This is a tough post. I want to express something that is still forming in my mind and, well, I may be premature, but thought I'd put it out there for some reaction anyway.
What if God wasn't that worried about all our doctrines. I mean really, its not a problem. And I mean things like our current hot topics, healing, universalism, penal substitution, you know all the things that we get so hot under the collar about that completely destroy relationships.
What if we could take a step back from endless eschatology, hermeneutics, exegesis, blah, blah, and find the lowest (or highest) common denominator and just sit there for a while, a long while, and let it become the centrality of all we are, perceive and do.
The problem is of course determining what that commonality is. I think we would all agree its love. But then straight away we have to define love. Well, what if we could take a step back from that as well. I mean, Jesus reckoned we had to be like kids to understand all this. Kids understand love. You don't have to explain it too them. It doesn't need scriptural support or interpretation or theology degrees. Every heart knows what love is, even if they don't give it or receive it themselves.
Yes, this is very simplistic but hang in there. As we grow in our own love relationship with God we can see everyone else on the journey, and know that just as God has taken us to where we are, he will take everyone on their own unique journey. That will give us a freedom to interact with any person at the place they are at on their journey. We don't look down or up to them, or think they are better or worse, or deceived, or holy, or a heretic. Perhaps the only thing we can do is to challenge each other to not stop, to keep asking questions, to be willing to change our minds and keep growing, even if it looks hard!
We should be able to walk with a traditional anglican or catholic just as easily as a baptist or pentecostal, universalist or even someone from another religion, new ager or atheist, and respect the sincerity of their hearts. We should be able to listen to them, hear the underlying questions, the way they are expressed and the way they try to meet their "heart needs".
Then we can begin to feel God's heart for them, but not in a patronising way, but as an equal, a fellow traveler who knows that God is working in and through all things. We are then free to encourage each other to truly seek God's heart of love, to lift each other above our self made confines.
I guess I feel that at some point we can find open hearts, no matter where and under whatever circumstances, and have a relationship with those people at the "level" they are at without condemning or patronising, only a pure desire to help them on their journey to discover the depth of Love Himself, whatever that journey might look like.