Jan. 1, 2016

Going my way?

When all three of my sons were in school all day, I took a part-time job in our city. I was the office manager for a computer business with a  computer lab. It was a great way to ease me back into the working world while allowing me to learn valuable computer skills.

A Church of Christ Deacon worked with me as our computer technician fixing anything broken. Many days, it was just he and I in the office area while the owner taught classes in the lab. He soon discovered I was a Christian. At the time, my faith seemed to be a badge that I enjoyed wearing and flashing at others. Being brought up Southern Baptist, I was convinced I knew everything there was to know about not only the Bible but about every other religion in the world. I could tell you exactly what they did wrong and why my way was the “right” way.

In a very casual conversation one day, the Church of Christ Deacon said, “Well, you are a church that follows someone other than Christ. We are the Church of Christ and are loyal to Him alone.” “What?” I wanted to shout but spiritual maturity had begun to develop in me so I very calmly and sweetly (can you believe it?) asked, “Can you help me understand who told you that and why you believe it?”

He went on to tell me that he, being brought up in the Church of Christ, was an expert on faith, church, religion and misguided people. He was very glad that he wasn’t one of “them.” I asked again, “Can you help me understand why you believe the Baptist church follows someone other than Christ?” As you read this, it is probably a no-brainer to you; however, his response floored me. “You follow John the Baptist and believe the work he did (immersion baptism) was more important than what Christ did on the cross.”

Wow! I think you could have knocked me over with a feather! I thought everyone knew that the Baptists were the wisest on earth and that “we” had Scripture teaching down to an art. How could anyone, anywhere claim that we were off base?

My Church-of-Christ-Deacon friend had been taught in his church that my church was wrong. I had been taught in my church that his church was wrong. Truth is, we are both probably a little bit right and a little bit wrong.  Why, then, do we all separate into our church corners and belittle someone else?

Let’s learn to give our brothers and sisters of a differing faith the benefit of the doubt. We might not be as smart as we think we are and we might have bad information about the beliefs and practices of others.

If I could sum up my church’s beliefs in one sentence it would be: Jesus is the Way; the Truth and the Life. How about you? Share one sentence that is the basis and the foundational teaching of your church.

How we worship is a matter of choice.  Where we worship is a matter of geography.  Who we worship determines our eternity.

Surprise! If we are following a church sign to get us to Heaven, we are lost.