As you know, an epiphany is a brilliant insight that comes to you suddenly, what Oprah calls an “ah ha” moment.
We have just finished our annual five-day conference at First-Metropolitan United Church in Victoria called “Epiphany Explorations.” It was, as always, an amazing experience.
My epiphany during this conference was to understand clearly the purpose of the Christian church in our 21st century world in the west. From Richard Rohrbaugh, I learned about the culture of the people that Jesus ministered to in the first century. It was so different from our own, and we have misread so much of the message of Jesus by not understanding how they would have received it. For example, his society was made up of kinship groups to which most people belonged. Many of Jesus’ followers were individuals who were outcasts from their groups (lepers, prostitutes, tax-collectors, etc.), and others voluntarily left their kinship groups attracted by his charismatic teachings.
Today in the west, we have become such an individualistic and money-centred society that many people are desperately in need of kinship groups to belong to. The Christian church can provide such a group that is a multi-generational family.
In our family at First-Met in Victoria, we seek to heal holistically just as Jesus did. Our spiritual life consists of practices from many world religions, including Tai Chi, healing touch and various meditation practices. We provide traditional Christian worship and music as well.
We are open to all: young, old, rich, poor, gay, straight, conservative or liberal, marginalized or not. We provide a protective space where you can make friends and grow spiritually and physically. Most important of all, we don’t care whether you believe what we believe; we don’t all believe the same things anyway. But we trust that everyone needs to be loved and to belong.