Don’t be in any rush to become a teacher, my friends. Teaching is highly responsible work. Teachers are held to the strictest standards. And none of us is perfectly qualified. We get it wrong nearly every time we open our mouths. If you could find someone whose speech was perfectly true, you’d have a perfect person, in perfect control of life. -James 3:1-2
I do not see humans in ethnic races. I don’t realize that someone is of a particular ethnicity unless they point it out to me. In the same way, I don’t see the body of Christ as a particular denomination. I don’t know what denomination a person is unless they tell me. My identity is not my race and it is not my denomination. I am a German mutt. I am a Believer.
If your identity is found in your race, then you run the risk of letting pride in your ethnicity turn into racial bigotry. Racial prejudice is horribly displayed in a group of people trying to find some sort of meaning in something they were never part of choosing. Setting yourselves up as superior to another leads to genocide, slavery and hatred induced discrimination.
If your identity is found in your denomination, then you run the risk of letting respect in your doctrinal system turn into religious bigotry. Religious bias is appallingly displayed in a group of people trying to find authoritative positioning in the Body of Christ. Setting yourselves up as superior to another denomination is like taking a knife to the body of a man, putting them in separate locations and expecting them to function normally. If you cut the body apart, it dies.
But I also want you to think about how this keeps your significance from getting blown up into self-importance. For no matter how significant you are, it is only because of what you are a part of. …The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church: every part dependent on every other part, the parts we mention and the parts we don’t, the parts we see and the parts we don’t. If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing. If one part flourishes, every other part enters into the exuberance. You are Christ’s body—that’s who you are! You must never forget this. Only as you accept your part of that body does your “part” mean anything.-1 Corinthians 12:19-27
Racial bigotry has men wearing white sheets marching down the street in a parade of hate. Religious bigotry has men standing on street corners holding signs and yelling hate. Racial bigotry leaves scars on the backs of men and tattoos on the arms of old women. Religious bigotry leaves scars on the hearts of people and runs airplanes into the sides of buildings.
I appreciate the differences in cultural upbringing and genetic heritage. I don’t think that we can be a balanced society without the culmination of colors, sizes and shapes. We are a human rainbow of beauty and a collection of languages that have the ability to sing in harmony.
I value the different interpretations of a life lived in faith that are expressed in the different denominations. I don’t think that any one group has infallible understanding of scripture. They all have their strengths and weakness. I believe that as a group, we can come together and put our strengths in the melting pot of faith and make the difference that we all want.
Holy Father, guard them as they pursue this life that you conferred as a gift through me, so they can be one heart and mind as we are one heart and mind. -Jesus; John 17:11