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  1. Ironically in a society that heralds diversity, inclusivity and acceptance as virtues, we live in a world of division where we have chosen the spoken and written word as our weapons of choice. Common ground and mutual respect have often become a casualty of this war. Hate and division, the ordinance of choice in this conflict. In such a world it has become difficult to find common ground with others of differing creed. While reading Chelsea Ward’s article on West Hill United Church, I found much common ground.

    I too grieved intolerant cartooning of faith and the Charlie Hebdo shooting. I felt moral outrage over those who would enact violence in the name of a holy creator. I struggle in my inability to do enough to right the world’s wrongs and be an effective instrument for change.

    Like Vosper, society peers at the institution and sees, “The Great Church Omnipotent”. It fails to see as relevant; ecclesiastical divisions or the definition of atheism.

    In many ways West Hill United Church speaks to the condition of the church as a whole and accurately reflects societies perception of its long and public decay. Their creed cries out against the rot of institutional religiosity, not unlike the cry from an obscure carpenter a few years ago who strained against the religious leadership of his day. In many ways their voice is a voice crying in the wilderness. It echo’s that oft forgotten baptizers cry against dysfunctional faith and irrelevant religiosity.

    While there is much common ground between Vosper and myself, it is here that I must respectfully disagree, for a Church without God is no church at all. Ironically among other things, it was the founder of the Salvation Army who said, “The chief danger that confronts the coming century will be religion without the Holy Spirit, Christianity without Christ” ― William Booth.

    It is true that love in action is the greatest gift that anyone can give to the world. We would agree that from love springs diversity, inclusivity and acceptance. With that I can stand shoulder to shoulder with Vosper and her congregation. I am sure there are truthful lessons that I can learn from West Hill United Church in this regard. It is however, ironic that their not so new doctrine, would deny the very God who authored love and provides the capacity to love, in the first place.

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