by Paul

There was a news clip this morning reflecting the growing trend of anti-Christian rulings by our courts, schools, and governmental officials.  It had to do with a decision by the NYC school district to not allow any churches to use their facilities.  Interesting term here is ‘public’ schools.  This is only one of numerous decisions over the past few years showing an antagonism towards not just religion, but specifically Christian religion.

Maybe it’s time for us as believers to skip over some differences, learn from one another, and band together on what we all agree on which I would hope to be the redemptive plan of God.  The unwarranted luxury we have abused by creating hundreds of denominations and splitting hairs over silly issues will probably come to an end at some point, possibly by legislation but certainly by the hand of God as He turns what could be an attempt by sinful man to do evil into something good.

In this thinking process, I have pondered just how we could learn from one another.  What are the key points that keep us apart?  Some examples would be as follows:

In our community, we have a large congregation of very conservative Mennonites.  Among other things, they hold to the belief that the problem with the church culture outside of their own is that we don’t look or act any different from the ‘ungodly’ world.  Is this a true statement?  What can we learn from that observation and what decision does that leave us?

The Seventh Day Adventists put a great deal of stock in the Sabbath.  While I may not agree with the emphasis of any particular day, do they have solid scriptural backing for the value they place on the honoring of the Sabbath?  What can I learn from this?

Nazarene doctrine places great emphasis on ‘total Sanctification’, in other words setting oneself apart from a life of sin and living a life of holiness.  So while this can run a risk of spiritual piety, is there something to glean from here?

Pentecostals/Charismatics have focused on the Holy Spirit and His work in our lives, including being ‘baptized or filled’ as an additional work of God in our lives.  So does this have merit for me or do I just follow my religious disclaimer and let the ‘weirdos’ run with it?

The ’emerging church’ would possibly promote the idea that traditional church as we know it has moved outside its usefulness and God is raising up a generation of people who seek something new and different, a church beyond walls and denominational lines.  Can I look with honesty while temporarily setting aside my comfort zone and see if there is some truth here?

How amazing of a thought, to sit down together over coffee and find out that we really aren’t all that different from one another.  Over the years, I’ve found a growing hunger in many to break down dividing walls.  I have something to learn from my brothers and sisters if we’d just communicate.

It may take some pretty drastic and even painful developments in our culture that we might see as an attack on our religious freedom to bring us to a place where we are not such a divided church.  I can’t help but think that God’s hand is in some of this, weird as it may sound, so that His people will move from complacent egotism into a revelation of oneness as to our relationship with each other.  The creation of what could be called ‘the bride’.

Whatever it takes…


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