The Word of Reconcilation
I have been thinking about the word/concept of reconciliation of late. Really it is more like I have been bombarded with it than contemplating it, seeing its evolution in others as well as in my own relationships. One of my mentors long ago when we were faced with a crisis where brothers and sisters were on both sides of the debate asked whether we would be a community of faith or a community of truth. The tension between these poles can be quite taunt at times, and that tension sometimes causes things to snap.
Another mentor once told me its all about relationships. It is all about relationships. This is what holiness is. But so often holiness gets plugged into an equation something like this - right with God= right doctrine, without any regard to "right with Brothers/sisters." The world is populated with right people who are living lonely existences. The world is also populated with people who don't have all the right answers and maybe even some wrong ones who are living in solidarity with God precisely because they are in solidarity with those whom they commune with.
Don't get me wrong- right doctrine is very important. We must know what we believe. Yet one thing I read early this week is that Jesus did not have theology of healing; rather he healed people. As important it is to think things through and to work out our salvation with fear and trembling (intellectually) we must also work out our salvation in other ways, in ways that reflect a catholic spirit as Wesley encouraged. We may not all think alike, but we can love alike is how he once put it, or something to that effect. How often we isolate ourselves from Brothers and Sisters who have gifts to give to us all because we do not think alike. R. G. Spurling was also concerned about how doctrine built walls between spiritual brothers and sisters. The lost link in the church was Christ's law of love. Since Nicea, according to Spurling, the church has become more and more concerned about right and wrong, who's in and out, then about showing love one to another. The Law of Love established by Christ had been supplanted with creeds and doctrines of men. I am a strong believer in doctrine, but it is hard to argue with the divisive nature the church has taken on in our day.