Praying for a catholic Church

This title is not intended as a click-bait. Rather, this is intended as an honest post in a time of such division. I am also praying for the Catholic church, do not get me wrong, but what the church need more than anything is to be united in a time so divisive.

The term catholic – lower case “c” – only means universal. The fact that the Catholic church chose this name to define themselves shows you where their heart was in this as well. However this is not a post on or against Catholicism. Our nation is growing increasingly divided and we are needed someone to show what it means to be united.

Enter here the church, or at least we should. Christianity in America is full of denominations who disagree on smaller issues of dogma, but agree on the major points when it comes to our faith. Denominations are not necessarily bad when used to the positives they can bring. We agree as Christians on a common faith in Jesus, yet you may connect in worship differently than I do. You can attend church A while I attend church B because of our stylistic preferences in worship, yet we can fellowship together.

As someone who belongs to the Church of Christ tradition, I will admit we are one of the worst at this. The joke is whenever we come to a disagreement, we just go down the street and start a new church. Within just the Churches of Christ, we have a few different “categories” of Churches of Christ differing on “methodologies.” Each of these break down into many many more differences as well.

Which is why I am so happy to be a minister and member at Court Drive. As I write this, we just finished serving the Palestine Community Food Bank which is located out of our church. I just finished serving alongside brothers and sister in Christ who belong to other churches here in town including both Methodist and Baptist churches (that I know of). The Senior Pastor at my church is a member of our towns Ministerial Alliance which helps bridge this gap between denominations. We have started a program in Palestine called GREET (Give, Respect, Encourage, Educate, Transform), which is a number of churches here in town working to better our community as a collective.

We may not be doing it perfectly here in Palestine, and it is not without its hiccups. But we are trying to do our best to fellowship and serve our community together, bringing hope and love to our town, county, and world.

However, Christian denominations often times drop the ball when it comes to this very issue. We ask what religion someone belongs to and we answer each other saying, “I am a Baptist,” or “I am a Methodist.” But wait, aren’t we all Christian? Are we not all believing, quoting Paul, “For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (1 Cor 2:2 NRSV). 

Is this not the heart of the Gospel? Is this not the fulcrum of Christianity? Why then do we put such an emphasis on the smaller details, trying to look for differences when we share the same main belief. Christianity should not be a reflection of society, but pointing to society one who is greater. Our God is a God of unity and love, a God of relationship and forgiveness.

We then, as the body of Christ and his vehicle on earth need to be a reflection of God. When everyone else is showing division and strife, we need to be showing our unified front as one in Christ. People should look to us and see that we are fulfilling the suggestion of Paul to “be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind” (Phil 2:2).Gos

So why do we as Christians in America not begin to show a catholic front? Coming together as Churches of Christ, Baptists, Methodists, Catholics, and the like to show a divided nation what unity looks like in the name of Christ. Imagine what we could teach our Democratic and Republican politicians, showing them what it looks like to look first to what we share in common, before we look to what could divide. Let us all be catholic (lower case “C”) Christians, no matter what denomination you belong to. Let us show the world what it looks like to be united and one in mind and purpose.

I love you guys, and so does Jesus. I hope you continue to long for this water, and continue to drink from it as well. Until next time, blessings to you and your family,

Josh Gentry.

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