How hard is it?

This is nothing new, I know, but I’m just thinking…
The “real” Church (the one God recognizes), simply is. The One Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, as we might put it, simply is. God has His criteria for who is part of that Church and who is not, for whatever reason. That is God’s prerogative regardless of what we may think about it. That is what makes God’s Church – it simply is.
We like to attempt that determination ourselves – what the “real” Church really is and who belongs to it. We have nice imaginations and go off on flights of fancy, but what we want to think makes no difference to God in establishing what the Church simply is or who simply belongs to it. Western Protestantism has excelled at this and made it into a true art form. All of Christendom participates, however.
How hard is it to recognized that all our machinations of what is and who belongs are nothing more that our attempts to place ourselves in God’s place and our attempts to create the Church in our own image?
We say all kinds of things and establish all kinds of criteria and create all kinds of policies to define who and what we are, and we mistake these policies and criteria for God’s. Pride and arrogance are very hard things to recognize in ourselves and at times even harder things to repent of.
I am not a religious relativist or a Universalist, and I recognize the inconsistency in what I just wrote above and my own attempt to make the claim that Jesus Christ is the only way to God. At least I think I can say that I may be absolutely wrong!
Life is so much easier when I leave all those judgments to God. I am called to evaluate, to discern, and will have to make judgments, but ultimately the Spirit of God is the only one who knows the heart of any wo/man and whether s/he is a member of the “real” Church or not.
I think I am called to encourage and challenge anyone and everyone to have a relationship or closer relationship with God through Jesus Christ by the enabling of the Holy Spirit. I don’t have to do anything more by way of judging who is in or who is out or what is real and what is not, thank God! Thank God that I can leave that to the “real” Judge – the one who saves us from ourselves.

“We” or “I”

There has been some discussion on the House of Bishops/House of Deputies listserv lately on the change in the beginning of the Nicene Creed from the pronoun “I” to “We” in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer.
I thought this post below was good, not because I necessarily know enough to agree with his statements or not, but because of his differentiation between “assent” to belief and “a cry of the heart”:

Fr. _____’s response to the issue of the pronoun in the Nicene Creed points so clearly to one of my major problems with Western Christianity.
The common explanation is that, while the original form was for the purpose of defining “our” beliefs, participants in the Divine Liturgy must personally assent to the truths of the Gospel.
For him, as for so many of us, belief is “assent” not worship. Of course the Eastern Church can say “I,” because in the Divine Liturgy, the Nicene Creed is not a gate to the mysteries, a place through which one must successfully pass in order to enter and inner sanctum, it is worship. The Creed is a cry of the heart, not a statement of the brain.
Until we regain the sense of mystery and wonder Bill hinted at in his original post, we can continue to expect to be thus divided over issues of right “assent.”
Jeff _____