Unity and Division

I’m often surprised to hear things said such as this: We should learn to be more tolerant of the diversity we have among us.

Now, on it’s face, it looks like this is a good statement. After all, there is a lot of diversity in the LCMS. But for some reason I don’t thing that’s what they mean when they say we need to be more tolerant. I think what they are saying is, “we feel threatened when you talk to us about churchly matters”. Which, to be honest, is a valid thing to say. Now don’t get me wrong when I say this. It’s hard sometimes when you’re talking to someone about things such as Divine Worship, styles of music, and things of that nature who obviously knows some things about it that you don’t. That is not me saying there’s a lot of stupid people out there. No, not at all. But there is a tendency amongst people who call themselves “confessional” to be a little bit smug about themselves because they’ve read all the latest literature about why we shouldn’t be adopting modern worship styles and instrumentation. Face facts here. Confessionals are sometimes rabid about the subject.

However, there is something more disturbing about the statement about being more tolerant of diversity among us. It smacks of something reprehensible. There’s a way in which it’s a bit over the top, suggesting not so good intentions on the part of those deemed “intolerant”. If, for instance, someone says that it’s an act of Satan to divide us over matters like these, isn’t that just a bit over the top? Doesn’t it suggest that those who are “intolerant” are seeking to divide us? And by definition in league with Satan?

See, there’s a way in which even those who want unity at all costs are making trouble for everyone. I guess what I’m asking is this: When are we all going to own up to our intolerance? Why can’t I speak up that I think it would be better is we observed the Divine Service rather than make up some loose set of rules of worship and not get called intolerant? I’m a bit of musicologist, so I know something about ancient worship practices and music from the second temple era that would surprise most people on both sides of the isle… yet in the current climate I get pegged as intolerant because I’m either not “missional” enough or “confessional” enough.

It’s been an eye opener here at the convention so far. Keep in mind, the blog posts I’m putting up right now are mainly train of thought stuff… call it me debriefing and decompressing at the end of the day.

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