So I’m behind on blogging. Bleah. I’d been trying to think of a suitable topic, and then at New Year’s I didn’t want to do the obligatory “resolution” post . . . my particular stubbornness in avoiding the mainstream, I guess. Besides, I felt that my “year” began back in September, during the conference, and that the Lord wanted me to continue in the work He’d set for me then. Interesting, that, considering the Jewish New Year begins in September as well . . . nu?
The family and I were also battling a nasty sore throat/respiratory virus from about the second week of December till sometime in January. I had it for almost three weeks straight . . . then again . . . and again . . . am just now really getting back on track. And yikes—January’s nearly done!
Besides starting up school again (and trying to really be diligent with the six who are “doing school” this year, in a span from kindergarten up to high school freshman), I’m finishing up ballet costumes (a job I agreed to in partial exchange for class fees) and chipping away at Gift—I’m up to about 77,500 words now and in the home stretch as far as storyline . . . and slightly freaked out again because I’m scared of “messing it up.” Yeah, I know . . . the Lord brought me thus far, so I should trust Him to get me through the rest, right? And my readers seem to love it so far . . . picture me scratching my head in bafflement here, because it really mostly seems like drivel to me when I go back and read . . .
In between the holidays and getting back into a routine, I’ve struggled with some discouragement and doubt over my writing—I think that’s been endemic, given what I’ve read on other people’s blogs—am I really called, how can God expect me to balance the family and my writing, am I damaging my children beyond repair by trying to spread myself too thin . . . yada yada. Finally I remembered that what He calls us to do, He equips us for, and meets all our needs, including the emotional and spiritual ones.
So now, the spiritual crisis du jour involves something that’s been simmering in me for some time . . . the divisions within the Body of Christ. I look at differences of “doctrine” that really are just matters of interpretation or personal opinion . . . everybody’s got ‘em, including myself, and we’re all sure we’re right . . . but are we really? And how many of these things are worth parting fellowship over?
What troubles me are matters in which this group or that forms a whole teaching around one verse, or a part of a verse, that’s yanked out of context . . . while ignoring whole passages elsewhere. Every denomination or splinter group that I know of does this. As a friend expressed to me last night, who are we supposed to listen to, if everyone’s teachings are flawed? Where do we turn for truth? I know the answer is Scripture itself, of course—we can’t just toss out preaching altogether, but we must constantly compare what we hear taught to what the Word actually says. Still, it’s distressing to find differences of opinion or interpretation between myself and someone I hold very dear—differences which aren’t necessarily resolved by comparing notes and going to Scripture, because the other person is coming from one perspective and I’m coming from another. Both of us have prayed over our position, however, and both of us are sure that we’re right where we should be . . .
And perhaps we are. Does the Lord allow for differences of belief and interpretation among His children, as long as it isn’t a salvation issue? Study of the “meats offered to idols” issue in the early church leads me to say yes. Still, there are things that don’t fall under the category of “meats offered to idols” (style of dress, music, entertainment, drink, dietary mores, etc.) . . . some things really are doctrinal issues. But it distresses me deeply when I hear preachers, especially, denigrating those who don’t hold their particular interpretational belief—charismatics, et al, referring to Baptists, et al, as “the frozen chosen,” or Baptists referring to charismatics as “those holy rollers.” These are your brothers and sisters in Christ you’re talking about, if they believe in the Deity and Resurrection of our Lord. Is God pleased by all this? I seriously wonder—as a parent myself, I take a very dim view of my children calling each other “idiot” and “stupid,” and really, it isn’t anything more than that.
So where does unity of the Body come into this? Do we all necessarily have to hold the same viewpoint—even on doctrinal issues not relating to essential salvation—to be in fellowship with each other? Jesus prayed that all believers would be made “one”—and said that love for each other would mark us as His followers as nothing else. Maybe that’s why Satan fights so hard to keep us at odds with each other . . . because if we’re kept busy bickering over gifts of the Spirit, or the method of baptism, or worship styles, or the color of carpet in the meeting house, then, gee, maybe we’ll miss the more important work of the kingdom, which in my very humble opinion seems to be interceding for our brethren and the lost (something I need to do more of), and lifting up our awesome Creator to a dying world.