“Americans by and large work together, shop together, and play together, but they do not worship together. If we are at our core spiritual, then the fact that we seem unable and unwilling to relate to one another elbow-to-elbow in the pews of the local congregation reveals how fragile the integrity of the church is.” – Jin Kim
It has been said that Sunday morning is the most segregated time in our Christian life. Race, age, economic class, denominational affiliation, and theological perspectives segregate us. We gravitate towards those who think and worship in the same way we do. Often, instead of living together in unity and love, we are separated by prejudice and intolerance. Yet the golden rule of Christianity, what James calls “the royal law,” (James 2:8) is “love your neighbor as you do yourself.”
At a recent conference, Pakistani theologian Charles Amjad Ali reminded us that we are all prejudiced. What changes in dialogue with others is the focus of our prejudice. He then challenged those in attendance to consider, “Can we be prejudiced towards justice, equality, and respect, or do we always live primarily with the prejudices of exclusion?”
God is much bigger than our culturally bound viewpoint. All people are created in God’s image and worthy of being treated with respect and understanding. We will not fully understand who God is or appreciate the incredible sacrifice of Christ on the Cross, until we learn to see these events through the eyes of others who come from very different viewpoints than our own.
“How good and how pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1).
– Plan to get together with someone in your community who has a different theological perspective than your own. Make this specifically a time to listen to their ideas and learn from their understanding of
– Stop by a local church of another denomination or ethnic background than you are use to and thank them for being in the community and for serving the people. Before leaving ask if you can offer a word of prayer for them.
– Visit the web and check out the theological discussions of indigenous peoples in other countries.