An early motto in our hymnal says: “In essentials unity; In non-essentials, liberty; In all things, charity.” Such a spirit allows us to be more honest about our disagreements and yet be “one in the Spirit” as we attempt to follow our Lord together. It opens the possibility that our differences of opinion can be “lovers’ quarrels,” differences within the circle of love – not only because of our love for each other, but, more importantly, because of God’s unconditional, inclusive love for each and all.
From the beginning of our nation’s history, honest differences of opinion have also been characteristic of our patriotism. In his book “Credo,” Sloane Coffin says, “There are three kinds of patriots, two bad, one good. The bad ones are the uncritical lovers and the loveless critics. Good patriots carry on a lover’s quarrel with each other and with their country, a reflection of God’s lover’s quarrel with all the world.”
Lord, remind us that if our quarrels turn us into enemies, we will be in grave danger of destroying that which we all love. Amen.
John Paul Carter’s “Notes From the Journey” is a regular feature of Viewpoints.