I am a member, actually a pastor, in the United Methodist Church. One of my favorite jokes is that the Free Methodists are as free as the United Methodists are united. It is funny, but it is true. There is not a lot that unites our world-wide fellowship of churches, missions, members. We cover the entire theological perspective. We are loving and grouchy. We are open and closed-off. We are biblical and open to "fresh moves of the Spirit."
But, shouldn't we United Methodists be united? In fact, shouldn't all Christians be united? We all have the same faith system. We believe the same stuff (essentially, anyway). So we ought to have some generic affection for one another. We should be looking out for each other. We're all on the same team after all.
The key, for United Methodists and for all Christians, is the central point of our faith. As long as we all agree to focus on the story, the meaning, the message and the significance of Jesus, we should be able to get along. When we have Jesus in the right place we will be fine.
However, its hard to keep Jesus where he goes. We would much rather think of ourselves and our issues than to consider the will of God. Shame on us!
The old cliche says that there is "no 'I' in team." Likewise, there is no "I" in church or Jesus. We need to get over ourselves and our agendas and focus on Jesus and what it is that he wants for our lives, our families and our churches.
A while back I heard someone speaking on this very topic. He said that we should always keep Jesus in the center. He emphasized the importance of the cross of Christ and pointed out that the cross is shaped like a "t". This semantic memory trick also illustrates an important truth.
When we have the order correct, when I am in the right place and Jesus is in the right place, I can experience being united.
However, when I get out of order, when I put Jesus in the wrong place, that's when I am untied.