Saturday, April 04, 2009

Christian Reconciliation: What is the first step?

The Bible records the leaders of the Christian church pleading with the people avoid factions, discord, and strife. At some point, the ethics of the church changed. At some point, it became acceptable to mock and ridicule people in other camps. At some point, sin became acceptable as long as it was against the right people. At some point, the way we deal with people who disagree with us was no longer viewed as a choice between "sin or righteousness", but "winning or losing".

About our current situation, I have more questions than answers. Of course nobody wants to the right side to lose. But when one side misrepresents the other and displays an unapologetic meanness, can their status as "the right side" be anything except a technicality? Is the paper-righteousness of the correct theology more important than following Christ? Is misrepresenting the other side's views recognized as dishonest? Is impugning the other side's motives seen as slanderous? Is a strutting peacock attitude recognized as arrogant? Is humility still a virtue? St Paul has been proved right many times: when we speak without love, we are a meaningless and annoying noise which no one wants to hear.

I think the first step to Christian reconciliation is to recognize once again that the way we speak to each other is a choice between sin and righteousness. Humility is a virtue. Misrepresenting the other side is dishonest. And the one who understands all mysteries but has not love is nothing. At some point, we have to take that step. And at some point, the leaders have to take up that call to the people again.

3 comments:

-C said...

Amen and amen.

Weekend Fisher said...

Thank you for the encouragement!
Take care & God bless
Anne / WF

Mark said...

Ann,
In the book on St. Silouan the Athonite it is reported that Siluan when every he was asked to offer an opinion in any sort of dispute would only offer, "I don't know about that."

That is one way and example of humility we might try to carry into our various disputes.