We do like to define things and have everything all figured out, don’t we?
If I label myself a Christian-homeschooling-stay-at-home-mom-of-six, that gives you a pretty good idea of who you think I am, doesn’t it? Or does it? Do you really know who I am, or do you just have a pre-supposition of who I am based on the labels I’ve given to you or that have been put on me by others?
I’ve always kind of approached labels with caution. Like the ingredients on the outside of a bottle of this or a box of that, until one really digs in and gets past the packaging, one really can’t get a feeling for the nuances of flavor and texture and character and color of what’s inside. That takes digging. It takes time. It takes effort.
Add to labels the insulation of anonymity that the internet provides, and one needs to add a healthy dose of discernment to one’s evaluation of labels, whether they be self-imposed or imposed by others.
I’ve been asked what my denomination is on occasion. I don’t have one. No quick label there, sorry =o). Just a plain old Bible-believing follower of Christ. I’ve been blissfully ignorant of many of the micro-labels within Christendom today until lately. Wow. I had no idea that people had such far-reaching and differing opinions on what they perceive Scripture to say. Sure, I have had a good grasp of the major streams of thought/denominations/religions/cults, but sheesh! If all those weren’t enough, there are bunches of sub-divisions and divisions within those sub-divisions. I’m pretty observant by nature, so it really has taken me a bit by surprise that I’ve been so taken by surprise =o).
Back to labels. When my husband and I relocated from a far-away town, we needed to find a new church. We visited several churches, any of which would have been fine places to worship. We often drove past a small plaza, and on the vertical sign by the road listing the tenants in the plaza was a sign that read “Worship Christ”, and in the corner of the plaza (which is shaped like an “L”) there was a sign reading “CHURCH”. Those labels intrigued us every time we drove by. We decided to stop and look at the posted times of worship were so we could go and visit one Sunday. In this case, the “Worship Christ” label fit really well. It has been our church home for over 12 years now, and the church has grown and built a modest church building on some land.
What a blessing it is to be in a healthy, functional, body of believers. It is not a perfect place, but the Law of Love is practiced there, and the leadership is mature and accountable, submitting to each other. There are no power plays there, just willing hearts to Biblically mature the Body and grow the Kingdom as God leads and confirms.
The example set by leadership carries over into the local Body. Though there are different backgrounds and experiences (and baggage) that people bring as they come to fellowship, we are there to worship God, bathe in the Word and fellowship with one another. And the Law of Love does reign there. Love the Lord your God and Love your neighbor as yourself.
Worship Christ. Church. Good labels.