Wednesday, April 11, 2007

unity in love

Our Lord delights in seeing his children getting along well together. In the love of Christ, this is how it's to be. We're to be united in spirit and of one mind, even though we don't agree on everything. In most every case we're to set disagreements aside. And when we do discuss them, to do so in love and agreeing in the end to not be disagreeable.

After all, we are one body, having the same Spirit, hope, Lord, faith, baptism (even if practiced differently), and God and Father.

What about family squabbles over issues considered important? This is where discernment is needed from others in Christ as we seek to have God's help in this, together. We have to acknowledge that while the Spirit has guided the orthodox church (not referring to the Eastern Orthodox Church, which is just one part of the worldwide church), the church's understanding on a number of these issues the Spirit has guided us on, is not the same. Baptism, already alluded to, is a good example of that. In the Protestant church alone there is much difference in practice there.

God wants the emergent and fundamentalist to stand together in his love. Yes, they won't agree on a good number of things. But we need to put first things first, and one of those first things is to love each other in Christ. And to accept others, including other churches who seek to be true to Christ and the gospel. Sadly, the "creed" of some churches makes this nearly impossible. This shouldn't be something we do only when put in a situation where it seems we have to do it. But it's something we should be going out of our way to do.

For me this breaks down the great divides in Christendom such as the Roman Catholic/Eastern Orthodox divide. Or from where I stand, the Protestant/Roman Catholic schism. And within my own tradition, all the divisions that exist in Reformation churches. This doesn't mean we drop all beliefs except the ones we agree on. It does mean we suspend our differences when expressing our union in God, and work at having communion and common mission together in the world. A dream? Yes. But part of what our Lord asked for in his high priestly prayer to God the night before his death. Unity in love trumps all the differences we have with each other, in Christ. Truth and love (2 John) are held together. But truth and the church's understanding of it are not synonymous. We must in humility own that, and learn to more and more express our unity in love together in our Lord.

What thoughts would you like to share or kick around on this?


Alan Knox said...


Thanks again for a great post. I believe that we are united in Christ. When we do not live in that unity, we are living a lie and we are not living in the reality that Christ has prepared for us.


Dave J. said...

Humility begets unity. One must swallow our pride and look for the common ground. Humility is not just to Christ, then, but also to the community.

Kim said...

Ted, This emergent/fundamentalist rift is part of what's been making me so melancholy of late. I believe a large part of what has driven the ECM is the lack of humility, compassion and empathy that we fundamentalists (yes, I'm including myself there for now) have shown on the home front and in the public forum.

I've described the "arrogance" (as opposed to the humility that would have been desired) as:

"What I know is true. It's logic is irrefutable. I do not value your point of view, where you come from, what you bring to the table, or what your personal experience is. What you think and feel is not relevant. Truth is immovable, set in concrete and unchanging, etc."

This has driven the next generation of Believers to the place where they have embraced Deconstruction as described by David Fitch here:

href="">Beyond Silence

Of course, every generation seeks its own way...

I'm praying that we can turn towards grace, forgiveness, non-judgment, peace, humility in unity in love as you put forward here.

Blessings, Kim

Kim said...

Let's try that again. Here's the link to David Fitch's posting:

Beyond Silence

Ted Gossard said...

Thanks Alan, and what you say is so true as well as a helpful way of expressing it.

Ted Gossard said...

Dave, Great way of putting it. And right down where the rubber meets the road. Easy to think we're humbling ourselves before the Lord. Sometimes much harder to do that before others of the community.

Ted Gossard said...

Kim, Thanks for your kind words and good thoughts here.

Many of the younger generation in emergent are seeking to make the faith their own, in an authentic, making a difference according to the Jesus way, way.

Sometimes the "foils" out there can do good. But in the end, beginning now, God wants to bring us together. However not at the expense of seeking real Christianity.

Ted Gossard said...

and oh, by the way, I always appreciate reading David Fitch. He challenges me in more ways than one, and one can learn alot from him. Thanks for the link.