Well, now that I’ve discussed it with my family and best friend, I suppose I can tell all of you that I made a decision… I’m going to be back at Regent for the next two years, doing a Master of Christian Studies degree. It was a hard decision to make, mostly because I still miss home so much. I don’t know exactly where this will lead, I'm kind of taking it one step at a time. But I’ve been looking at different career ideas to do with the environment, theology, philosophy and science, and I haven’t ruled out being a pastor. The nice thing is that Regent keeps all of these options open for me, and actually helps me toward any and all of them. Mostly I just have this insatiable desire to learn. Don’t worry, though, I’ll be home this summer. Thank you to all of you who were praying for direction for me. (Don't stop).
Partly thanks to Christine’s creative encouragement, I’ve been taking a lot more pictures lately. I wanted to share some with you. I took these ones yesterday, when it was so windy down a the beach that I thought I was back on the prairies. But the prairies don’t get waves like this. Except maybe across the wheat fields.
These next ones require a story. I was walking to the bus stop, looking at the ground, and I noticed a bunch of pink rose petals littering the ground, all over. I said to myself, “Wow, something really romantic must have happened here last night. These Vancouverians must celebrate Valentine's Day a little early.”
Then for some reason I looked up, and I saw there was a rose tree in full bloom (tilt head to see tree). Not just a bush, but a tree. Ha. So much for my romantic musings. I guess these are the kind of things you have to grow to expect in Vancouver in February.
Switching topics completely...Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about something we’re talking about in my Christian Thought and Culture class: Christian unity. It’s a topic that comes up a lot in a transdenominational school. I realized that my concept of Christian unity is really based on my conflict avoidance, and my own ignorance. You see, I’ve never really investigated issues of doctrine. When I was looking for a church here in Vancouver, I mostly made my judgments by looking at style of worship and how “at home” I felt. I think this is how most people evaluate churches today. I didn’t question denominational beliefs, assuming that if I’m in the general Protestant category, it’s all good - we all believe in Jesus, right? But to tell you the truth, I have only a vague idea of what Anglicans believe, and I go to an Anglican church in the evening. Heck, I don’t even know what makes Baptists distinct, and I’ve been one my whole life.
One of my profs said that the continuing disunity in Christianity is sinful. I had never equated it with sin before. It got me thinking about what really divides us. I mean, maybe I feel united to my brothers and sisters in different denominations in some sort of mystical, inner, invisible church sense, but the fact remains that in the world’s eyes, we’re separate. I keep wanting to compare it to politics, which is weird, because I usually hate politics. But I was remembering the whole “unite the right” thing, when the Canadian Alliance and PC parties (who had similar, but not identical platforms) united to become the party now leading our country. I’ve been wondering… would it ever be possible in the Christian church for two denominations to unite? Is there a lofty mission that could cause us, like the right-wing political parties, to look past our differences and join together for greater unity and effectiveness? Like, say, announcing the Kingdom of God? Would this make a difference to the world?
But maybe our differences are too great to overlook. I’m not entirely sure. At any rate, I’m going to look into it. I’m going to start by reading a book about Baptists. I’m going to learn who I am and what separates or distinguishes my beliefs from those of other Christians. As I do, the words of Jesus’ prayer will ring in my ears: “I pray that they will all be one, Father, just as you and I are one – as you are in me, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me… May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me…” (John 17:21-23).
I would love to hear some of your comments on this. Don’t be shy. Am I dreaming? How do you see it?