Sunday, February 16, 2014

Breaking down barriers

My blog friend  Steve lives in Hong Kong and his blog, Beyond the Pale, is a regular stop for me.

I have never met him in person but through his blog I've learned that Steve has led an incredibly interesting life. He's a former politician (who once ran for U.S. Congress in Colorado) and pastor and is now a teacher. Last summer he and his son walked together across England and he wrote a book about their experiences.

Steve and I share a common love for a number of things, including baseball and reading, and I hope  one day, when he makes a stateside visit, to meet him at a major league game, buy him a hot dog and a beer and explain to him the superiority of the National League.

But most importantly, Steve and I are brothers in Christ. His blog is now devoted almost 100 percent to Christian themes. He has given me much to ponder as I've read his posts the last several years, and he has repeatedly challenged me in my own Christian life, kind of like "iron sharpening iron."

His most recent post is a great example of that, where he writes about different Christian writers, pastors and leaders, and how someone in a certain Christian "camp" would likely never cross over and read something by an author from another one of those camps. For example, a fan of N.T. Wright would probably not be a fan of John Piper, and a reader of Gregory Boyd would not do a Beth Moore Bible Study.

Steve points out, in not so many words, that Christ should unite us, not divide us, and when I read this particular post I sent a big "Amen" all the way from Tennessee to Hong Kong.

In his letter to the Ephesians, the Apostle Paul wrote about how Christ "broke down the barrier of the dividing wall." Granted, there are some matters that are deal breakers for me as far as Christianity goes, but there are way more things that unite me with the entire body of Christ than divide me.

I attend a church that is the more contemporary type, but I can go to a more traditional church and benefit from the beautiful liturgy and ceremony that characterize their services. Likewise, I have friends at those churches that can come to my church, raise their hands, clap their hands and pat their feet to the beat of the drum. We might have our preferences, but those walls no longer divide us. And they shouldn't.

As I pointed out to Steve when I commented on his post, do we not all, for now,"see in a mirror dimly?"

I had to come to terms with breaking down walls a couple of years ago when the Houston Astros, the baseball team I have stuck with through thick and thin (mostly thin) announced they would be going from the National to the American League.

That one still hurts and that wall is tough to get through, but I'm working on it.


Kelly said...

I've found I'm much more open-minded and tolerant in my old age. (about religious matters, that is... I'm far LESS patient and tolerant in others) I'm not really sure if that's a good thing or not and I find myself praying about it. It would make a good discussion topic for us sometime.

Bob said...

I feel much the same, Kelly. And if you are thinking about and praying about it, then I think it's a good thing.

Steve H. said...

Thanks Bob! I'm very glad the posts have been a blessing. And you don't have to worry about my American League bias in baseball. The Colorado Rockies are my adopted home team. The only time I have baseball sweats are the rare inter-league games where the Tigers and the Rockies play each other!

Debby said...

I find some Christian groups so rigid in their views that I am reminded of the Pharisees 2000 years ago.