Once again, the comments section on this blog is proving to be the most enlightening part. If you haven’t had a chance to do so, read over the comments from Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s posts. Lots of good, insightful discussion.
I’ve heard it said that David Lipscomb taught that it was a sin for a member of the churches of Christ not to attend the congregation closest to his home. (That would make sinners out of a lot of people in Abilene!) I see some merit in the idea. I think we’ve been too quick to find a congregation that fits our tastes rather than pausing to see if God is trying to shape our views through the people around us.
That’s a hard one for me to do, yet I fully believe that the Bible is to be interpreted in community. We tend to be very individualistic with our faith, be it concerning our salvation or be it about our beliefs. The Hebrew mindset was much more community oriented.
I’m not arguing for unity for unity’s sake. I’m arguing for unity for Christ’s sake. For the good of the body. Yes, there are critical issues on which we much agree, but none of these critical issues allows us to leave love by the wayside. (just ask the Ephesian church addressed in Revelation 2!) There will be extreme moments where separation is the only answer, but these should be few and far between.
In the United States, we often have the luxury of being able to leave one group to find another where we are more comfortable. I’m not sure that luxury has served the body well. I’m wondering if we wouldn’t do better if we were forced to try and work through our differences in love, forced to find reconciliation and restoration. In places where there are no alternatives, Christians are forced to stay together and learn to get along.
I’m largely preaching to me here, reminding myself of things that should never have been forgotten. When I get full of myself, believing that I have all the answers and that my way is the right way, I need to remember that those hard-headed, closed-minded people are the temple of the Holy Spirit. And maybe, just maybe, God has something to tell me through them.
(Any resemblance to persons now living or dead is purely coincidental)