There is an interesting dialogue going on at the newly-designed WONDER CAFE--a discussion forum of the United Church of Canada:
I just got started here this week.

Thanks for the dialogue, so far! And dialogue is the mode I prefer. Debates, especially about politics, the economy and religion, are usually zero-sum games. On the other hand, open dialogue--the humble and honest sharing of knowledge and ideas--can be a win/win game.

With this is mind I don't think Jesus ever said: "I am God and you are not." In John 4:24, in his interesting dialogue with the Samaritan woman, and in response to her question about the whereabouts of God, says: "God is Spirit." One can imagine that he added that God is like the very air (the Greek for air, wind, breath is 'pneuma' ) we breathe. "God is like the very breath of life we all, including you Samaritans, breathe."

Yes, in John 10:30, he does say: "The Father and I are one." Interestingly, the Aramaic for father is 'abwoon'--literally meaning the Source of the breath of life, not unlike what 'pneuma' means. Obviously, Jesus is not asking us to think of God as a human-like father.

But what is truly amazing is the implication of verse 34, where he says: "It is written in your own Law that God said, "You are gods." ? Then he goes on to point to his own loving actions--orthopraxy?--as evidence of his oneness with God. Then, by implication, he invites all to be partners with him in the same kind of orthopraxy--loving acts. Orthodox beliefs have their value, but only when they inspire us to live out the principle that "God is love" (I John).

Clearly this is the same message of John 17: 20-26--the passage from which our church gets the words we have on our crest: "That all may be one." And, IMO, this has little or nothing to do with our being part of one world-wide organized and institution called The One True Church.
G~O~D--Now & ForeverIS:Nature, Nurture & PNEUMA-ture, Thanks to Warren Farr&ME AT