May 24, 2011

All for One

I'm writing today at Internet Cafe Devotions. I wrote this before the Presbyterian Church USA decision, so it's even more timely now. I hope you'll join me there. Plus the Cafe is having a big summer giveaway!

“Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4:3-6)

When I was younger, my best friend (a cat lover) and I (a dog lover) would often argue which made superior pets: cats or dogs. No matter how many times we went round and round, we always ended up exactly where we started—each of us firmly entrenched in our original positions, wondering how the other could be so blind to what was so obvious. We felt sure that the other was…well…wrong.

Rivalries seem to be built into the fibers of our beings.
Republican vs. Democrat
Mars vs. Venus
Yankees vs. Red Sox

We’re not shy to promote our points of view. When we encounter rivals the exchange might be good-natured or a bit more “heated.” In the end we’re usually confident our thinking is right and the other person is…well…wrong.

But what happens when we bring this rivalry and single-minded thinking into the Church? It has certainly led to a lot of us vs. them in the body of Christ.
Evangelical vs. mainline denominations
Catholic vs. Protestant
Traditional vs. contemporary

According to the World Christian Encyclopedia, what started as one unified Church has become over 33,000 Christian denominations worldwide and over 6,000 in the United States alone. Churches have split over every conceivable point of pride, passion, practice and preference. It seems a lot of believers think plenty of others are…well…wrong.

I’m passionate about my faith, but I can be single-minded. While I’ve experienced the Church in ways far bigger than the four walls of my home church, I still hold points of view that I think are right. I might not have God in a box, but he’s certainly in a fenced yard. Read more . . .


Dan said...

The correct answers are of course "Republican, Mars and Red Sox." I grew up Catholic but am now Protestant, so I ain't touching that last one. Anyway, once again Kelli is right on the money with this. Why do we get SO caught up in the "right" ways to worship, fellowship, minister and reach out? If only we Christians would use more of our powers for good...can you imagine what the world would look like?

Sue J. said...

We're caught up in rightness because there's part of being human that still thinks we can get "there" on our own. So we get our handle on what God looks like, but, our sin nature makes it hard for us to see a point of view other than ours. Heaven forbid our jars of clay crack by another's Godly viewpoint!

I'm reading "Who Stole My Church" very slowly and painstakingly. I think of years wasted in debate, especially in church meetings, over stuff that doesn't matter--to God or anybody, really! Yes, Dan, if only we could use more of God's power for good, we might accept that knowing Him definitely beats thinking that we can "right" Him or anybody else.

Julie Gillies said...

Hello Kelli~

You're certainly right about us sharing our opinions freely. Everyone and their brother has an opinion. But in the end, I agree it's far more important to know God more than to be right.

By the way, congrats on celebrating your 21st anniversary! You are SO blessed that you've never questioned, doubted or regretted your decision to marry Dan. I have not had that lovely experience, but God has surely taught me through it all--and brought us to 25 years of marriage (in July). A true miracle!

Hugs to you, sweet friend. :-)

Melanie said...

I went over and read the rest. Great job! Amen.