Why we need church unity more than ever.

Hello again!

I've been working through some thoughts for the blog, and really trying to rediscover what it is that I'm passionate about. As I keep bouncing back and forth through ideas, I keep coming back to how much it breaks my heart to see how the Church (big C = everybody) is divided and separated. There are issues that I think are funny, and issues that make me angry, but there are so few issues that can break my heart like the knowledge that our Church body is falling apart at the seams in some places.

Take for instance my own denomination, the lovely and wonderful Presbyterians. A few years ago now (I can't believe this has been going on that long!) we began a debate on whether or not we could ordain homosexual pastors. Well, actually we dipped our toes in the water of debate by taking back roads and attempting to hide our true intentions rather than open ourselves up to actual honest and authentic debate, but that's all semantics. Since then, we've seen churches engaged in lengthy lawsuits and arguments with their Presbyteries in an attempt to leave. When I get right down to it, I get angry with churches on both sides of this debate. If a church can no longer stay in the Presbytery because of serious and legitimate disagreements, we shouldn't make that harder for them by blocking their land use or trying to sue them broke. We should shake hands and say "Go in peace and love." On the other hand, I don't know that the issue is big enough to warrant picking up our ball and heading home. If we aren't in communion together, we aren't going to challenge each other and we're never going to grow.

I blame Martin Luther. Actually, I bet if the great thinkers of the Reformation were still around they'd be furious at us. Luther never intended to break away from Catholicism, just as Wesley never intended to break away from the Church of England and Calvin never intended to start his own denomination. These guys were deep thinkers and revolutionaries who saw the need for change, but not a desire for division.

Not to mention the things that divided the church then were significantly more severe than several of the divisions we face today. Luther was torqued because the church was trying to sell Christ's free gift of grace, an outrage to end all outrages. Some denominations split these days over the color of the carpet and whether a guitar can be used in worship. Priorities people, priorities.

Of course, maybe I'm wrong here. Maybe there are issues that are bigger than we can work past that I'm just not seeing. But as I mentioned in a previous post this week, I'm also seeing a newer and younger generation of Church leaders stepping up and begging for the Church to rejoin in communion together, to prepare ourselves for the wedding feast of the Lamb on the last days.

What do you think about our divisions? And perhaps more importantly, how do you think we can bring the church back together?