Recently, I had a large number of hits on my blog from a single location. Someone sat at his computer and literally clicked through every article I’ve posted. I know when someone is doing their homework on me, whether through a blog or checking my references… not that I mind of course. Let’s just be clear that background checks are rarely done in secret. More importantly, it made me remember something I noticed in the highly-divided American denominations: lack of fellowship.
American denominationalism—including divisions between “independent” congregations with a denominational spirit—are filled with argumentative Christians who are well-versed in literature of their “opponents”. Very few, however, show any sign of regular fellowship with influential leaders from the “other side of the tracks”. Christian denomination leaders don’t seem to actually sit down and have regular fellowship inside their respective cliques.
At most, they accidentally meet back stage at a conference like Promise Keepers. Then you know what happens? You guessed it. They realize that they aren’t so different. Next, seminary leaders start calling each other to create “least common denominator” statements of faith in hopes to pave the way for future fellowship. In all of it, they still miss the point: Unity comes from fellowship, not fellowship from unity. After all, that’s where it began back stage at Promise Keepers. Remember those days?
So, if you’re a security dog, sniffing around Christian lit to make sure that people are who they claim to be or find out what smells they may carry from this morning… great! Maybe you like to read blogs a lot—that’s great also. We all need to know more about each other. Just remember: Friendship can’t develop merely by reading each other’s literature. The idea that reconciliation can happen through literature alone is a fallacy that Western denominations keep falling for to this day. Books and magazines and blogs and letters are great teaching tools—for people who already understand us. Nothing replaces meeting in the flesh.
Literature is great. Fellowship is divine. It’s what Jesus died for, after all.