21, 1 Cor 15 :20 – 29, Eph 1:10 – 11, 1 Tim 4:10, Philippians 2:9 – 11, Col 1:19 – 20, Rev 21:4 – 5 and many more) how does that work without Him violating the freedom He has given to us? This question can only be answered if we understand our freedom as limited. Our limited freedom was never meant to decide the eternal destiny of our person or anything/anyone else. It is only God Who can decide what our eternal destiny and purpose is. Our limited freedom was only meant to acknowledge what (Who) truly Is, to come in under the wings of a loving Father. If we follow the patterns in Scriptures it seems like Gods children are always given a second, or a third or a forth chance to turn to Him. There is always a remnant left, God does not desire to eternally destroy any one of us, He desires to eternally destroy sin. He want’s to eternally restore us into His likeness by transforming the work of death and sin in our person into new life. God’s justice can only be satisfied by the restoration of all things, not the eradication of the things He created. God eradicates sin by restoring its enablers (all of us) from a fallen state, not by punishing us forever and ever but by holy transformation. He has already given a second chance once. After Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden God said that they would die and died they did, but not as we usually understand death. God had prepared another way. He is in control, motivated by His great love for His children. He did it again with Noah, saving mankind from permanent damnation and eradication. He did it time and time again with the Israelites. If we reject God in this life, just like Adam and Eve, the people in the days of Noah or the Israelites, what makes you think that He would not give us at least the same opportunity as they got to repent and turn towards Him? Jesus even went down to preach to the captives in hell so that they would repent. At least, what makes us so sure and convinced about “certain” peoples eternal damnation? Could it be that the protestant hermeneutic have been shaped by a desire to distinguish itself from the Roman Catholic doctrines of indulgences and purgatory to the degree of that we now read Scriptures to confirm a doctrine (the assurance of eternal damnation for some people) that is not really there? Personally I believe that the doctrine of the assurance of eternal damnation and torment in hell is just a “hang over” response to the already flawed doctrine of indulgences combined with a heavy handed interpretation of St Augustine. I mean, if we can’t “buy ourselves or our relatives out of hell, well then what alternative is there other than that they have to stay there forever? It’s a flawed belief built upon political and monetary motivated propaganda (it was expensive to build the St Peter basilica in Rome). So, once in hell always in hell, you had your chance in this life.

If we take the time to study the passages in Scriptures in original languages and in literal translations (OSB, Young’s, Strong’s) that seem to imply eternal damnation (Mark 9:43, 47 – 48, Matt 25:41, Luke 16:26), we will discover that Gods love is much greater than what some other translations might suggest. The word “aionios” (in say Matt 25:41) have often been translated into “eternal” or “everlasting” but actually is more properly translated into “an age lasting” or “an age after an age”. According to this word, the time for God’s punishment is limited, a limited chastisement for offenses done in limited freedom. If our freedom of choice were limited and therefor also our sin, it would seem more just if a potential remedial punishment also is limited. Even earthly fathers know the punishment for a crime should not go beyond the severity of the offense unless it must do so for redemptive purposes. Few people take the time to do the work of proper translation and tracing the consequences of their beliefs like this, I wonder why? Maybe it is because we realize what implications this would have. We would have to focus on peoples potential rather than their sin. We would have to behave in a Christian Way, letting God be the judge. We would have to help people for their benefit not ours. We would have to change our paradigm into a paradigm of love. Personally I believe that Scriptures have more evidence pointing to everyone eventually being reconciled to God than evidence that even one person will be eternally damned and tormented in hell. I can’t know for sure but the evidence seem to point to a more positive outlook for many more people and that is good news! Within the history of the Church there are examples of people believing in universal reconciliation, St Gregory of Nyssa being the most prominent one. However the church has never made it an official doctrine. Maybe that is because the how, when and where God saves His people should not be defined by fallen humans (sine we are the objects of this very salvation, how can we hope to know the exact process of it), or it could also be that the political powers in the church realized that they wanted to decide who’s in and who’s out in the Kingdom of God.

Is limited freedom, freedom? Yes, because limited freedom makes us aware of our dependence on God and to be dependent on Him is to be free in the ultimate sense, paradoxical as it sounds… Will God violate our choice and enforce His will? No. Can God change or prolong the context in where we make our choices until His desire (everyone’s salvation) is fulfilled? Yes. If He wants to, and I choose to believe in a loving Father that want’s to. Where does that leave us? Is it divine manipulation or is it perfect love. Is it manipulation if a father leaves the door to his house open for eternity or is it love? As fallen beings we must refrain from making it an either or question. If we make one of the two a “required belief” we risk doing the very thing we want to avoid (passing judgment on everyone who does not believe exactly like I do). A true personal conviction in the reconciliation of all does not have to force that belief on any other person because it trust’s that God will eventually take care of that person. The belief in the reconciliation of all can only be shared by the testimony of one’s life, universal reconciliation can’t be defined by us because God alone defines salvation. We can’t judge it because it trusts that God will do that. It cannot push itself into the doctrines of the Church because when it does, it looses its mysterious power, and it becomes another legislation that might tempt people to control or judge others. We are left with a question. Are we being most true to our God given identity by being concerned with who is “in” or “out” or are we being most true by believing that God loves everyone with an everlasting love and act upon that belief? The Truth will set us free.