Maybe it is just because I am stuck in the middle of this whole thing, but it seems that "Unity" has become the new object of worship for our churches. (Well, I could say that it is homosexuality, and probably not get a whole lot of argument. But in the "mainline" denominations, I still think it is "Unity.")
In the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), I had heard over and over, "I don't care if we have a gay pastor or not, I just think that pushing the matter will split the church." And so in the spirit of "unity," a Christian church acts in a highly un-Christlike manner.
Now, of course, these people could be totally against gay pastors and are just using the agreement of unity to hide behind. But of the people I met, they seem to truly be worried about the Church splitting. And this was before they knew I was gay.
And then there is the situation in the Anglican Union. Again, if they accept GLBT people fully into the life of the church, factions of the religion have threat end to split. So, does the church sell out a whole group of people just to keep unity? Again, un-Christlike.
Change the argument for a moment. "We don't want black pastors because they will split the church." How absurd! "We don't want a bishop who is in an inter-racial relationship because the African Primates will want to pull out." How stupid! But this is the type of argument that is thrown around.
Christ was accepting of all types of people. Religions have bastardized that principle by saying they are accepting but then placing all kinds of barriers to that acceptance.
What we have is a bunch of people who say they are trying to uphold the teachings and practices of Christ until those teachings and practices cause some to feel uncomfortable. Didn't Jesus cause others to feel uncomfortable? What if Jesus didn't act because it my cause a split in Judaism?
Christianity isn't about being comfortable, it is about doing what is right!
I would amend your last statement to read "...it is about doing what is Christ-like". The institutional church has totally derailed in terms of understanding what is "right" (i.e., "correct").
As for "unity", it is all about the money, Ben. Follow the money. Even (especially) in the institutional church. Ever since Lydia the Purple Dye Seller joined, we've left the lost sheep, the lost coin, the lost son behind and only looked for more like her.
take comfort in the fact friction and faction and splitting vs. union seems to be as old as christianity.
it is nothing new.
I heard this quote (regarding the Episcopal Church's situation) allegedly from the Presiding Bishop. WHen asked what we will do if the Anglican Communion "kicks us out." She said, "We'll leave the light on."
We're here to stay, honey. Fear not.
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