“We are One in the Spirit, we are One in the Lord…”

“…. We are One in the Spirit, we are One in the Lord.  And we pray that our unity will one day be restored. And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love.  Yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love.”  

I’ve known that song for 40 years, but it is the Jars of Clay version that pops in my head these days….  Love it!

Isn’t it awesome how unified the church is?  Everyone believes the same essential doctrines, no one ever argues about trivial points of theology, and Love and Forgiveness are the rule of the day, practiced by all. 

I know:   “NOT!!!”   

Sigh….. 

Think about it for a second, though. Wouldn’t it be nice if that were really the truth about the church?  Wouldn’t it be nice if each congregation was unified and people all got along?  Wouldn’t it be nice if believers from varying denominations could sit around and talk about their differences in methodology and perspectives and gladly learn from each other?  Wouldn’t it be nice if the Mark Driscolls and Rob Bells of the world could shoot the breeze over a cup of coffee and discuss what it means to be saved without it devolving into a debate or name-calling episode?  Wouldn’t it be nice if online chats/forums were handled with grace and charity by those that disagree on theological topics?

Wouldn’t it be nice if people in the “Church” went out of their way to bring unity back to the Body of Christ when it starts to fracture?  Well, guess what?  Some are trying to do just that!

Rachel Held Evans is one of those people.  Rachel is a young writer, blogger and speaker and she came up with a great idea: for the first week of May, she’s organized a “Rally to Restore Unity” where among other things, interested folks can:

  • Participate in a “synchroblog” – anyone is welcome to share a blog post on restoring unity
  • Post a “sign” related to the topic.   (My favorite so far:    “I DISAGREE!  But, I’m pretty sure you’re not a heretic….”)
  • Make a donation to provide clean drinking water to people that need it through “Charity:Water”  (if you’re going to do a rally, might as well do something charitable along the way)
  • Spread the word by “liking” the Facebook page or tweeting to #restoreunity

Here’s a link to Rachel’s blog post announcing the rally:   http://rachelheldevans.com/rally-to-restore-unity

Restoring unity within the church is a topic that is “near and dear” to my heart.  (With my blog titled “Reconciling Viewpoints”, you might have already guessed that!)  And I gotta say, I think the topic of unity among believers was pretty “near and dear” to Jesus’ heart as well.  After all, the last prayer Jesus offered up in the Garden of Gethsemane before he was arrested (according to John 17) was a prayer for the church to be united:  “May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” – John 17:23b.

One effect of all the technological advances in the world is that everyone can share opinions and have their voice heard.  Unfortunately, not all of the “voices” that are heard in cyberspace are reasonable and/or graceful, even when those folks should be considered “brothers in Christ”. (Yeah, like Cain and Abel they are brothers!)  Well, Rachel and others think we ought to do something about it… so here is the “Rally to Restore Unity”!

I’ll post an entry or two to the “synchroblog” next week to play my part.  In fact, I’m planning on explaining that “logo” I have with all of the circles and the cross in the center, in case you’ve ever wondered what that’s all about…. 

Followers of Jesus united in faith, hope and love.  It could happen.    “Wouldn’t it be nice….”

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2 Responses to “We are One in the Spirit, we are One in the Lord…”

  1. The problem, as least as I see it, is that too many people are in love with their denomination, as opposed to being in love with Jesus.

    Denominations = Battle lines

    Jesus = Unity

    Fortunately, this problem seems to be reflective of the boomer generation, and…not to be crass of inconsiderate, but that generation is passing, and we are now looking at a generation that wants answers to their (very real) questions, and aren’t willing to unquestioningly accept the doctrine of “the church”.

    While this might not be a good thing for “congregational religion”, it might be the best thing that’s ever happened for believers in Christ!

    I think that the disciples, apostles, and followers of Christ that we read about in the New Testament, would relate well with the young people who are questioning the established “church” today, because that’s what they were doing in their time.

    • Good thoughts, Perry. Although I hope the boomers don’t pass into obscurity too fast, since I am a boomer too… (tail end, but a boomer none the less! 😉

      One of the cool things I’ve discovered since blogging and reading more online is that there is a definite counter-culture movement with the “young-uns”, that there is more questioning, more pushing back against tradition, etc. It’s also nice to see that there is a real movement of people doing “home church” — not just small groups like we do with big church on Sunday, but the small intimate home church is their church. And I do think it fits well with the biblical model.

      The great irony I see in terms of the denominational/theological line drawing is that we’ve sort of reverted to the Pharasaical behavior that Jesus was quick to comment against. Back then, the Pharisees would judge people based on external behavior and whether people followed the rules/traditions established by men. Today, there are some within the church that judge people based on whether their “theological understanding” lines up with the rules/traditions established by men. Were those rules & traditions concerning theological ideas established by men who were seeking the truth and following God’s word? Yup. Does that mean that they were always right or that their traditions should be always followed? Nope. Just like the Pharisees…. good men, trying to follow rules that would bring them closer to God. Traditions change…. God’s Word does not change, but the church’s interpretation of the Word and the traditions that are built on them, those could change.

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