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Saturday, May 4, 2013

Finding Common Ground

"Because there arose no little dissension and debate by Paul and Barnabas with them, it was decided that Paul, Barnabas, and some of the others should go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders about this question." Acts 15:2

There will always be disputes and differences in the Christian community, some of them seriously debilitating to the life of the church. In the United States today there are more than a few. How to be authentically prolife, how to work together for a just economy; how to foster a full and active celebration of the Sacraments are just a few of the hot button topics that can cause a stir in any parish.
None of these issues needs to overwhelm any community of faith as long as believers are willing, like the earliest Christian community, to sit down in the same room and listen. Opening ourselves to the understanding and insight others have is always important for the life of a community. Only when we find ourselves fighting for what we believe is the only path to an authentic Gospel life will we lose perspective and respect for those with whom we differ.

The ability to articulate a particular position clearly and passionately can never be the ultimate test in community life. Only the common commitment to discern how best to live the Gospel will allow the Holy Spirit to act and  a community to live the Gospel authentically.

Today, enter any dispute as a listener first.

What most upsets you about debates in the church?

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