The Church has many problems right now. How do we react to Osama‘s death, do we believe in Hell or not, sex scandals and how do we get Pastor Ed Young to stop making those videos? Perhaps the most troubling issue in the Christian Church today.
And as much as those issues are important maybe an underlying issue with resolving those is how we deal with each other. Namely how do we disagree with each other?
This week Rachel Held Evans, an author and blogger is holding the ‘Rally to Restore Unity’. A week long blog event where bloggers write about how Christians can get back some unity with each other. To be honest it’s a pretty big and daunting task but one I think is worthwhile and critical. So I’m glad she had the vision to do this. (Check out her page and the hundreds of amazing signs and blogs for the rally. It’s pretty exciting and inspiring).
But the truth is it won’t be successful unless we all have the same vision.
And to do that we all need to stop and look at ourselves instead of looking at the people we disagree with.
One thing that people outside looking into the Christian circus find hard to fathom is why we fight with each other so much. I mean all families fight with each other at some point but is it even possible to disagree with each other and still like each other?
So first up, before I come across all judgemental let me say this. The person I know that finds it harder to disagree with people kindly and with respect the most, is myself.
I like to think I have ideas about God that are so new and fresh and then when I hear someone speak truth about God that is traditional and been around for a while, I think, ‘How old fashioned of them! They don’t really know God at all. I bet they are the kind of person that trashed the religion episode of Glee! They are so blind.’
And I shut my ears to them.
And when big names in the Christian world come along and write books about God that say things that are maybe taking a different perspective than other big Christian names, I side with the former and think how judgemental the latter is.
Which makes me…you guessed it. Judgemental.
No wonder we have so many problems when our actions and thoughts are in direct opposition to who we say we are.
I think God’s love and this community that we have called the Church is so big and so expansive that it allows us to be different. It even allows us to have different opinions than each other on what Christianity represents and how it should be.
Jesus got this.
He spent his whole ministry and life with his followers dealing with this. So many times they had the wrong idea. Many times they thought Jesus was going to come and break down the Roman Empire and give them their just desserts. But he didn’t. Well at least not in the way they thought he would.
Many times the Pharisees were outraged when Jesus hung out with sinners and the all time lowest of the world, but time and time again Jesus turned the tables (sometimes literally) on the way the Pharisee’s saw the world.
A Whiter Shade of Black
It’s easy to judge the Pharisees. But even the disciples didn’t understand Jesus much of the time. They tried to stop children from approaching Jesus for Pete’s sake. Time and time again they were way off.
Which to me shows that we all can get it so wrong. We all can get it so backward. And if we get to a place where we realise that, then maybe we will be less likely to judge each other.
And that’s cool. It’s easy when we are just wrong.
But what about when it’s not so black and white?
Well I think it works the same way.
I think we need to still come to a place where we know that only Jesus hit the bullseye every time. When that happens we can disagree with each other but not have to attack each other. We are free to say ‘I’m not sure what you are saying is true’, and not then turn around and say ‘You are dangerous and I want nothing more to do with you’. Or we can hear people disagreeing with us and can then say ‘Let me hear what you think. Your opinion is important to me.’
No matter how much we might disagree with it.
When did we get to a place where disagreeing with someone and respecting them and being open and kind became mutually exclusive?
So does that mean we just have to agree with each other all the time?
And if you don’t agree with me?
P.S. This whole thing is about looking beyond ourselves and remembering that even within our disagreements and differences, there are some things that we all need to agree on. Like justice and clean water. That is why you should take the time to donate to head over to the Rally to Restore Unity Charity:Water page and allow more people the chance to drink clean water..And if you don’t. I will still love you. But I’ll love you a little more if you do.