This morning I had a conversation with Sherlene about broadening our definition of Christianity. We had people in such a little box in the meetings; folks were either one of us or they weren’t. There are some now that still attend meetings that no longer hold to the belief that only meeting folks go to heaven. That is HUGE for them. I have experienced Christians with so many varied beliefs that it can be quite confusing and disturbing. This week I read Beth Moore’s writings on her blog about this very issue and it is very helpful and insightful. Here is what she wrote:
Unity is not about lining up on 100 points of doctrine. It’s about faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, the holy Son of God, born of a virgin, crucified for our sins, raised from the dead, and returning to take His Throne. If that’s what you believe, you’re blood to me. I think sometimes the stuff of unity is all the sweeter to Christ – not when we already see eye-to-eye on all our doctrine but —when we don’t. Sometimes just agreeing that Jesus Christ is Lord is bond enough. When we only agree to love people and walk with people who are just like us, that’s tantamount to making our goal to become more like ourselves. Ick. Somebody else can have that. I’m trying to figure out how to forget myself, not make a mirror out of every woman of God I see. I want people to sharpen me, to cheer me onward when I’m discouraged or harassed, to make me think, and to keep me growing. A mirror can only make me more like me. Give this girl a seat by the window and let her capture the features of Christ gathered from the faces of many.
I love that for so many reasons. It’s worth reading and re-reading. Jesus said the Way was narrow but He never said it was shallow. The way I once believed in the meetings did just that; made His Way shallow. We all had to think alike and dress alike and if you didn’t, you weren’t one of “us”. It’s called exclusitivity. That very doctrine produced judgmental and critical people, me definitely included. It also made me very fearful of anyone different. It is taking me so long to get over that; to quit doing that; and being that.
It brings to mind the time the disciples came back to Jesus with a similar dilemma.
Luke 9:49-50 (KJV)
49 And John answered and said, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name; and we forbad him, because he followeth not with us.
50 And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us.
Whoa! Did Jesus actually include someone not of their group? YES! He said they weren’t against what He was doing or who He was, so in essence they were for Him!
Jesus never created cookie cutter disciples. He encouraged us to ask, knock and seek and He didn’t say when to stop doing that. Over and over again I’m being shown that God is much bigger than I ever knew and what matters to Him is often far from what matters to me.