“We’re one, but we’re not the same….we get to carry each other.” Paul Hewsen
I’m surprised how often in matters concerning the faith, I get loving insight from “those” Christians. You know the ones, because if you are a Christian you know about “those” Christians. They are the ones who think salvation is assured or the ones who think assurance is hubris. Or they are the ones who think there may be a residual harm in a wholly forgiven sin that may necessitate a penance that comes from contrition or the ones who think penance, being a thing wholly different than contrition, is unnecessary. And the list of such head spinning theologically “important” matters goes on.
What is peculiar in these matters is the insights I receive rarely concern these big things. The insight I usually get is the knowledge that “those” Christians and Christians like me ultimately have the same answer for all those questions great and small.
I should be surprised such insight comes from “those” Christians because surprise is a lovely and loving thing and lovely and loving things do not happen because of “those.” Lovely and loving things only happen because of “us.” This is why the octave between the Feasts of St. Peter and St. Paul is such a beautiful time. It is because this is the week when we say there is no such thing as “those;” there is only an “us.”
For one week, Christians can ignore “us” and “them,” because this week points to the greatest reality, in fact the only reality…..there is no such thing as “them;” there is only “us.” And if there is only an “us,” then there are only lovely and loving words. They may occasionally be disagreeable words or we don’t see eye to eye words, but they are still loving ones.
I have heard their words and they have heard mine. We have argued and debated the matters. We have hung ourselves up on semantics and word order, tenets and doctrines. We have made it apparent we are not the same, but even more than this we arrive at the same answer to our questions and longings and in this it more apparent we are more one than we are not the same.
This should mean something for our evangelism. There is a world out there in search of an answer and it cares little for the specifics of things like assurance or penance. Every time this world hears our Christian specifics, it finds it has no need for these things that make arguments for why “those” believe this way and “those” over there believe that way. It is a world that does not need things that make some people “those,” and others a different kind of “those.” It is a world that needs just one answer….the one that makes all of an “us.”
This is why I find insight from “those” Christians, because really they have only the same answer as I even in those moments they know me to be one of “those” Christians. It is an answer that forever breaks the particular identities of “those” and creates an “us” and it is an answer for which the world hungers…..we are His and His name is the only answer. If we use this name we may not be the same, but we will get to carry one another by offering each other and all the world the same answer as we proclaim that answer to be the name of Christ.