What an eventful morning at General Conference. From guaranteed appointments being eliminated via the consent calendar to then being asked to reconsider and that being voted down. What an up and down morning. What we do know is this: guaranteed … Continue reading
One of the things I have really been wrestling with lately is “ecumenism.” I know fancy word. How fancy? Too fancy. Basically I have been wondering about the true unity of the universal Church also known as the Body of Christ.
Last week at the Winona Ministerial Association, I was in charge of the devotional and what had really been weighing on my heart was Paul’s word to the church in Corinth. Specifically was the passage from 1 Corinthians 1:10-17. I really enjoy the Message because of the way that Eugene Peterson uses language. It just jolts and really gets you thinking at times and his rendition of Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 1:11-13 which reads:
I bring this up because some from Chloe’s family brought a most disturbing report to my attention–that you’re fighting among yourselves! I’ll tell you exactly what I was told: You’re all picking sides going around saying, “I’m on Paul’s side,” or “I’m for Apollos,” or “Peter is my man,” or “I’m in the Messiah group.” I ask you, “Has the Messiah been chopped up in little pieces so we can each have a relic all our own? Was Paul crucified for you? Was a single one of you baptized in Paul’s name?”
Peterson just makes Paul’s words so “in your face.” I mean the visual image one gets of Christ being “chopped up in little pieces so we can each have a relic all our own” is vivid and it gets the point across. In my own reflection I can’t help but read these word’s from Paul and wonder if it couldn’t speak to the Body of Christ today by just replacing Paul, Apollos, Peter, Messiah with names for our denomination (or non-denominations).
So often I feel we give lip service to “ecumenism” or just assent to some ideology we know we are suppose to believe in. We often talk about how we are all a part of the Body of Christ, etc. But within the same breath we often make sure to mark the boundaries between “our” Christianity and “their” Christianity. ”I’m on the Methodist side.” ”I’m for the Roman Catholic Church” “John Calvin is my man.” “I belong to the Lutherans” Is there some point where our demarcations of boundaries actually displaces Christ as the central part of the faith? I often wonder if we truly are the Body of Christ, why don’t we do more together? Why don’t we celebrate when other “denominations” are growing and transforming lives?
It is a struggle I have and I don’t have answers. I only have questions. I have to believe that we can overcome the differences and I hope to see it and experience it in my ministry. I so badly want to see issues that divide us to become secondary to the primary message of the Good News and yet that means all sides have to be willing to come to that point and say we can disagree on issues and still be united. Can it happen? And if it can’t does that say something about how we powerful and influential we really feel God is in our lives?
Right now the following picture really feels more to me like what the Body of Christ is like…….