I’d like to thank Reverend Mitch Ramkissoon of the Parkland Reformed Church for his letter of May 2 in response to my column of April 18, “Children of God.” I appreciate his very thoughtful concern for my spiritual wellbeing and welcome his comments.
Just to clarify a couple of things. Rev. Ramkissoon is quite right to say that I am, in the thoughts and ideas which I express, often challenging “many Christian teachings that have been confessed and defended by the Church for thousands of years.” Again (and we may disagree on this) as an institution of religion, the church is a human creation, a framework we created around what we believe. I think that structures like that need to be challenged. As we grow, they must grow too or they become less a reflection of what we believe and more a means to impose an ideology.
Since Jesus — and his first followers and many since — made a point of challenging the existing religious structures of their day, I think I’m in good company. I’d also like to point out that challenging thoughts, ideas and even beliefs doesn’t always mean that they’re wrong or need to be changed. Sometimes, it’s simply a question of creating a dialogue or re-focusing how we are living out what we believe.
Rev. Ramkissoon writes that, “just a cursory examination of the world’s religions and philosophies show that there are fundamental differences.” I agree. I also think that, if you look closely, there are similarities, too. Religions that try to speak truth, teach love and grace, and respect and welcome all people as children of God are life-giving. I believe I belong to one of those.
My reading and re-reading the Bible will not change the fact that; clearly, Rev. Ramkissoon and I interpret the Bible differently. I can only try to assure him that I always hope that the spirit will guide me to what is true. I’m sure that he would say the same. And yet we travel different paths.
Rev. Robin King, Ponoka United Church