From Jessica Bratt
As I mentioned at the end of my last post, I have another post’s worth of wonderings about the CRC and RCA and the question of merger. I’m no expert on all the history and theology, and I confess that I haven’t even read Divided by a Common Heritage. But, for what they’re worth, some further observations based on my experiences:
- I really do love both the CRC and the RCA. I think our common heritage continues to have tremendous offerings to share with the world. I am deeply grateful to find myself in the midst of ongoing relationships to people and congregations and institutions in both denominations. And, and, it has been tremendously formative for me to have spent time living and developing vocationally in places where few people have even heard of either the CRC or RCA (this can be roughly measured for me by the geographical points at which I stop getting asked “are you related to _______ Bratt? and start getting asked, “Bratt?! were you teased a lot as a child?”). I think I’ve met about 3 people in Boston who are familiar with either. Humble pie does a body good. Just last week a middle aged Catholic nurse I work with admitted that she thought that “Protestant” was simply a denomination that included everyone except Catholics. And a couple months ago, I was at a loss for words when trying to give a quick primer on Christianity to a rabbi, the same age as I am, who was interning at the hospital with our staff. He wondered where my denomination fell on the spectrum of Protestantism, so of course I did a quick google image search for one of those charts of the different branches of Protestantism, and was hard pressed to find one that didn’t strikingly resemble hairs that just keep splitting (let alone one that included the RCA or CRC, for that matter). These situations force me to keep perspective about the bigger catholic (little ‘c’) narrative of the body of Christ in which our churches are located. At the same time, I’ll keep singing praises for the particular emphases and downright beauty of Reformed theology, polity, and, yes, worldview.