By Atticus Andrew
I recall H. Richard Niebuhr having said more than a half-century ago that the number of different Christian denominations is evidence of "the failure" of the institutional church.
He had a point I think still applicable. Denominations serve a purpose: they reflect the fascinating variety in Christian experience. At the same time, they demonstrate how divided we are, especially with respect to how we apply our faith to current political and social issues.
That's where "common sense" ought to come in, enabling us to agree on basic applications of the teachings of Jesus Christ. But in recent years this has not happened; in fact, we have become increasingly alienated from one another regarding how we are to interpret our faith.
We have our Trumpites and our anti-Trumpers. We have our "evangelicals" and we have our "progressives." We have our "fundamentalists" and our "liberals." In addition, there is a a group, which when combined, represents perhaps the numerically largest number of modern day followers of Christ—those who wish their faith to have no connection to institutional Christianity.
Yet, few among this variety of Christian experience would disagree today on one essential: answering the Call of Christ means that we are One, undivided, united. But determining how to be One is another matter. You must follow Trump and the Pro-lifers, declares one extreme. No, you must be open to all possibilities, says the opposite.
Neither extreme makes "common sense." Both divide us,and sharply so.
My understanding of "common sense" Christianity tells me that there are modern-day applications that we can and should agree on. Number one, that we are asked to respect one another and all human beings. And Number 2, in "little children" we see the kingdom of heaven; and in support of their well being lies our common destiny on earth.
Do we respect humanity? Do we ask first and last, always. about how programs and policies affect children?
If not, we have lost our way.
Come, Lord Jesus, Come