I have been wrestling with my denominational identity for a few years, trying to decide whether or not I really belong in the United Church of Christ, a generally liberal denomination (among the most liberal depending on which congregation you visit) with a great awareness of and emphasis on social justice and activism. In some ways, it would seem that I should fit right in. I am indeed passionate about social justice and liberation. However, in all my years in the UCC, I've never really understood its' theology. This is probably because there's so much diversity in the UCC that you can hardly call any one thing "their" theology. Theology has played a back-seat role in the UCC tradition (at least since the 1960's) and activism has taken center stage. Thus, because of my deep passion for Scripture and my commitment to disciplined and distinctly Christocentric theological reflection, not to mention my more "evangelical" preferences in worship style (what can I say, I still dig contemporary and passionate worship music... with drumbs and electric guitar and everything), I have at times felt quite out of place in my denomination. I have wondered if I'd fit better as the "token liberal" in a more conservative denomination than I do as the "token conservative" in a liberal and progressive denomination.
But, in the midst of my questioning, I have been encouraged along the way that I am not alone and that there are others like me in the UCC. My pastor continuously encourages me that there is a future for me in the UCC. But, whatever the case, I am still wrestling through the questions of my future. Where do I belong? Is there a place for someone from my perspective and with my theological background in my denomination? Is the UCC really the best place for me to be?
Perhaps I'll be asking these questions for a while.
As a side note... Just today our pastor told me about a group called Confessing Christ. Confessing Christ is, among other things, "an invitation to joyous theological reflection and serious theological work throughout the United Church of Christ." Just glancing through their posts I found some ideas with which I can be comfortable and I have seen that there is a place for more Christocentric/bibliocentric theological conversations within the UCC. I feel a bit more at home... although I have still yet to see what the overall UCC perception of Confessing Christ (the group) really is.