“If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. If you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”
I have zero desire left in me to tell a stranger about Jesus or defend my faith as I was taught in university. I don’t feel guilty anymore for not sneaking God’s business card into every interaction I have with people. I was never good at that anyways.
Furthermore, I’m not sure calling myself a Christian or needing to know that fact about someone else is even helpful anymore.
Is it necessary to make the distinction between Christian and non-Christian, saved or unsaved, believer or unbeliever?
Yet, I do it all the time with everyone from family members to neighbors to politicians. I want to know where they stand on the salvation spectrum. How close are they to God?
But what would it mean for us to practice receiving people as friends, as fellow humans, first and foremost?
I understand, distinctions and categories serve a small purpose, allowing us to make sense of this messy world. But mostly, they only perpetuate division and pride, maintaining our us versus them mentalities.
There’s a phrase I learned from Richard Rohr this year. In his kind and gentle, seventy-something-year-old voice he loves to say, “We’re all in this damn thing together.”
Sadly, for most of my entire adult life I’ve unknowingly been promoting separation theology. Basically, it goes like this: God is over there, and you (and I) are over here. There is a chasm between you and the Divine. In order to bridge the gap, we must recite the sinner’s prayer and surrender our lives to Jesus, preferably at an altar in my church.
If you do this, you make it to the other side- where the believers, Christians, and saved people live.
If you don’t do this, well, then, you’re out.
And perhaps forever.
Often, without even knowing it, we strip people of their innate goodness. We steal their true identity right out from under them. Every human being is not only created by God, but also His child. If we fail to recognize both, our conversations and actions will always be tainted with an awkward agenda.
What if the Good News isn’t about salvation, but about learning to stand in solidarity with each other?
This is where it all starts to unravel for me.