Photo by "Lif..." via Flickr

Encouraging unity, not uniformity

Each week, my wife and I meet up with a small group of young adults from our church. We pray, drink coffee, and gather around God’s Word in study. And though we might not all read the exact same passage in the exact same way, it’s a place of encouragement—where our differences of opinion about “what the Bible says” only serve to bring us closer together, rather than pry us apart. We can challenge each other to consider text in ways different than that which we already firmly believe.

And although I know it’s naïve to think so, I sometimes like to imagine that our group is reflective of how Christians normally operate.

It’s nice to pretend sometimes, isn’t it?

I’m sometimes discouraged by stories like what happened at World Vision USA (and more specifically, the way it happened), where 2,000 supporters chose to drop their child sponsorships after the organization announced it would allow same-sex married persons to serve with the company and then reversed the decision two days later. Naturally, it incited a heated response, prompting comments like “no wonder millennials are leaving the Church,” or “I’m so done with evangelicalism,” or others that Tim Perry talks about in his latest Canada Today column, which you can read in this issue.

And don’t get them started on the Noah movie. Oh boy, is that turning into quite the hot potato.

Some Christian leaders have been very supportive of Darren Aronofsky’s film, calling it a “conversation starter” or remarking “well at least the Bible is getting some mention in pop culture.” Others have been more critical, the nicer commentators calling it “inaccurate” or “unbiblical,” as though Aronofsky, a secular Jew, has some obligation to put his Hollywood paycheque towards bringing people to Jesus.

Last time I checked, that was our job.

One review I read went so far as to propose a theory that Aronofsky was telling us a story of Noah based in Jewish Gnosticism as part of some elaborate practical joke to get Christian leaders to endorse a movie that encourages the abandonment of God as we know Him.

Just in case those J.F.K. conspiracy theories or reruns of The Twilight Zone weren’t weird enough for you. It’s stuff like this that might lead a person to wonder if they can do anything that isn’t going to upset “the Christians” in some way or another.

(Plug: If you’re curious about what we [or in this case, I] thought about Noah, you can read the review online here.)

These two examples might paint a pretty bleak picture of what kind of shape the “Christian forums” are in these days. While we might be a bit more civilized on a small group level, how we deal with each other in large “camps” might appear anything but.

At ChristianWeek, we’ve made a mission out of encouraging unity—not uniformity. We know that there are good, faithful people of all political stripes, and focusing on our differences is never as productive as focusing on what we have in common—our love for Jesus, and how He commands us to love one another, something that goes far beyond just “tolerating” the things we don’t like about each other.

Even though ChristianWeek might not be able to please everyone all the time, please keep supporting what we’re trying to do: be a voice that can inform our readers of different and differing perspectives, encourage a healthy dialogue, especially those with whom we might disagree, and inspire each other to be a better Church—together.

Dear Readers:

If ChristianWeek has made a difference in your life, please take a minute and donate to help give voice to stories that inform, encourage and inspire.

Donations of $20 or more will receive a charitable receipt.
Thank you, from Christianweek.

About the author

Rob Horsley is the former Managing Editor of ChristianWeek.