Sometimes when I’m out on a bike ride I can’t help but notice the large number of churches around. For living in the famously unchurched Pacific Northwest we still have tons of ’em. In fact I counted four on the same mile stretch of highway outside of town.
I get to thinking “why are we so divided?… Imagine how great it would be if we were all together. Imagine how great it would be if we abandoned all our little churches and were together like a true body.”
But then I remember that mega-churches aren’t an ideal alternative.
Is there a denomination or version of Christianity that is the one? Could it be the Methodists, the Lutherans, or the Pentecostals, or by surprise the Eastern Othodox, or what about those Emergents? Who gets “it” and who doesn’t? Why would God seem to be working with conflicting versions of the faith? How can each denomination claim that God is working in and through them when they are doing a very different thing than the different denomination down the street?
I think, they can say this, because God is at work through them both.
God uses what’s around. Though he can make something out of dirt – he seems to prefer the dirt that’s already semi-formed (ie us). He doesn’t wait to use someone until they’re perfect- he uses them where they are.
People get baptized into the Pentencostal tradition every day, as do people into the Baptist way. I’m fairly critical of the Baptist way in light of my own problematic upbringing – yet God is still blessing them and adding to their numbers. That seemed a big contradictory to me…
I think God takes who’s around and uses them to transform the people they encounter. So even though there are plenty of flaws with the Baptist way God still forms people into Baptists. He doesn’t make each believer into the master denomination where everyone gets it exactly right. It’s taken me a while to see this.
The truth of the matter no one gets it perfectly – and yet God doesn’t seem to mind. It’s a startling idea to me – that God isn’t concerned with us having everything aligned just right.
Which denomination gets it? How can the church be more unified? Why do you think conflicting denominations can both thrive?