30 August 2010

C'mon people now

Smile on your brother
Ev'rybody get together
Try and love one another right now
- The Youngbloods
Last night I accompanied our church’s worship team as they went to a church about 10 miles away to join with several other worship teams for a couple hours of worship and fellowship. There were Baptists, and Nazerenes and Non-Denoms and it was good.

There was very little posturing. There was open and frank discussion between people of different congregations (because let’s face it – there is only ONE church) but it was conducted with mutual respect and love.

Nobody was trying to sell anything, no one was recruiting for “their church” , worship teams and individuals were not “competing”. Some people came dressed up, some came very casual – and it was okay.

I have no huge problem with denominations per-se. Christians have certain ways they are comfortable doing things and so they naturally gather together in those groups. Some will say the big deal between denominations is doctrine – how it is interpreted by various bodies. Predestination or no? Spiritual gifts or no? Male clergy, female clergy. What does baptism entail? Where does the Virgin Mary fit in? There is that. But I think it is more cultural. We just feel comfortable when church goes a certain way.

Some like much structure and order. Others like free flowing and organic. Some are very uncomfortable with “them”. Others embrace them. What kind of music? What kind of seating? What does the pastor look like? How does he speak?

As long as they hold the basic tenants of Christianity – come on, you know them: Jesus was the only begotten Son of God, born of a virgin, lived a perfect and sinless life, died on the cross for our sins, rose again, is sitting at the right hand of God the Father and is coming again someday to judge everyone…. As long as other congregations hold to those beliefs – aren’t the rest just minor details?

At least minor enough that we shouldn’t talk badly about each other; we shouldn’t avoid each other; we should not resist working and playing and worshipping together for His greater glory?

Can we not come together in the spirit of brotherly love? Can we not come together in the Spirit?
Can we not leave the competition and blustering out there – and unite as one in Christ?

Last night, I had a taste of that and it tasted good.

For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal? - 1 Corinthians 3:3 - 4


  1. It was good. Nothing particularly polished or carefully orchestrated about it, but towards then end I had a real sense of God's presence. I think it was just because some of Father's children from different cultural (and probably doctrinal traditions)were together in honor of Him and He blessed the effort.

  2. Recently received an email from a church leader I correspond with who reports, through a lot of work, they convinced 65 pastors/priest to jointly sign a declaration calling for a new homeless shelter in their community and then publishing the letter as an ad. The group were protestant and catholic and ranged across different theological interpretations. Perhaps God is sending a breeze of reconciliation through the body. 'bout time!

  3. hey joe, on the hopi rez, all the christian churches come together one sunday night a month for an evening of prayer and praise (and a potluck) they all take turns hosting it. they extend the invitation to their navajo neighbors and every congregation shares a song (navajo's sing in navajo and hopi's sing in hopi...some may choose to sing in english.