There Is No "Us" or "Them"
“For now we see in a mirror (reflection) dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood.”
1 Corinthians 13:12 RSV
I am fortunate to have a wide variety of friends, colleagues, acquaintances who span the entire map of both the political and religious landscape. It makes for both interesting times of listening and dialog. Recently I have been troubled by the often times heated conversation about what is taking place within the United Methodist Church family. It is painful to watch. Sexual orientation, sexual anything will get good church people ready to argue faster than anything.
As I sit upstairs in my office the conversations echo down the corridor of my soul…”How can they feel good about themselves when they serve communion knowingly that they have excluded so many people?” Then from the other side, “How can they knowingly go against God’s word and call themselves Christians?”
I have heard this conversation in my own head over the decades about many different topics. I also deem those on the other side of the fence as unenlightened, narrow minded lacking in Christian charity, legalists…you get the drift.
Who is right?
Who is wrong?
Because that is what really, matters, right?
I believe what both sides are concerned about is being faithful to God, Jesus the Christ, the gospel; however, you want to frame it. I have never read where Jesus said that being right is THE thing, which matters most.
So where and how do we move on from here? We are invited into a complicated, trying, rewarding life of loving. Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.”
I do not like holding controversial things in tension.
Too bad for me.
Living the Christ life is filled with unresolved stuff, life is not cut and dry, on any given day following in His steps provides enough tension to last for months AND countless opportunities to love regardless.
I do not pretend to know how to resolve disagreements with other Christians about gender, immigration, war and an entire litany of very important issues. I cannot change them. They cannot change me.
In loving, all I can do is recognize there is no fence; there is no us and them. We are all part of the body of Christ. We are all in this together. We all put too much emphasis on being right or having to agree on things.
If we hang in there on the journey, hold things in tension, see us all as wanting to be faithful loving people of God in Christ – stuff will eventually work its way out. However, we have to kneel and pray together. We have to break bread together, drink from His cup together. We have to genuinely pray for and think the best of all of us together.
At the very heart of the universe is a conversation. The Word became flesh and moved into our neighborhood. Life is messy and we need each other. We are much better together in faith, hope, and love than we are apart knowing we are right and they are wrong.
"Father, I pray that they may be one even as you and I are one.” That was one of His last prayers. It does not mention if we agree. I have asked a lot in my prayers throughout my life. Perhaps it is time for me to be the answer to one of His.
Father Scott Jenkins,
Celtic Way Creative Director
Read more about Scott here