We need community. A lot of us do not want to admit it, but we do. We cannot live without it. Christians especially need community. Ours is a communal faith. Even our God is communal: Holy Spirit, Father, and Son. But somewhere along the line we got the idea that we should only commune with other believers that believe like we do, think like we do, vote like we do, the list goes on. There are of course historical and cultural reasons we do this. Catholics killing Protestants; Protestants returning the favor. Baptists teaching Charismatics are full of demons; Charismatics disdaining Baptists, again the list goes on.
Is this how God wants it? All of our various denominations huddled in our corners, whacking each other and fighting each other for the biggest attendance. Calling each other names and arguing over some random verse that probably doesn't matter all that much. I don't think so.
I know what you are thinking. You agree that God wants us to be one, after all Jesus prayed for our oneness, but you KNOW you are right about . . . whatever your pet issue is. I have my pet issues too (just read some of my past blogs). But is the issue you are so concerned about more important than loving your fellow Christian?
We do not have to throw out our beliefs and never talk about what we disagree about, but we do have to throw out our pride and our need to be right. That's a hard one for me because I like being right and I like the person I am disagreeing with to know that I am right. It's hard for me to let go of the debate, but God is more concerned with me (and you) being loving.
Love means that we are committed to living and working out our faith together. It means that when we disagree we do so civilly. We listen to each other. It means that despite our disagreements we stay in relationship with each other.
There will be times when God moves you from the church you are in, or even the denomination of which you are a part, but if it is God you will still find yourself loving the people you have left.
We need community, not just as individuals, but as churches. My church needs your church. The Baptists need the Charismatics, and vice-versa. We must reach out to each other. We must try to understand each other, but most of all we must love one another. Peace