The Illusion of Unity

Reflections of Chapter 10 in Donald B. Kraybill’s book The Upside-Down Kingdom.
(ISBN 10: 0836192362 or ISBN 13: 978-0836192360)

“A gospel which only attracts similar people blurs the good new that bonds Jew and Gentile, male and female, black and white.”

What is the body of Christ? This body is the church. Not a church fellowship but the church of God, all believers bound together in Christ. This is a beautiful image but where is it in actuality.

I am long been confused with the existence of denominations. As a kid, my family always went to Southern Baptist churches. Therefore, I always wondered why everyone wasn’t Southern Baptist. I grew older and met kids at school that said they were Presbyterian, Catholic, Apostolic, and Seventh Day Adventist. I learned that Protestants wore crosses without Jesus and Catholics wore crosses with Jesus. Some people would tell me not to worry about it but that we were all Christians. Others would tell me that only my denomination was right or that mine was wrong and theirs was right.

In high school my brother and I were asking each other what we knew about other denominations compared to our own. My brother’s Sunday school teacher told him that God had created denominations. My brother asked why since there was all this division. This man then asked my brother, “Is God smart or stupid?” Of course he was smart my brother answered. “That is why there are denominations,” he explained. “God knows that some people like to kneel and others like to stand and still others like to dance. He knew that some people like to hear a loud preacher and others like the Mister Rogers type of preachers.” So my new understanding was that denominations existed because of individuality and preference.

Now I am being challenged with this idea of what church is. I don’t think that church is a once a week refueling station. I think that we are limited in our power to do the work of God due to our factions. Church is supposed to be a living, growing organism that exists for community and thrives in community. If church is not what it should be then should I give up on it? That would be easier. Instead I will search for people that see what I see, and long for what we do not see. Together we will pursue it. The goal I think will forever in my brief existence be in need of reshaping and we’ll need to be redirected on occasion but God will honor this pursuit.

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