Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Litmus Test

I have always considered myself to be pretty open-minded. I like all people, from all cultures. But recently I have noticed a very small chink in my armor. I am not as magnanimous as I would like to be. I have some serious problems with the "Evangelical Litmus Test."

I think that all Christian denominations come from God. Often these get corrupted and used for evil purposes. But in their original state and with their original purposes in tact, denominations are tools that God uses to reach more people. There are some people who would not follow God if they could not be Catholic, or Baptist, or Methodist, or Pentecostal. God knows about these differences in personality and uses churches to reach out and meet those needs.

But my problem is that I have a test, a shibboleth if you will. I want to know that you believe what I believe, think like I think and behave like I behave. And if you do not, I am not sure that I can trust you. My litmus test results in a suspicious attitude toward anyone who is not just like me. This is a terrible sin, and I am sorry. I do not want to judge people. I do not want to be negative toward those around me. I certainly do not want to make enemies of those who are in my own camp. And yet, I regularly do this very thing.

And I am not alone. There are hundreds (thousands? millions?) of Christians who do this very thing. We think that if someone prays aloud, they are not Christian. Or, if someone does not pray aloud, they are not Christian. We judge and ostracize one another on dozens of issues every day. It is time that we stop.

Beginning today I will try to be more charitable in my thoughts toward others in the Christian community. I will celebrate the differences that come from God and use them to reach the world. I will do all I can to bring as many people as possible into the fold, and if I am not the right person to do it, I will work to find someone who is better at communicating. I will do this from now on. Will you join me?

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