Pastor Pat Bailey: View From The Pulpit, "The Many Faces Of Christ"

Pastor Pat Bailey in front his church

Pastor Pat Bailey

From its inception as a community church and the first congregation organized in Telluride, the name has always been “Christ” Church. The Presbyterian moniker was added almost 50 years later when a struggling church in the midst of the Great Depression associated with the Presbyterian denomination as a way of keeping its doors open and continuing to serve the Telluride community. We have not always been known by “Presbyterian.” But we have and still do claim our identity by “Christ.”

If you know Christ Church then you know that it is an eclectic gathering of people who can be identified by a wide variety of religious and spiritual affiliations. By saying that we are Christ Church, we are certainly not claiming that everyone has to fit our particular image of Christ – or Christian – in order to be welcomed and embraced. We actually think that there is a plurality of ways in which Christ can be imaged and a plurality of approaches to God and a deeper life with or without Christ as the central image.

For me, at least, “Christ” with all its diversity of imaging is still central to my meaning making and the emerging realization of the divine in my life. How we image Christ depends on the lens or worldview through which we are looking, and that, for me, is the power of the image: it is able to bear, inform, and even inspire an evolution of perspectives and consciousness.

Some may wonder if I have a “personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ,” and the answer is “yes,” but I also have a rational perspective of the historical Jesus, an experience of the all embracing universal Christ, and am realizing more and more my participation in the Cosmic Christ. My own spiritual journey has not been about going beyond Christ, but one of deepening in Christ.

During the season of Advent leading up to Christmas, I will be developing a sermon series I am calling “The Many Faces of Christ.” I hope you will join us as we explore the historical Jesus, the confessional Jesus Christ of the Gospels and early church, the creedal Christ of the third century up to the enlightenment, the emblematic Christ of late modernism, and the Cosmic Christ of post-postmodernism.

Peace….

Editor’s Note: Dr. Pat Bailey of Telluride’s Christ Presbyterian Church, is a native of Atlanta, Georgia. He was ordained in the Presbyterian Church in 1987. For 16 years, Pat served as a chaplain in the U.S. Army. He is also an Iraq War veteran. Pastor Pat holds several degrees: a Master of Divinity from Columbia Seminary, a Master of Theology in comparative religion from Emory University, and (recently) a Doctor of Ministry from San Francisco Theological Seminary. His primary professional interests are interfaith spirituality, evolutionary consciousness, nature spirituality – and accompanying others in spiritual community. To that end, Pastor Pat has been blogging on Telluride Inside… and Out for years. His new series, “View from the Pulpit,” continues weekly.

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