I just finished The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis. I highly recommend reading the book if you never have. It’s clever and filled with an interesting view of things that won’t be allowed to enter the Kingdom.
It also has a vision of Hell that I can jump on board with, lol. It is this deary little town, which has been awaiting the coming night for an long, undetermined amount of time. I interpreted the people as not fully understanding their surroundings. Here was what captured my thoughts though … this place extended infinitely in all directions, for the most part, with people going about their next life alone. Often these people were obsessed about an earthly sin, personal shortcoming, place of self shame, or failure. And this is why each was alone here … Every time a person would disagree with another, they would move further out, build a new house, and wait for the next person to come along that they disagreed with.
And I hear a voice say …. Two are better than one.
What would it be like to live in a place where love was not the center? Or in a place, the apostle John might say, that God is not the center? Where the primary goal was to surround ourselves with people who are perfectly aligned with our own vision of how things “should” be? A place where every time there is a disagreement people see it best to go their own way. A place where people choose to separate in order to attain an unreachable perfection … they move down the street, build a new building, and start over.
An echo rings in my heart … A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
We are a broken, perhaps a disturbingly divorced, church body. Up until this time in history, when a church body is brought to a place of disagreement we have decided the best option is to split. We separate from our own brothers and sisters, take it upon ourselves to judge where they are wrong, and relocate with the next looming split inevitably around the corner.
How sad this must be for Christ. Denominational divides are causing His own body to be mutilated and tortured once more. We are ripping His bride limb from limb. As His body, we are so disgustedly self centered on our ideas of what the church should be, we have completely abandoned what Christ told us to do – spread the gospel. We have carelessly abandoned that which He said were the only two laws that mattered … love up and love out.
Another whisper in my ear … Pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.
I do not want to split anymore. I want to unite. I want to love God, love others, and allow the Spirit to do His refining work in each of us, as only He can do! Even if that means serving alongside someone who I disagree with. I am the bride of Christ, and I have a place in the body. I will not stand by and see that body be torn further apart by ideals that we can not reach here. When you disagree with your Christian brother or sister, do not allow Satan to cause further separation. I would rather disagree and be strong together, then split and hurt Christ (hurt others) one second longer.
I really like the stuff you’ve been writing lately! Keep it up. Also I put together something I’d be interested in hearing your feedback. I’m calling it “My Twelve Fundamentals.” It’s basically a theological response to the way the church has become now: http://morganguyton.wordpress.com/2012/05/10/my-twelve-fundamentals/
Thanks Morgan! The Spirit has really been pushing me to set aside fear and write what is on my heart.
Thanks too for the link. I’ve also been blessed with a little more time to dedicate to writing/reading, and looking forward to spending some time reading your post! I’ll let you know what I think:)
“We are ripping His bride limb from limb.” Yup. We are. Wise words, my friend.
Stephanie, I am always amazed at you can articulate what is on your heart. I totally agree. We (believers) are supposed to all be on the same “team” right? We are pitching for Jesus. I, also, don’t understand why we all have to move apart from each other. Agree to disagree…and love God and people still. I can disagree with my husband (on many things sometimes) but I still love him and want to do life with him. I don’t understand why as a church body we can’t do the same. And when I say church – I mean all churches – not just the one I attend or that’s in my church’s denomination. If we are all one family of believers, different churches and denominations would be like cousins, but we don’t always treat each other as family. What do we do about that?
Kierkegaardian philosophy of religious pluralism. There is right belief which is objective and then there is relationship which is subjective. A pagan praying to the wrong god rightly is in relationship with the true God more so than a man praying to the right God wrongly.
“It also has a vision of Hell that I can jump on board with, lol.”
I personally lean toward Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger’s idea on Hell (I think it’s similar to the one expressed by C.S. Lewis). You might also like reading St. Isaac of Nineveh’s understanding on Hell.