I recently met a new friend, and it was wonderful. We got along right away, and I wish I had had more time to spend with her! She is a somewhat recent relocated Northerner, now in the Bible Belt. And one of the things we touched on during our short time together, was how frustrating it is to be "Non Denominational."
She said that when people started asking her what she believed/what religion she was, and she answered with, "Oh, I'm non denom," some of the people just could not accept that as an answer. They wanted something concrete. She's a Baptist, Episcopalian, Pentecostal, Methodist, Presbyterian, Anglican, anything they could easily define and analyze.
I've had similar experiences. Whenever anyone finds out you're a Christian, they almost immediately ask, "Which kind?" And I have always hated that question. For one, I do not have an easy answer.
I could easily go off about how I don't have a religion, I have a relationship, and start spewing Christianese at them. Or I could simply tell them my churches name, and let them draw their own conclusions based off of news reports that don't really represent the church I grew up in at all. I could try to explain to them that I believe what the Bible says, that Jesus came down to save us, not only when we die, but also in our life here on earth. That He is part of my everything, not just my Sundays. I could explain that I believe in the prosperity message, not the one that gets bashed by everyone, but the message that says God wants us to be whole, spirit, soul, and body, and that the financial aspect is the smallest part of it, and looks different for everyone. That I believe in God's healing power, in His Grace and Love. I could tell them the actual miracles that I have seen and witnessed with my own eyes, and told them how my life was never the same. But usually they're just looking for the short answer, and so I tell them I'm non denominational, and they roll their eyes and move on to something else.
The second reason I hate that question, is the fact that even the World sees us as divided. We're supposed to be the Church! Not the fighting families! Are we all going to agree on everything? Good Lord, no! Where would be the fun in that?! We need each other and our disagreements to grow and stretch us. I know for a fact that there are many things that I do not have down, that another part of the body is excelling at. And I have knowledge of things that will help them! God's revealed parts of Himself to all of us, given us gifts, talents, and callings that only we can walk in, and if we are constantly putting each other down, we're going to miss out on those blessings.
Now, I am not saying that not all doctrine is important. You cannot convince me that healing is not for today, that speaking in tongues was for Acts alone, that we serve a God who is not filled with Mercy, Grace, and Love for us. You just can't. But does that mean that if we disagree, I have the right to put down your church and your faith? NO! While your church may not have the same beliefs as I do, that doesn't mean that your church doesn't have a place in the body of Christ, and that it cannot minister to others, and myself. And I have no idea what my bashing of that church could do to deter someone else from the Message God has for them.
No, this constant bickering back and forth must stop. God called us a BODY for a reason. We need to be united, to support and uplift one another. Because you know when I hear Baptist, Episcopalian, Pentecostal, Methodist, Presbyterian, Anglican, and all the other ones there are, I don't hear my enemies. I hear the names of my brothers and sisters. And if I'm being a 100% honest, I do not really see what we're all fighting about. Because when I read the Wiki's on you guys, I find myself saying, "Hey, I believe that! I believe that too! Hmm, I've never thought of it that way. Now that I might disagree with, but does it really matter if when God created the earth, it was actually 7 days or the 1000 years to a day? Either way it happened. OH, I believe that too!"
So, can you guys join up with me? Can we support one another in the areas that God has called each of us too, despite our differences? Because I have a feeling we'll get so much more accomplished than we could even begin to imagine.
Thanks for reading you guys! I'm in awe every time I see someone read. Thank you.