Everyone has their fifteen minutes of fame and so in the same way everyone has their hour or two of naivety; I’m quite sure this is mine, at least partially. I hope the other part may bear some drop of light.
Amidst the complexities and 2,000 year old wounds, it is appropriate to call for the re-unification of the Church. It is not a beautiful sign of the broken body of Jesus that we are divided in hateful camps from each other. Our brokenness would be wonderfully apparent if we were as one, we do not need denominations (as we have conceived them) to show this symbol of the cross. This idea that our dis-unity is an essential symbol of Christian life is, to me, plainly accommodating. In the face of words from Jesus about unity and witness of the Church being tied to that unity, our dis-unity becomes sin.
I have been imagining how this would take place, letting my mind roam free, brainstorming, enjoying what I’ve been seeing. So I share the tricklings of it with you now for the sake of honesty as well as to continue my own process of thinking these things out.
The new thought to me that has made this call possible is the thought about the nation-state being a religion. If it is true that the religion of the “right to pursue happiness” is the dominating god in our society then this sheds light for me on the reason for dis-unity in the Church. We do not have dis-unity because of different takes on the same God, but rather splitting off becomes the only interesting thing we can do when our religion has been so domesticated by this ruling god. This idea is expressed by the notion of “tolerance” or “religious diversity.” In tolerance, it is assumed that the public space is one that is unfettered by religious views which would oppress others by their desire for conversion; but there is no more evangelical movement than the nation state and it is sole controller of our public space. It is ever drawing more into it’s community, converting millions by choice or by force to a certain kind of freedom, rights, and view of the human. that none of these “certain kinds” are Christian is a relatively recent revelation for many and it opens the way for a glorious re-unification of the Church.
for as we come to know that Jesus is Lord, we come to know that others are not. Helping each other realize that the nation state, for all its promises of security and safety, is not Lord, is a step towards uniting the Church under one Lord, crucified and resurrected.
Perhaps my naivety is that I am imagining church leaders hearing this, understanding, and responding in positive measures. I imagine thousands of Church leaders getting together to be guided through the necessary forgiveness and re-thinking, i imagine a large out-pouring of the Holy Spirit to comfort the confusion as we stumble towards each other. I imagine connecting theologians with the Church again, assigning each denomination a theologian who would help and then cycle to another denomination. I imagine a real revelation of what imitation of Christ means; i guess i am imagining a Pentecost which acts as a kind of intense family reunion.
I’ll explore this idea more in subsequent posts.