I hope this title has instantly conjured up a vivid image in your mind, because if I had chosen the title of a fundamentalist and a liberal at the same table, that would have been too easy.
What I want to depict here is the question of whether these two kinds of people, as widely separated as they are today, could ever be so dedicated to each of their respective Christian faiths as to actually live together in harmony. The evidence proves the contrary, but that is what this article is about – can Jesus’ admonition to love each other possibly encompass these two extremes of Christianity?
The quick easy answer is yes – in rare cases. The tough answer is let’s actually try – and find out.
Human history, probably beginning with the first grunt, has been colored with the divisiveness between the us’s and them’s – between blacks and whites, Democrats and Republicans, liberals and fundamentalists, Asians and Westerners, male and female, youth and aged, North and South, gays and straights, believers and non-believers. We could just sit back and let this go on, as it has for centuries – in some kind of state of equilibrium. So why rock the boat now?
The reason is – we’re about to wipe each other out – not only by nuclear weaponry, but by far less dramatic ways, more insidious ways like the slow invasive divisions of wealth, by the steadily building stress toll this competition places upon our mental. emotional and physicals states, by the destruction of personal integrity due to too many failures in finding truly good friends.
Let me introduce another factor into this discussion. Quite often, as people gradually grow up, they move beyond many of these deep separations. Combat vets in WW II, Vietnam and on – actually find themselves making friends with their former death-struggle enemies. It is somehow fulfilling to do so. They discover there is something deeper between people than the divisions that once separated them. So if this is true in old age, why can’t it be true at a younger age?
This is why I am bringing this issue up – what is it we can do to foster a better understanding between people now? In this area I have begun to speak about , that of liberal and fundamental Christians, what can be done to bring these two groups in more loving, understanding relationship with each other? After all, it is the same Jesus we are attempting to emulate.