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Monday, July 28, 2014

On Distinctions

 "Oh, I don't reject Christ. I love Christ. It's just that so many of you Christians are so unlike Christ... 
If Christians would really live according to the teachings of Christ, as found in the Bible, 
all of India would be Christian today."

There's a bit of controversy on the internet over whether Ghandi really said that. Whether the words are his or not, I think we might listen to them. The internet, as we all know, can be a dangerous place.  The anonymity it provides can facilitate some stinky behavior on the part of otherwise kind people. Unfortunately, the Christian blog-o-sphere is not immune to this. Instead, it seems laden with Christian-on-Christian judgment and distinction making.

Ancient icon of  the apostles Peter and Paul
By unknown, photo by George Shuklin (Russian Museum)
 [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
We seem to spend  a lot of time making distinctions among ourselves.

Catholic - Protestant.
       Denominational - Non Denominational
              Novus Ordo - Latin Mass
                     Anglican - Episcopalian

These distinctions are important.  They embody belief and creed. They matter.

Once we've established them for ourselves though, I'm not sure that spending inordinate amounts of time distinguishing ourselves from others - by building fences and then herding others in and out of them - is particularly useful to a life of discipleship. After all, if we are spending all of our time with our eyes on the one another with a mind toward distinction and division, then our eyes are not on Christ or his commandment to love.

It's important to establish truth and to teach it.  I'm not so sure that it's particularly valuable to focus on beating eachother over the head with it.  At any rate, it's probably not a particularly effective teaching method.

We can't be much more different than Peter and Paul were from one another, and yet they found powerful unity in Christ.

Truth matters. Elevating ourselves by pointing out our differences from others does not.  

And it's tiring, isn't it?  Pushing eachother around?  Setting one another up for inspection? Herding one another in-- and out? I wonder how much more we would be served by sitting down to tea and learning about one another? I'd bet that we could actually understand one another's points of view without losing our own. Don't you think?  I do.

And couldn't some of that herding energy be used for serving?

I think it could.

"Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?
~Luke 6:46

May I find a path toward non-judgement.  May I learn to live as Christ did.  May I learn to love.
Heaven knows, I have a long way to go.

Pax Christi dear ones,

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