Peacemaking / Reformation

Recently I saw John Crowder post this quote from Thomas Merton;

“If I can unite in myself the thought and the devotion of Eastern and Western Christendom, the Greek and the Latin Fathers, the Russians with the Spanish mystics, I can prepare in myself the reunion of divided Christians. From that secret and unspoken unity in myself can eventually come a visible and manifest unity of all Christians. We must contain all divided worlds in ourselves and transcend them in Christ.”

This reminds me of something else I once heard activist Jarrod McKenna say. It was along the lines of,

“I am Protestant. I am Catholic. I am evangelical. I am Pentecostal. I don’t want to separate myself from any of our rich heritage, or our responsibility to work on the ways we have collectively contributed to injustice.”

Further, I recall a quote attributed to Augustine (which I also can’t seem to find) that was something like, 

“Our theological errors are usually not manifested in what we affirm, but in what we deny.”

All these thoughts resonate a lot with me. I feel like in my own life, the reason I have often struggled to feel at home in any spiritual community is frequently related to how narrow the (sometimes unspoken) boundaries of that community are. At their core, they are often centered around wonderful values that I absolutely agree with. Yet I see so much of the Body of Christ that is unseen or unheard within each tribe. Pieces of the Body that I value and align with myself…

In some circles, I’m too “hyper-grace” to freely express myself. In some circles, I’m too “hyper-Charismatic.” In other circles, I’m too gay and too deconstructed… And somehow I’m still too “conservative” or mainstream for others!

I want to see the global Church experience deep reformation, but I believe the road forward is not primarily to point out what Christians are doing wrong. It’s to honor and learn from what Christians are doing right, in every sacred tradition and renewal movement.

If we had more loyalty to one another – to the Whole Communion – a lot of our doctrinal errors would be overcome. If we could more deeply recognize Christ moving outside of our own little circles, I think our own deficiencies would begin to be met by one another.

Peacemaking, therefore, rather than being a task for the spineless – is itself the vehicle to reformation and all its disruption in our communities. Done rightly, the ministry of peace is the ministry of confrontation (and vice versa).

Good Sheperd, expand our vision.

Expand my vision.

Help us to diligently move with You, ever towards reconciliation and manifest completeness…

Ever toward the Truth that we all carry revelation of.