I have always been bothered by how easily we, as a denomination, polarize and shift into age-old divisions. It is one thing to gather around like interests and even like theology and politics, but quite another when affiliating or engaging with folks of like mind automatically means that we can learn nothing from the "other side" of the aisle. No wonder we can’t get along. We continue to name call, demonize and assume that our group holds the ultimate truth of God and the other does not.
Be it about music styles, Christology, ordination, per capita, missions, etc. what would happen if we all started with the assumption that "the other" comes to their opinions from a deep discernment with and through Christ. Whoa . . . one can only imagine. All peace might break out 😉 What then would we do?
Of course I am being only a little bit snide, but really. It is not like we don’t experience these kinds of relationships every day in other parts of our lives. Yes, I understand that it is more complex that "let’s just agree to disagree." I like to think of it more of a "Because I trust that Christ is driving your opinions, I am going to stay in conversation and live with the movement of the spirit as it is expressed through my you, my brother/sister in Christ. Even if that movement is not what I would want."
Naive and foolish, call it what you will, but I make no apologies about believing that through Christ, all things are possible. Plus if we can’t take a "higher road" when it comes to judging the intentions of others, who can? Lest you doubt this as a reality, it is not really all that inconceivable as there are communities throughout the country that are able to live into this idea. In fact *gasp* some of them are Presbyterian.
I so value the interactions I have with folks that I might otherwise not be in relationship with because they help me to see the fullness and complexity of Christ and I am FORCED beyond my natural inclinations to see the movement of God in places beyond whatever bubble in which I choose to live. This is just one of the gifts that our Presbyterian heritage and connectionalism affords us and one that we must hold onto.
So folks, you can out yourselves if you want to, but I wanted to list a few friends, and their affiliations to boldly proclaim and remind myself that yes, indeed we can get all get along. There may be more than one friend in each of these categories, but you get the idea.
I give thanks for my friend/s who:
- Is so conservative that I have no idea why we are friends, and we are probably both surprised we are;
- work with That All May Freely Serve;
- disagree with me, but love me anyway;
- choose to subscribe to the Layman;
- think denominations are a waste of time;
- are engaged in the work of the Witherspoon Society;
- think this whole blogging thing is nonsense;
- are Presbyterian Coalition Supporters;
- are more liberal and mystical than I;
- have been active with Presbyterians for Renewal;
- have left the Presbyterian Church (USA);
- are members of Covenant Network;
- met God for the first time in a Presbyterian church;
- come out of a New Wineskins church;
- push me
These friendships are not shallow. I believe they have withstood years of disagreement because when it comes right down to it, we believe that the other is responded to Christ’s call on our live as best we can. I truly believe that centered on Christ we indeed can be in community. Even more exciting is that I know I am not the only one who is already living just a glimpse of it.