Spirituality & Faith
Here’s how St. John’s experiences Christian Spirituality + Faith—the “Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement.”
What is the Way of Jesus all about? It’s simple.
We are just learning to embody love.
Here’s how we express Jesus’ Way of Love at St. John’s. These values arose out of a lengthy period of communal and prayerful discernment in 2021-2022.
Our starting place—what is “original” about us—is that God blessed all creation and called us good. Therefore, all life must be treated with profound respect and wonder.
We seek to express God’s love by prioritizing relationship, connection, and inclusivity over tasks or even ideals.
St. John’s is a place to be nourished at Christ’s table—a place to be restored and refreshed to do God’s work in the world.
We are seeking to learn more about following Jesus’ Way of Love through innovation, courage, and a culture of experimentation and play.
We are healers in need of God’s healing, forgiveness and liberation, personally and systemically.
About Christian Spirituality + Faith.
Themes we find especially important about Jesus’ Way of Love.
Interdependence and Relationship (the Trinity).
The Christian understanding of God as “Trinity”—Creator, Christ and Holy Spirit—means that even God is not an island; even God is a community. Since we are made in God’s image, we are made for interdependence and relationship, not isolation and hyper-individualism.
God meets us in this world (Incarnation).
Jesus—the “Incarnation” of God in human form—expressed what this interdependence and relationship looks like in practice. Jesus shows us God’s intense love and longing to be close to us, and God’s healing for bodies and hearts, not just minds and spirits. Following Jesus’ Way has a real impact in actual lives, in the systems of our world, and in our relationship with the earth itself.
We are people of Story (Scripture).
The Bible is a kind of roadmap of the human condition—not a perfect book, but one in which gritty human beings interact with God and each other. We allow our personal stories to be in conversation with the Great Story of our tradition so we can learn something about what it is to love. These stories are alive and evolving.
Hope (the Paschal Mystery).
What has been called the “Paschal mystery”—the death and resurrection of Jesus—is a powerful symbol of the profound hope and transformation of a Christian: that no violence, oppression, hatred or death has the last word. Only the love of God does. The Spirit of God is an unbounded source of new life and new beginnings no matter how horrible things have been. Because of this hope, we can unite with Christ in his death and resurrection—allowing ourselves to be transformed from self-centeredness to love. This means we don’t just take a stand against all the evils in the world. We are also joyfully for the hopeful future God is bringing about among us.
About the Episcopal Church.
Themes in the Episcopal Church.
If it’s not about love, it’s not about God.
What unites Episcopalians isn’t uniformity of belief—in fact, you’ll find Episcopalians have a wide array of perspectives on most doctrines and topics. What unites us is experiencing the Way of Jesus as loving, liberating, and life-giving. This also means we affirm all kinds of people, across race, ethnicity, gender, orientation, ability, and class—making a commitment to embody God’s love.
Scripture, tradition and reason.
A foundation for our array of beliefs is the Episcopal emphasis on “scripture, tradition and reason”—all important sources of truth in conversation with one another. The Bible contains God’s sacred story for Christians, and we interpret it in continuity with those who have gone before us (“tradition”), as well as with our own reason and life experiences (“reason”).
The Middle Way.
The Episcopal church has often referred to itself as the via media, or “middle way.” This originally meant our similarity with aspects of both Roman Catholic and Protestant faith. But it’s also a cultural value about being “both/and”, not “either/or” people. We both affirm that no one tradition exclusively represents the divine, and also deeply engage Jesus’ Way of Love.
In the Episcopal church, prayer is not just a private practice; it’s the heart of what we do together as a community. Our Book of Common Prayer represents the distilled wisdom of centuries of people just like us who have wrestled with life and faith. They are our spiritual ancestors, and we are united with them by God’s Spirit even as God is birthing a new future through us today.
Practices we use to follow Jesus’ Way of Love.
Perhaps no other practice is more important than deep and respectful listening: to God, one another, and ourselves.
We are always learning—through scripture, through stories and experiences different from our own, from each other, our neighbors, and the natural world.
The center of our practice is prayer—individual and communal, scripted and contemplative, rooted in ancient practice and constantly evolving. Prayer is the way we cultivate our relationship with God.
Togetherness is powerful because it helps us to heal, grow and love—and because it is the essence of being made in God’s image. Seeking to live as Jesus did, we commit to fostering community with each other and our neighbors.
God is calling us to act on the teachings of Jesus and the leading of the Holy Spirit. We seek to act with intention, discernment, and generosity.