In one sense they're right. When we're joined to Christ and to Christ's body, we do have to diespiritually. That is what Christian faith is all about! But somehow we tend to forget that part. We think we can join the church on our own terms. However, if a church is to be authentic to its calling, it will help its members die to the old ways and be reborn into the new.Faith in Jesus means that the old independent self has to go. When it keeps rearing its head and wanting to take over, it must repeatedly be surrendered to Christ. This is the central mystery of the Christian faith-death and resurrection. It is what we enact in baptism as we die to the old self, to the false self, to the small self, and become reborn into the Christ self, the true self, into Christ's body, the church.When we join the church, we join a community that is seeking to be "in Christ." Together, we seek a Christian transformation. We're not joining a voluntary association of autonomous members, but a mystical body that has a life that comes from beyond us. It doesn't depend on us-it is given by God-and we are invited to rediscover ourselves within it.
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