Division is all about taking one thing then dividing it into 2 things (or a few things). The idea is to seperate for the sake of understanding what one thing can be (in parts). There is another meaning to this word that I am all too familiar with – the division of the church from the world – the ‘believers’ and the ‘unbelievers’ – and it usually ends with seperation of the human race into parts/labels.
But is division such a Christ-like idea? If I have to ask WWJD – well what does it show him doing in the gospels? Was Jesus divisive? I think there are examples in the synoptics of a speech Jesus gives about division (the lone time this is done) but with regards to following him and how this can cause problems in families (and this to his disciples who were part of a Jewish historical context – and the whole Messiah thing – well yeah it caused some division). But that’s one speech – and that’s about it on the concept of division (the actual word).
But the church has at it’s core the idea of division and has very well made it the centre-piece of the gospel message (its an ‘us’ and ‘them’ thing). The church believes in division and that it is good somehow; it’s righteous somehow. Yet I have a tough time finding the seperation from the world as major an idea as the churches have taught over centuries. Could it be that the focus of the faith is misinformed?
Jesus seems inclusionary to me on a surface level – even the parables are about ‘what we should be’ and ‘what we shouldn’t be’. This same person was known to be amongst the ‘sinners’ of his day and it’s not presented as a problem – more like something of importance. His form of seperation always seems to reflect the movement away from values to that of vices; this is what caused problems for the person.
The church seems to think what causes problems for the person is not so much the vices (but it is mentioned over pulpits) but the idea of accepting faith (this is the foundational step in evangelism). This is where the division of ‘us’ and ‘them’ all starts – when one group can say ‘I am saved’ on the basis of some acceptance vs. the non-acceptance of another of that same label or idea. Kinda makes me wonder – why do we want to be part of a faith that goes out of its way to seperate people on the basis of judgments we are not allowed to make (ie: salvation of a person)? Seems like wasted air to me.
I have been talking with OSS about this for some time (in blogs) and we have bantered about that idea ‘anyone can be saved’ – since salvation is part of the actions we take to a better life. For example, if I am having marital problems with my wife what is going to ‘save’ that relationship? I could pray, read the bible, attend church a lot, or even be an awesome worshipper – but does any of that solve the problem? It might lead me there (via humility) but I still have actions (decisions) to do to save that marriage. And that’s the way we know life actually works – we make a decision to do something different – and things can change. Why is so impossible to believe someone that leads a ‘good life’ is actually following the pattern Jesus showed us – Christian label or not?
This is where I part with one of the capital tents of the faith I am a part of since division for the sake of division is fruitless. I am friends with people from various backgrounds and for me to believe since they never accepted my faith they are doomed – that is stupid. I know full well what the problems concerning them are – and accepting Jesus’ sacrifice never comes up as one of the problems they are experiencing. No, we are talking about problems with decision making, perspective, focus of life, knowing the options, determining value vs. vice, developing relationships, responsbility, etc.
The real division is how we look at salvation in this faith. But isn’t the very idea of salvation to ‘save someone’ (which seems inclusionary to me)? Maybe salvation can find its way into our lives in some tangible way? Which moves away from division but to addition.