In 1973 our family first stepped in to a church service of the Worldwide Church of God in the Senior Citizens Hall in Modesto, California. During the more than 25 years we were members of that church, almost every time there was even a minor change in the strict, fundamentalist doctrines, there also seemed to be a split-off group, each purporting to leave in order to “keep the faith once delivered.” Some of these splits were quite rancorous, at least at the higher levels.
But down at the level that counts, every time one of that original group of Modesto church members has a tragedy, all differences of philosophy and doctrine are forgotten and literally hundreds will show up to comfort the bereaved family. This was true in both cases when our two oldest children passed away within four years of each other in recent years.
This past Friday was no exception. The occasion was the passing of the wife and mother of a family of dear friends in nearby Jamestown, in the Gold Country of Northern California. The family now associates with one of those derivative churches which has only 30 or 40 members. The old Modesto Worldwide Church of God grapevine is still intact: hundreds showed up to hear a eulogy delivered in a pretty but rustic cemetery precipitously clinging to a scrabble-strewn hill outside of Jamestown. Present were people who were members of the numerous splinter groups along with people who were now un-churched or even agnostic; but, as always, the event turned into a feast of love directed not only at the grieving family but at each other as the knots in the old fishing net were refreshed with care that is beyond and superior to doctrines and philosophies.
2 thoughts on “Rhetoric | Love Beyond Doctrines and Philosophies”
I believe all humanity was created to be social. To celebrate, to grieve, to comfort, and to help one another. The only challenge about holding onto “love” in the manner you describe, that I, myself held for many years, is not understanding the balance between belief in a Creator, engagement in the moral OT/NT teachings embodied by Christ, and one-another relationships of people striving toward the same Truth.
I think that people all follow a doctrine or a philosophy, but is that human or universal; A lit match and a galaxy exhibit flame, heat and light, but differ in magnitude. In times of peril or anguish, human beings draw to one another. But I think the splintering due to anything other than a leader or a fellowship engaged in unrepentant sin hinders Spiritual Love. 1 Corinthians 1:10 – 13 is God calling us to be united in mind.
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Thank you for your comment, Eric. You sound well grounded in your faith. I respect the Bible, OT & NT as ancient wisdom but, as an agnostic (meaning “I don’t know”), I try to stay away from commenting on views based upon interpretation of scripture, since so many have varying interpretations of the same text. I wish more liberal academics appreciated the wisdom in the Bible. I’ve written several essays about that. I’m now working on one called “The Case for a Historical Jesus.” His teachings, again, are totally rejected by academics simply because they come out of the Bible. Stay tuned, I’ll be posting that essay in a few days, and I heartily encourage your comments. I have approved your current comment unedited and will do the same on any future ones. Shalom. 🙂
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