grand canyonI have a theory regarding the ‘grand spiritual canyon’ that divides conservatives from liberals and fundamentalists from progressives. Since I write today for the church of tomorrow, I am compelled to understand this theological and social divide, especially as it manifests itself in North America, so that I can speak to people from the middle of the canyon (as much as is humanly possible).

The church of today and the church of tomorrow will forever consist of both realms of human thought. Conservatives conserve. Liberals liberate. That’s life! But change in both realms of thought must occur as we move into the church of tomorrow. Rather than widening the division, the church of tomorrow must ultimately narrow the division which will enable conservatives and liberals to work together in a joyful spirit rather than antagonistic tolerance.

We aren’t there yet . . .

Presently, as people engage in the activity of pushing, pulling, screaming and yelling, I see a deeper, more deliberate phenomenon going on. I see the movement of God’s Holy Spirit intentionally dividing people. Yes! Intentional division! If we understood the planned purpose for such division, it might just make this time of immense spiritual transition a bit more tolerable.

So, here’s my theory  . . .simple as it may be:

Since the job of a conservative is to conserve, preserve, and retain—the people who are hard-wired to think this way are being called by God to conserve, preserve, and retain the traditional teachings, practices, and rituals of the church of today. They are being called to stay put, defend, and resist any and all forms of change that might threaten to dismantle that which they hold dear.

Since the job of a liberal is to liberate, progress, and release—the people who are hard-wired to think this way are being called by God to abandon the work of the traditional church of today in order to prepare the soil and eventually build the church of tomorrow. They are being called to fling open the prison doors, free the hostages of traditional thinking, and move forward to create new foundations of understanding, and promote serious change.

Think about it. God can’t use conservatives to liberate any more than God could use liberals to conserve. We are hard-wired to think the way we think because we have different jobs to do! The present institutional model of the church must remain intact while the church of tomorrow finds herself, dresses herself in her new image, and becomes a viable, knowable entity that will not collapse when eventual mass migration takes place.

We aren’t there yet . . .

The full release of migrating souls, from one entity to another, cannot take place until the liberators progress to the point where the new church model actually exists in a viable, knowable way. God’s Spirit is calling upon thousands of souls to build the church of tomorrow but . . .

We aren’t there yet . . .

Hence, the division between left and right, conservative and liberal, fundamentalist and progressive is not an issue of who is right or who is wrong. Everyone has a job to do and they are doing it to the best of their ability. The underlying purpose for this slow, century-long division is to retain the old until the new is in full operational mode.

If people from both sides of the canyon understand that each has a God-ordained job to do, then both sides could cease taking aim at the other. The conservationists could stop demanding allegiance to traditional teachings and, “Let go and let God.” The liberators could stop bashing the institutional model and focus all of their attention on creating a future model that would be pleasing to God. They too must “Let go, and let God.”

Arguing over our respective tasks doesn’t help anyone. Every argument is rooted in right/wrong thinking which is a lose/lose proposition. “Letting go and letting God” perceives the possibility of both/and thinking which is a win/win proposition. But, alas, the possibility that people on both sides of the canyon could be exactly where God wants them to be, at this point in human history, requires spiritual maturity.

That’s my theory and I’m sticking to it! Oh, and I detest the labels I used in this blog! When we eventually rise above the canyon that divides us, we need to leave the labels on the rock bed.

Thoughts along the way,

Carol Wimmer

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Carol Wimmer is the author of the acclaimed poem When I say I am a Christian, and three books entitled: The Net—An Organizational Vision for the Church of Tomorrow; The Clock—A Timekeeping Tool for the Church of Tomorrow; and The Key—A Spiritual Language for the Church of Tomorrow