1 Corinthians 12:1-11 calls on me to be very careful not to judge other people of faith. No one can say Christ is Lord but the Spirit touch her or his soul, and the variety of gifts, callings, and ways of expressing such a faith are as varied as the colors in the morning sky as the sun rises or falling on an autumn morning from the encircling trees of some mountain forest. The fact someone lives out their faith or understands it differently than me does not mean it is any less authentic.
So often as believers we get too caught up in whose in or out, and judge others who claim to love God and seek to love others. Instead we are better served embracing them and the aspects of their faith & life we can, finding common ground to work together.
There was a time I judged based on if folks were gay or straight, my denomination or not, if they were believers. I have found through opening my heart to listen people of all sexualities who bear the spark of God’s Spirit in their soul whose life expresses so beautifully God’s love, and whose sexuality is like a prism through which that light shines even more beautifully. I have found that similarly those different paths of faith in different denominations people forge reveal to me aspects of God’s character my own journey and tradition often fail to notice. I find too in my faith life that coming from the right spirit, I a liberal Christian can edify and be edified when I sit down with my more conservative brothers & sisters of the faith as can they they when we sit, with an open mind, and share our stories of faith, listening to each other’s struggles. I find that I can find common values to work together with them, and also with people of very different expressions of faith than my own. When our focus is on pulling apart to be different, we can isolate ourselves on lonely islands of spirit. Jesus calls us to be people of reconciliation, tearing down walls, so that community is forged that embraces our full diversity.
How have you found that? Let’s continue to build bridges today and all our days.
Your progressive redneck preacher,