Most Christians seek God the same way they “found” God. There’s nothing particularly wrong with it, nothing unnatural about it, in fact it makes a good deal of sense. But if we want more of God, to know the dimensions of Him that we didn’t encounter at first, we’ve got to start being kind to each other.
Here’s a Story:
Two brothers “find” God… or really, God finds two brothers. One’s name is Thinker, and God captivates him with a conversation of reason, or something like that. The other’s name is Feeler, and God captivates him with a supernatural encounter, or something like that.
Pause here: This is fantastic news, right?! God is saving all kinds of different people! Okay, resume.
Naturally the two brothers begin to pursue God through the same means God used to illuminate their hard hearts in the first place. Thinker keeps thinking about God, and Feeler keeps feeling for God. And both of them are growing.
The two start surrounding themselves with like-believers. Thinker seeks God at a thinking-church and by going to thinking-meetings. Feeler seeks God at a feeling-church and by going to feeling-meetings. Both are becoming “strong” Christian men. One is a strong thinking believer, and the other is a strong feeling believer. Thinker is a ravenous book-reader and Feeler is a ravenous prayer-warrior. Thinker thinks Feeler should read with more veracity and exercise his mind, and Feeler feels Thinker should pray with more authority more and exercise his heart.
Over time the chasm grows between the two brothers and now they look so different that they assume the other is doing something wrong. Bitterness stirs. Each becomes so offended that he starts questioning his brother’s salvation. "Perhaps," they say, "we're not even brothers at all." Thinker thinks Feeler is an irreverent gift-worshiper and Feeler feels Thinker is a sad book-worshipper.
It’s lame. It’s stupid. But it’s common.
For Thinker it was Gospel-wine in a Rational-wineskin. For Feeler it was Gospel-wine in an Experiential-wineskin. But instead of continuing to drink good Gospel-wine, they gnaw on their Gospel-flavored wineskin until all that’s left is a lot of opinions and a mess of emotion.
One's got a shriveled heart like the Grinch. One's got a shriveled head like the blonde in Clueless. And this is a problem because the GREATEST COMMAND (according to Jesus) is the veracious engagement of our WHOLE being: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your Heart, Soul, Mind, and Strength.”
They have no idea how badly they actually need each other.
How does the Thinker begin to cultivate a heart saturated with the emotions that his knowledge of the Gospel should be compelling? And how does the Feeler begin to cultivate a mind saturated with the knowledge of the Gospel that so stirs his emotions? The answer, of course, is “Together."
How did YOU “find” Jesus? Has your walk with God maintained that flavor? Do you try to help others find Jesus the same way you did? I hope so! But perhaps it’s time to walk toward the parts of God you know exist but have been uncomfortable approaching. You’ll need some brothers and sisters who are a little different than you. Maybe even a little weird.
Divisions in the Church happen when you only love and listen to part of your spiritual family.
Not only do I need brothers and sisters to point me to deeper unplumbed caverns of God’s nature, but I need brothers and sisters to give me what I really need… not another book, not another encounter, but the Gospel. To pour out Gospel from their varied wineskins into my soul. To show me the Jesus of the Bible through many lenses, cultures, and testimonies until I'm completely captivated with the splendor of it all.
It's the atoning death of one Son and the call of One Spirit in the face of many circumstances that wakes the dead to One Lord.
For Paul, a blinding light and a vision that rattled his soul. For the Eunuch, a Bible study on the long road back to Ethiopia. For some, Paul’s rational arguments in the synagogue. And still for others, the inebriation of their senses and a distinct outpouring of gifts and wonders at Pentecost.
In each of these. One Gospel. One Spirit. One Call.
So rather than demonize each other, perhaps we can marvel together at the kindness of a God that meets us where we’re at. And from time to time maybe we can take off our Spiritual Predispositions, our crusty wineskins, and hear the Gospel afresh from one another.