Thursday, March 09, 2006

The Body Broken - Ch 5

Getting back to thoughts on Jack Reese's The Body Broken...Chapter 5 starts with a moving description of a man baptizing his sister. Jack relates his own concern with getting the form correct to the unfortunate disconnect between the event of baptism and holy living that is frequently evidenced in the modern church by divisive and fragmenting behavior.

He goes on to a discussion of Paul's letter to the Romans and describes the tension between the Jews and the Gentiles in Rome. He states that the overriding question in the letter to the Romans is whether Jewish and Gentile Christians with their significant differences can be part of the same church. He asks what I believe may be the most profound question facing Skillman and its future - Can Christians who disagree with one another worship together? Can Christians who disagree profoundly with one another be part of the same church?

After describing the issues facing the Roman Church he illustrates with 2 issues within churches of Christ today - acappella singing and the role of women. He does not stake out a position on either of these issues, but says
the greater decisions have to do with how we treat one another. Now Paul's letter to the Romans has a direct bearing on us. Will we despise those with whom we differ? Will we condemn them? ...Will we be relieved when they find a church across town that is filled with people more like them? Can we even talk together? Can we sit down together to pray?

I have to confess that when I feel that I am being attacked or criticized the last thing I want to do is talk together or pray together. I have long held the 12th chapter of Romans as an ideal to live by, but I'm afraid that the life I live is far from ideal.

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