Healing The Fractured Church
I learned pretty early on in my journey with Jesus that not all Christians are on the same page. Since then, that sad fact has become more and more evident with each passing year.
There is an old hymn I've sung in church a time or two with the refrain, "They will know we are Christians by our love." I'm not sure that's true any more. Mainstream Christianity has become known more by what it's against than what it's for, in my humble opinion.
And to make matters worse, those of us who call ourselves Christians can't seem to figure out how to treat one another with forbearance when we disagree.
Author Amy Carmichael sums it up beautifully when she remarks that, "Instead of seeing stones rolled away, we throw stones at each other."
God has been putting up with the fractured, limping Church for a very, very long time. The true miracle of the Gospel is that people still keep discovering Jesus in spite of his followers.
But at some point we need to stop glossing over the fractures, and begin to find ways to heal them. At some point we need to stop the name-calling, the shaming, the "other-ing" that seems to be such a huge part of Christian culture.
Because we can't keep relying on God's good nature forever. Many of my Christian friends are fond of pointing out that more Christians need to exhibit the "Fear of the Lord." I agree. Among the many things that God despises, we find hard words like injustice, hatred, bigotry, apathy and indifference.
But I also think God wearies of a Church that can't seem to find common ground within its various factions and corners.
As Lois Cheney so aptly put it: "There comes a time... A definite, for sure time... When God turns around."
May we find ways to reach out in love and grace to all of our sisters and brothers within the Church--even to those with whom we find disagreement. May we remove the logs from our own eyes before trying to wipe the specks of dust from the eyes of others.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with us now and always. Amen.