Christianity in our family – from uniformity, to diversity - and towards unity. 

As I was growing up, my family, my circle, were all very much a part of the same Christian understanding, all belonging to the same Christian denominational organization. Ecumenical thought, to consider and respect those who held different perspectives on the details of living a life in Christ, seemed, subconsciously at least, unnecessary or even dangerous – and something I could afford to easily ignore. Any "theological" (God-oriented) discussions or debate as I was growing up, was always within a very narrow range of acceptable parameters.

Now in my later years, with many grandchildren of my own, I no longer have the luxury of ignoring  broader ecumenical thought. Rather than a single united Christian understanding and group identity, my family, my circle now is truly diversified. Within our circle you find nondenominational protestant-leaning Christianity, Baptist denominational Christianity, Seventh-Day Adventism, Catholic Christian heritage, and Orthodox Christianity (and perhaps others I am not as specifically aware of!).

There was a time that this diversity would've been alarming, perhaps even terrifying on some level. But over time and through a process wth God, I have been invited to embrace this diversity, learning to appreciate the unique contributions of these various streams of Christian thought, belief and practice. This is not to say that there aren't real differences of theological understanding between the various streams of Christian thought, and that these differences are not important – many are. But even more important then our differences, is our unity. I've come to understand that within our diversity, even with our differences, there is a profound unity – in the goodness of God, in the centrality of our faith in and dependence on Jesus Christ. My family, my circle is literally a microcosm of the universal Church of Jesus Christ, His church, His bride that  knows no national or cultural boundaries. In all honesty, uniformity is often easier than real relational unity that allows for and embraces the rough and tumble of diversity – but at the cost of richness and fullness.

Our family's ecumenical microcosm was not something that was planned, not something even asked for – but it's what God allowed, or more likely purposefully gave to us. Religious prejudice is a lot harder to hang onto when your family, your circle has so much rich Christian diversity, and I am now more easily able to choose to be grateful for the richness, the true unity - in Christ - we gain from it.

"His ways are not my ways" (Isaiah 55:8) – praise God!

Blessings always,
Ricky

What Fox News Says About Ricky Lee Jackson:

"He’s the new Joe the Plumber; now there's Rick the Doctor...
Some have joined Tea Parties, stormed town halls, others like family practice physician and country recording artist Ricky Lee Jackson have taken to the microphone... 
he wants his country back." 
~ Fox and Friends / Fox News
 

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