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Are you with us or against us? That’s a question/decision I feel I face nearly every day.
The context, perhaps, is irrelevant. Watch the news and you have to decide whether it’s a left or a right slant on the story (rare is there actual reporting minus the opinion). Before that, you had to choose your news source: Fox or CNN, etc. There is no middle ground.
Speaking of no middle ground, are you democrat or republican, conservative or liberal, traditionalist or progressive, red or blue?
Our country is so polarized and polarizing. It’s a sad and disturbing place to find ourselves. At least we have the church, right? The church can speak hope, peace, and reconciliation to our divided nation, right?
Nope! The church is equally (if not more) polarized…at least it is in my denomination, the United Methodist Church. Perhaps it’s different in other places (non-denominational churches?).
To name the big issue(s), we are at war with one another over gay marriage, Ordination, Book of Discipline violations, clergy trials, and basically anything remotely related to the LGBT community.
I won’t argue a “side” here. It wouldn’t help anyhow. I will offer an observation.
An image that comes to mind is the parting of the Red Sea. You may remember how Moses, through the power of God, separated those waters. To the left they went. To the right they flowed.
That’s where I believe we are. We’ve separated ourselves (certainly not under the power of God). We’ve gone to one side or the other. We stand firm and mostly just demonize the other “waters” for not coming our direction. To be clear, both sides of the sea are guilty.
In the Old Testament story, God’s people crossed between the two walls of water…on dry ground.
If the “United” Methodist Church is to move forward with any kind of a positive witness and influence on our world, we’ve got to rush to find that dry ground. Some would say it’s finished and there’s no way we can remain one church, and so a schism is in order (or has already taken place). Perhaps they’re right…
But what if they’re not? What if there really is a place of dry ground whereby we can navigate the divided waters?
Our entire faith is based on the One who stood in the gap. With one hand, Jesus held firm to divinity. With the other, humanity. He brought together the greatest and most insurmountable divide in the history of the cosmos. That’s good news! It can be done!
What we need are not more people standing on the sides. We need leaders who are desperately searching for dry ground. We need people not afraid to walk in the middle of two sides of turbulent waters which could overtake them at any moment.
I’m tired of choosing sides. Choosing a side moves me either left or right. I, for one, want to move forward on dry ground. It worked for God’s people long ago. Surely, it can work again.