Monday 2 May 2011

Is Jesus greater than our differences?

Once upon a time, there was a girl who thought that if it was conservative, it was right (and of course everyone else was wrong).

Then that girl grew up.

It was hard to let go of the simplicity in that black-and-white world, but what a delight to discover grey! And not only grey, but red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple - such a beautifully bright and colourful world!

But alas, her former black-and-white world remained heavily populated, and the two worlds often bumped up against each other. Things weren't always peachy in her new colourful world either. Always too liberal for some, too conservative for others, she struggled to find belonging and community amongst all the colour.

In time she came to realize that a good part of this struggle was because she was searching for her double, someone who agreed with her in every way. It was just another form of black-and-white, only now she was looking for just that right shade of blue-green-purple.

And so the story goes. That girl is me, that struggle is mine. Maybe you, my sister or brother, have a similar story, or maybe yours is very different, but I'm sure of one thing: we're all headed in the same direction. Always the journey onward, always the two-steps-forward-one-step-back, always the growth that frees us to find community in the least expected places.

I'm still waiting for my happily ever after, but maybe we can find a bit of that wholeness here on earth in the meantime. How? By uniting in our one similarity - Jesus.

This unity isn't one more stab at black-and-white uniformity. It's a unity that acknowledges and honours the sincerity in each of us. We can love each other through our disagreements. We can embrace kindness, serve one another, and assume the best in each other's intents.

So you're a Calvinist and she's a Catholic and he's gay, but we all love Jesus. Can Jesus be greater than all the rest? Can even that one similarity outweigh our many differences? Is Jesus bigger than our disagreements?

I like to think so.

What about you?

This post was written for inclusion in the Rally to Restore Unity. What can our unity do? Maybe it can bring clean water to those who need it. Donate at the Rally to Restore Unity Charity: Water campaign.


  1. Sooooooo with you. That is exactly where I am. Too out there for my Bible belt upbringing...but, I love Jesus, and believe in the Word...that makes me close-minded in some circles. It's a lonely place. That's why I love the blogosphere. I seem to have found the readiest tribe here. I'm with you!

  2. I love this!
    I finished reading it and pasted it up on my facebook feed too. Election time brings up sooo much hate and anger everywhere, a total lack of love. :(

  3. Beautiful and powerful. Reposting. <3

  4. I was having a very similar conversation with a good friend just yesterday. I love how you've explained this. Off to send her the link to your post!

  5. I've been (am) on a very similar journey from black and white to gray and all shades of color. Thank you for sharing your beautiful thoughts!

  6. Beautiful. This could be my story too, I sometimes think about the days when it was black and white and so easy for me to go on living my life without conviction.

    It's harder now, but so much better. I sometimes start to wonder "how someone could believe THAT!" and then realize, who am I kidding? That was totally me!
    Thanks for sharing.

  7. But making a hodgepodge, sister, is not loving the Truth (Jesus Christ)!

  8. What a wonderful, wonderful post! I know how you feel. My husband and I were just talking about how we are as a couple very 'new age' for the "church crowd" but so very conservative amongst our peers.

    Although I'd say I've always lived in the shades of gray and color, which made it even more difficult for me to understand those who see everything in black and white. Wonderful. I'm sharing this on FB!

  9. I, too, have moved from living in a conviction-less, black-and-white world, to one of color (and shades of gray) where I've had to more deeply examine what Jesus wants for me, not what "authorities" dictate.

    It's a difficult place to be, sometimes, caught between two worlds as I am. Especially when my spouse is still very much black-and-white and is having difficulty seeing even shades of gray. But God's love does have a way of smoothing over differences! <3

    Thank you for this beautiful post.

  10. beautiful. So similar to my own story as well. Might have to make my own sign and snap a photo and write a post. :)

  11. Yes, yes this is me!! I feel like I don't belong anywhere. Looking for a book or bible study to point me to the true Jesus and not religion's ideas of who He is. Any suggestion?

  12. Thank you so much, everyone, for the feedback and encouragement! It's always comforting to know that others can relate.

    Nicole, yes, do! I would love to read your thoughts!

    Wheeliemom, good question. Sometimes I find I need to actually just set aside the books for a while and read the Bible with fresh eyes (a new Bible version can really help with this). I'm not usually a big fan of Beth Moore, but her Bible study Jesus, the One and Only proved incredibly helpful in reading through the Gospel of Luke with a fresh perspective (even if I did disagree with some of her conclusions). Michael Spencer's Mere Churchianity was excellent, though perhaps not quiet what you're looking for. Shane Claiborne's Jesus for President and Philip Yancey's The Jesus I Never Knew are both wonderful books for really getting to the heart of Jesus.

  13. Love these beautiful faces - with a beautiful message too :)

  14. Thank you Hippie! I know what you're saying about looking at the bible with fresh eyes...not sure what it is but I haven't been able to just sit and read it in a long, long while. I think it may be this demon of religiosity that is stopping me. Old perceptions and indoctrinations weigh me down as well as self-condemnation over how long it's been. Maybe the message version will help because it's so different!

  15. I feel like I could have written these words myself I identify with them so completely. Your insight into the search for a double is right on, and I'll be applying it to my own journey. Thank you!