Obligatory reminder that there is a Facebook page for this blog. If you click on this link and “like” the page, you’re truly helping out a sister. Also, if you would like to review any of the books I’ve written, drop me a note via the contact page and I’ll send you one – for free.
Okay. That’s done.
Goodness I loathe the business side of writing.
Anyone want to do that for me?
I’ll pay you in cookies.
Kate says: agree.
My Bible study group is currently going through the book of Ruth. We spent several weeks in Judges, which is just an unpleasant mess of increasing weirdness, so it’s nice to take a little breather and dwell in a story that has a happy ending.
Last night our discussion centered around the concept of community, something we all long for but is always challenging. When we think of community, we often think of people with whom we will always agree. A place of perfect harmony. Unicorns, rainbows and fluffy white clouds.
Except…we’re human. That humanity…makes us all a little stupid and often harsh.
The words of the prophet are easily, flippantly quoted:
Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?
– Amos 3:3 (NKJV)
They’re true words. Two people can’t walk together if they aren’t agreed on what path to take. But we run with the words, assigning them a meaning that they don’t have. Uniformity instead of unity. Always smiling, no matter how falsely. Stepford People, never dealing with anything, never allowing the masks to slip, never asking the questions.
To build authentic community, we must hold onto and practice a phrase that is fading fast in the world at large: agree to disagree. Yes, we must all be heading the same direction. Yes, there are important issues of theology and doctrine that cannot be compromised. No, we are not all exactly alike. No, we won’t all have the same views on every issue.
There is a step further still to go.
The community of faith must first agree with God in order to allow space for the wrestling, the doubting and the struggles. The bulk of the New Testament bears witness to the fact that there has never been (and never will be) a perfect church this side of eternity. We bounce off of each other, whack each other with the sharp points and sometimes just don’t plain get along. It’s important that we agree with God that we are His people, purchased by His blood – and work through the disagreements, with the ones who drive us so crazy. He brought us together out of His loving kindness and care for the world, to whom we are to be witnessing.
A safe community agrees on the vision and wrestles through the details.
If we refuse to wrestle, and worse yet reject each other, we miss out on so much.