The Pope and the Patriarch met this past week… for the first time in a thousand years. Put another way, it took a millennium for two of the largest segments of Christianity to find the threshold of peace and unity. There is no wonder that non-Christians find us to be a joke; we are fools who have locked ourselves in stockades, struggling to release ourselves all while the key dangles from our fingertips.
How can it be that our faith which calls us to unity struggles to find it so often? Because we seek first our beliefs rather than the Kingdom of God. Which seems to be a strange juxtaposition. Can our beliefs prevent us from finding the Kingdom of God, even if they are founded upon Christianity? Yes, for anything that usurps the supremacy of God blinds us to His way.
Let me be forward: I am a Christian. And the last sentence illustrates the problem. When I say I am a Christian, we start to wonder, “Yes, but what kind of Christian?”
I follow no denominations. Why should I? Are we not all brothers and sisters in Christ?
It is the first-century battle all over again. “I follow Apollo.” “I follow Paul.” “I follow the Pope.” “I follow the Patriarch.” “I follow Joel Osteen.” “I follow ‘insert name here’.” When will we follow Jesus first?
And that is why we are so divided. We are a headless body. No, it is worse than that. We are a body with competing heads that push Jesus to the back. And like a body with multiple heads, all competing for supremacy and control, the Body flails about in abject foolishness and stupidity. We swing our arms about, unable to pull the broken to safety; our feet are unstable, unable to stand strong in the face of world turmoil; and our mouths are too busy bickering to speak the love that our world needs.
Let me say that I applaud the first step in reconciliation. I really do. But someone needs to open our eyes as Christians to the fact that it is insane that it ever happened. That it took one thousand years to fix is unfathomable for those who know the love of Christ.
We don’t have to be the same. Unity is not uniformity. We can disagree! You can disagree with much of what I have written, but find no wrong in this: by the blood of Jesus, we are brethren.
One reason I stopped studying theology, and the very same reason I chose not to pursue a degree in philosophy, is that it boils down to a bunch of logic babble. That is, if we don’t apply it. So long as we are content to sit in our churches and talk about theology, content to hear the messages, content to read the Bible and do nothing about it, it is all meaningless. We must act. We must live up to the light we have seen. We must love ‘not in word and tongue, but in action and in deed’.
Could you imagine if we started to work together as Christians? We could end world hunger this year. We could eradicate diseases and get clean water to the world turned. We could change this world and show it that Christ is preeminent amongst all gods, the one true Lord Who loves all and demands the same of His and amongst His.