My dear friends, as a follower of our Lord Jesus Christ, I beg you to get along with each other. Don’t take sides. Always try to agree in what you think. Several people from Chloe’s family have already reported to me that you keep arguing with each other. They have said that some of you claim to follow me, while others claim to follow Apollos or Peter or Christ. Has Christ been divided up? Was I nailed to a cross for you? Were you baptized in my name?
When I started growing into my Christianity, it became clear to me that certain types of Christians didn’t get along with other types of Christians and vice-versa.
I moved around and attended a few different types of churches growing up. I’m thankful I got to see so so many different colors of Christianity. Some Christians danced and others didn’t; some believed you were not really a Christian until you got baptized as a mature person while others did a little sprinkle action on babies within days of their birth; some churches prophesied regularly as a part of the service while others did not even mention it. The list carries on.
It’s interesting. Sometimes the differences can even be beautiful. It is the same kind of beautiful I see when I visit a new culture. Each culture has beauty as well as ugliness.
Based on my various experiences, here are a few thoughts I have compiled on different worship styles:
I think some spontaneous worshipers could stand to adopt a few orderly practices. I think some methodical worshipers could stand to adopt a few charismatic practices. It would just widen all of our spiritual worlds. I feel like there is so much more God to discover if we walk over to the other side of the church (the body of people… not necessarily the building).
It seems futile to fight over whether God is more pleased with free expression or whether He prefers very organized worship. Some things are just not worth fighting for. We waste our time asking Jesus whether it is lawful to work on the Sabbath and eat with “sinners” rather than asking Him to teach us about love, justice, mercy or other higher things.
Recently, one of my old professors reminded me of something:
Sunday morning remains the most segregated hour in America, a fact connected with one of our country’s greatest forms of continuing injustice. – Dr. Eric T. Weber (paraphrasing Dr. Martin Luther King)
If we want to separate ourselves, I think it is more worthwhile to disagree with someone on the basis of being mean-spirited rather than their music tastes. It is more worthwhile to distance yourself from someone who is selfish than to distance yourself from someone who prophesies simply because you don’t understand it (I have a lot to say about prophecy that will have to wait for another post because I think quite a few of us in the church don’t really know what it is).
We’ve become scared of each other. Rather than exploring each other and learning from each other, we’ve chosen to shut each other out. We’ve become afraid of hearing something new and experiencing something different. Are we so afraid for our faith that we believe a new experience will completely destroy it? If being part of Christ’s church is truly as powerful as we claim and God is real, then I think our faith should be able to stand even if we are exposed to foreign ideas.
It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
Don’t be afraid. Walk across the room, ask a few questions and learn more about God because I think that fear will rob us of experiencing our glorious, multi-dimensional God. We are many races and cultures and styles of people because God is not just one thing. We are all made in His image and no two people are the same because that is just how amazing God is. It takes billions of people to express all His different traits. Yes, we are broken, but He loves us all and wants to save us all because He breathed into us all.