Sometimes I imagine Christianity to be a big city. It can be divided into many different parts: old, new, wealthy, poor, extravagant, plain, unique, cookie-cutter, uptown, downtown, tall, short, wide, narrow, etc.
There are Christians that are just so used to their part of town, that they can’t imagine anything else. So for the Christians who live, breathe, work, and exist in the best parts of Christianity give off the impression that everything’s perfect. But the Christians who are in the worst parts of Christianity can sometimes feel like it’s better to leave than to exist in a situation where day and day out you can’t win.
What has really been bothering me lately is the ‘narrowness’ of it all. Sure, ‘the straight and narrow’ is the gate we’re supposed to find – but it’s terribly difficult to define in day to day terms.
Let’s say I asked you to find a book – that means that if you find anything that isn’t a book it is something I didn’t want. Then let’s say I narrowed it down to a wide book. So I don’t want any thin books. Then I narrowed it down to a tall book. So I don’t want any short books. Then I narrowed it down to textbook, in a foreign language, a made-up language. etc.
The more and more I ask, the less likely you are to find that specific thing that I want. I sometimes feel that Christianity has done the same thing with people in general. Starting with believers, then it has to be the right kind of believer – orthodox or conservative. Then they have to have the right kind of interpretation. And the right kind of lifestyle – there are more and more regulations about what a true believer is all the time.
I’m afraid that if we’re not careful – we will narrow down the qualifications so much so that there’s not even room for one person – let alone all of us imperfect believers. I’m also concerned that we’re so divided that we tend not to think about other Christians that are not like us. If we are right, then by definition, everybody that is not right is wrong.