23 October 2015

Reading: Ephesians 2; Psalm 96


11 Don’t forget that you Gentiles used to be outsiders. You were called “uncircumcised heathens” by the Jews, who were proud of their circumcision, even though it affected only their bodies and not their hearts… 19 So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family. 20 Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. 21 We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord. (Ephesians 2:11, 19–21 (NLT)

How did Christianity come to be so much about who’s in and who’s out? How did we come to consider ourselves “Insiders” and anyone who believes or behaves in the slightest way differently from us “Outsiders?”

Paul wrote to Christians who were circumcised and to Christians who were uncircumcised. Paul wrote to Christians who kept the Sabbath and to Christians who worshipped on the first day of the week. Paul wrote to Christians who ate meat and to Christians who didn’t eat meat. And they were all part of the church, members of the Body of Christ, and part of God’s family. They were all insiders!

There are more than 200 distinct Christian denominational organizations in the US alone. Most denominations exist as distinctive groups because of differences in doctrine, practice, or power structure. And I guess I’m not really too bothered by the great variety of groupings because, as we know, “birds of a feather flock together!”

What does concern me is when we consider others whose doctrine or practice differs slightly from ours “outsiders” to our “insider status.” I suppose that from someone’s viewpoint, I’m an “outsider!”


Father, Thank you for accepting me, once an Outsider, into your family and allowing me the wonderful privilege of being an Insider! Help me to embrace the great variety of backgrounds and doctrines and practices you have included in the vibrant, living Body of Christ through the centuries and around the world. I am determined to do better about respecting and appreciating others who see things from a different viewpoint. Please let me see more and more clearly from your viewpoint. I think there are more Insiders and fewer Outsiders than we know! Amen!


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