Strengthening Each Other, A Thought On Today's Christianity
God, being perfect, doesn't make mistakes. God being omnipotent is capable of turning man's mistakes into His triumphs.
I am impressed by the attacks which non-believers and sectarians choose to level on persons of faith and persons of differing beliefs.
The non-believers, of necessity, strive to make their case for their disbelief, For, after all, if they are wrong there might be a consequence.
The sectarians, on the other hand, are persuaded that they should persuade other believers over to their views, fearing those who believe falsely may do so at risk of damnaton.
For the moment, the non-believers concern me less than my concern for the sectarians.
I suspect that at one time or another all Christian faiths have been considered "cults" and persecuted for "strange beliefs" which "warred against orthodoxy," sometimes resulting in inhumane prices for our ancestors' "acts of conscience"
"Evil eye," "the earth is really round," "the sun revolves around the earth," "coffee is bad" later changed by a later pontifical leadership to "coffee is good," etc.. and the whole concept that it "would be better to burn on earth than to burn in hell," justifying acts the world of today finds barbaric.
That one God, one Savior, one Holy Spirit, unchanging and eternal, could result in such conflicts in the name of that universal God, that universal Atonement, and a Holy Ghost capable of acting in every life in the name of love, makes such conflicts incomprehensible to me.
To me this speaks of the concept of "divide and conquer." All efforts at ecumenicalism that could actually become worldwide, have seemingly been doomed from the outset by intractable stands based upon sectarian differences.
Can it be that Christians around the world can worship the same Savior whose birth is celebrated each Christmas, and then treat each other's worship of that Savior with such disdain the other 364 days of the year?
From that sectarianism, at times, comes an unwillingness to cooperate for the greater good which could otherwise transcend doctrinal differences. The Church, often referred to by most Christians as "the body of Christ," continues to find it fraught with difficulties to unite for the common good, if doing so in unity might give prominence, imagined or real, to some individual element within a common effort.
One faith will say, everything would be solved, if all the other faiths would just join us. Another will say, because we hold the "restored truth" others must join with us.
And so, the ages old problem of "a house divided against itself... cannot endure."
Christ himself said that a tree is known by its fruits and is either a good tree or a bitter one. By denying His church the strength it could have by being united, we war against ourselves as believers. Far from being of "one mind" we are settling for being a dismembered body, reminiscent of hands and eyes having no need for feet and ears.
May I suggest that, even as the small group we are, and coming from different faiths as we do, we might be united at least in not minimizing the faith and devotion we each have in and for Jesus Christ and the Father?
While we would all preach of a risen Jesus Christ, we can perhaps accomplish that best by encouraging and sustaining such faith, rather than harping on doctrinal differences which count for so little when compared with what we could accomplish with as much unity as we are actually fully able to muster.
All of us fall short of the glory of God. If we are trying our best, as best we know how, does the amount of our shortfall need to be subject to measurement by anyone else's standard? I suspect not. I refer to Ephesians 4:10-16 (which we can each read and weigh for ourselves) in the belief that this writing of St. Paul counsels us to seek to work together now, as it did the church at Ephesus to whom he gave that counsel.
In any given year, isn't it just possible that (by our doing so) something really good could happen?
Copyright 2011 Demas W. Jasper All rights reserved.