“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:24-25
I’m tired y’all. I am sincerely and honestly tired of the intrafamilial barbs, shade, and jabs I’m seeing thrown across the Table.
What Table you ask? Well I’m speaking of the one Jesus sat at with his disciples. That incredible space where bread was broken, wine was shared, and feet were washed before he told shared “Do this in remembrance of me…”.
Instead of honoring that gentle command, I’m seeing something wholly other.
I see accusation. I see open questioning of another’s faith if they don’t have shared ideologies and theology. I see attack and strife.
I do not see love.
Last night my grandma and I were speaking about a family event and she shared that some people got into an argument. Privately the parties tried to make their cases to her and she used that time to offer some wisdom she gleaned from 1 John 4:20. She asked them, “How can you love God who you haven’t seen but not your brother who you have seen?”
I felt stirred to write this after seeing the image posted above. I had seen this comic from Adam4d.com floating around in my social media spaces but finally looked at it this morning and was saddened. Not (just) because it says snarky things about theological liberals but because I see it as a caricature bore out of a space of not being in relationship with people who don’t share your values.
And that hurt.
Theological conservatives and those in the liberal/progressive camp are BOTH guilty of leaning into stereotypes to speak of the other and are seriously failing to actually see the imago dei – image of God – in their spiritual siblings. That is a fact that this comic highlights and that can be seen perusing the terrible place that is the internet comment section.
I look at this depiction and have to ask “Is this really how you think of me?” Then I look at the conservative-bashing that happens in some of my progressive spaces and wonder “How would this make them feel?”
Reflecting on these questions allows me to see that hurt is what emerges…we would all be hurt. And out of that pain, we could get angry, dissolve relationships and begin acting in a way where we begin relying on caricatures to speak of other. When we are in pain, our vision can get distorted and if we act in that place, we may perpetuate harm because we cannot see others clearly.
My dear brothers and sisters acting out of hurt and harming others is not the Way of Jesus. We need clear vision to see that despite differences in ideology and circumstances, we are invited into this incredible family where we all are seen EQUALLY as God’s beloved. We may have nothing in common with the people sitting across the table other than the fact that there was something about the love and grace we saw in Christ that was enough to make us want to follow him.
I think that Jesus was smart in using the imagery of the Body because of the inherent diversity present in that picture. The Brain cannot do what the foot does nor can the eyes function as heart but their unique constructions and function help the unit in which they are housed wholly live and experience life.
It’s with that in mind that I admonish you to consider the theological other, the one with whom you disagree in the Body and ask yourself what does it mean for you to stir them up to good works and love. What would it look like if you chose to meet together despite all that could easily keep you apart? How could you be an encouragement to them and establish space were you really see them instead of the distortion lazy caricatures make them out to be?