I love humor, maybe more than most people. In fact, as unhealthy as it might be, it’s one of my coping mechanisms. I am a believer that in difficult circumstances, we have two main options, laugh or cry. Now, some people fall along the area between those two, but I prefer to laugh. My love of humor and comedy have been a point or disagreement between my wife and I because she tends to shy away from pure comedy movies and shows, while I tend to gravitate toward them. (However, if we can find a show/movie that has a few laughs along with a good number of explosions, we’re both happy for the most part. And, yes, she’s the one that needs the explosions and action.)
I have noticed a growing trend
I have realized more and more that Christians have a tendency to rib one another from time to time… forcefully… with verbal knives… to the heart… And I have grown to have some issues with this. Yes, there will be brothers and sisters of ours who have their differences and particular beliefs and practices that we disagree with, but we’re still siblings.
“That’s all fine and dandy,” I hear some say, smugly, with a cheeky grin spread across their faces, “but we can’t all be right!” The assumption here being that these smugly smiling siblings are correct… And, no, I’m not going to preach about which group is most inherently correct on a particularly minute theological point that seems so insurmountable compared to the resurrection and subsequent Kingship of Jesus Christ and His command and prayer for His people to be one as He and the Father are One – Oh wait, that tiny point doesn’t seem so massive anymore…
We can all learn from our fellow believers. We can learn a sense of awe, wonder and reverence from the Catholic and Anglican liturgies. Lutherans’ focus on grace is exceedingly admirable, as is the Reformed traditions reliance on Scripture. We could all benefit from having at least one Charismatic friend, because, goodness knows, we don’t talk about the work of the Holy Spirit much in most groups. And we can certainly learn something about fellowship from Baptists. (I know there’s so much more to each of these groups, but if I kept going, we’d be here… well… longer than I care to type today.)
So instead of constantly putting down our siblings, why don’t we work together? First, let’s start with our commonalities (Jesus being the primary one) and work out of the command to be unified and take care of others. And, second, if we must deal with our differences, let us learn from former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and use those differences to better define our own beliefs. Hearing how someone else believes can certainly allow us to think through our own belief and explain to ourselves why we believe the way we do.
So, Internet (I’m looking at you specifically Facebook), let’s show a little more grace toward our fellow Christians. If you truly feel someone is wrong, maybe go to them in person, or with a phone call – public debates don’t usually end with the statement, “I sure am glad you called me out in front of the entire Internet, my mind is completely changed now!”
I seem to recall Jesus saying something about this… *cough*Matthew 18:15-16*cough*
Working with kids, this is especially important. Kids will pick up on prejudice very quickly and often in shocking ways. The way we talk about other believers in our homes and in our churches will impact the ability of the next generation to look at a fellow Christian and see Christ instead of an enemy.
How do you talk about other denominations in your home? What were you taught about other denominations? Do you know anyone from another Christian denomination?
(Full Disclosure: Being from the Christian Churches/Churches of Christ [Stone Campbell Movement] means that my own group’s biggest focus is… wait for it… unity. Also, if anyone has any Stone-Campbell movement jokes and would like to share, please do. I’ve heard so many about other people’s groups, but never about my own… We might have more jokes if more people knew about us, but that’s ok, too!)