Sometimes when you hear something once, it’s okay to ignore. Twice, better mull on it. Three times – it has to be important. It seems everywhere I go this week – there’s been somebody saying something to this effect (some harsher, some more subtle): “If you don’t believe as I do, we’re not going to agree on anything. You can’t change my mind, nor can I yours. So go somewhere else or hold your tongue. I don’t want to debate you on what I just wrote. Bye.”
Admittedly, I’ve always danced to the beat of my own drum. Everybody else buys the new Apple Ipod each year – I make my Sony Walkman last a whole decade (and then some.) Everybody gets into Twilight and Hunger Games and I don’t care about them in the slightest. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that when everybody signs up for the latest trends in Christianity, that it doesn’t sway me at all.
I remember being raised in a Southern Baptist church where both Calvinists and Arminians worshiped side-by-side. They didn’t battle for supremacy, or anything like that. They weren’t on the same page, but they weren’t about to stop being brothers and sisters in Christ because they interpreted the Scriptures differently. Then that sort of church died. It wasn’t just one church, but the whole denomination. Unity was destroyed by purity.
It used to be okay that we were different. But now it’s a life-or-death (spiritually speaking) matter that we must all like the same music, the same materials from the same ministries from popular Christian personalities, and above all else, believe exactly the same things the same way. Otherwise were some poor excuse for a christian, a true believer who just isn’t really true to the non-negotiables of Christianity. Never mind that the various denominations are proof that the only thing we can agree on is that we disagree on everything and all have different definitions as to what the most important things are to believe.
Unity achieved at the cost of destroying diversity isn’t an example of true harmony. Have you seen ‘The Giver’? It’s set in a world where differences aren’t allowed and the differences that couldn’t be eliminated just weren’t discussed. It was a world without choices – and that’s what I’m seeing in Christianity. Churches that feature contracts, this what we believe, sign here and be one of us, or else go somewhere else where they believe as you do – which isn’t at all like us, the true believers.
It’s almost a semi-gnostic emphasis on knowledge for the most part. Knowing the Bible correctly as inerrant, knowing the Bible correctly as authoritative, knowing the Bible correctly as literally as possible (except where it’s obviously a metaphor) … once you know those things, you know that your interpretation is completely correct, without error, authoritative, and literally the Word of God.
One thing I do know – I want no part in these churches that have that ‘my way or the highway’ attitude about belief. My own drum would destroy their harmony and I would never belong.