Posted by: brittany marie | September 11, 2008

same old dance and song

I have returned to the campus of the University of North Florida. I am enjoying each moment, whether relaxed or stressed. The very fact that I am back among people and maintaining some sort of purpose is really uplifting. The classes I am attending are going well…even the upper level Spanish classes I am taking. I understand my teachers and while I am not acing every assignment, I am not failing them either.

 

The time outside of class has proven the most interesting though. I was able to see the partnership of two campus ministries and in the beginning it appeared fine…not even that. It appeared amazing. The groups merged well and new friends were found. I found refreshment and acceptance as well, from people I began to consider siblings in our faith. For about a week I was convinced that the anomaly of the Acts church was quite possible on our small campus.

 

However, time progresses and the true nature of each person are eventually revealed. It is not that I am looking for perfection. That is an unreal and naïve hope. But I am looking for the “fruit of the spirit.” That is usually a pretty good signal of a community’s health and walk with the Lord. I am also looking for grace and for peace. I am not finding them. In small ways, discord has already risen among a few.

 

Perhaps it comes from the different visions of the groups. One is consumed by a call to prayer, the other by the need for the knowledge of the Word among students and a need for discipleship. These do not oppose, they merely take different paths to a similar goal. The kingdom of heaven on earth.

 

The problems could also be the narrow minded view of certain leaders. They have been called to prayer and they interpret a private call publicly, placing pressure on others to join them is this, “the best way.” I can deal with conflict. The community I am apart of is no stranger to it. But recently, another issue emerged and I am not sure where I stand.

 

I was recently informed that prayer is neutral ground. This was by the leader of the partner group. I am still not sure how to respond to this. The statement implies we are at war as ministries…that we lack any other common ground. That there has to be an “us” and “them.”

 

What about unity as ONE body, with ONE spirit, ONE God…what about the pursuits of God’s heart: forgiveness, people, justice, right living, peace, compassion, reconciliation…the imitation of Christ? I know these are pursued in differing manners, but that is no cause for division, rather a call to discourse, understanding, and humility.

 

This very idea of neutral ground and the demand to choose a side is causing frustration for new students who have found community among both groups. I am not sure what to do. Do I confront the leader and his ideology…with grace and peace? Do I remain quiet? Do I wait? What course of action will result in mutual respect, brotherly love, and a unified vision of the Kingdom of Heaven brought to earth?

 

This would be a downside of youth…the lack of experience and wisdom that is too often suffered.

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