OPINION: Respect the flavors of churches

 

I really like Mountain Dew, and I mean like REALLY LIKE.  Nothing wraps up a hard day of studying and waiting tables like a nice can of Dew.  But of all the flavors, of all the different concoctions those geniuses at Pepsi gift to the public, there is one that will always hold the special place in my heart (and my stomach):  Baja Blast.  I have made many a midnight run to Taco Bell late at night just to grab 32 ounces of that sweet, heavenly elixir. That is not to say that I don’t enjoy the other Mountain Dew Flavors; Code Red, Dark Berry, Vault, Gamer-fuel, White Out, and of course the traditional.

Rich Nisly is a senior youth ministry major. (Photo by Kaitie Fox)

I go to a megachurch, I work with the junior high kids there, and I like it.  Now I’ve had plenty of people tell me how they agree or disagree with our beliefs at the megachurch.  And you know what, I’m fine with that most of the time.  People are allowed to tell me that they don’t like what we do over at my church, and people are allowed to tell me they don’t like Baja Blast.  Both of them are only flavors; Baja Blast stems out of Mountain Dew like my church stems out of the wider body of the Church.

Like I said earlier, I enjoy all the flavors of Mountain Dew, but Baja Blast is my personal favorite.  In the same sense I love all of the different flavors of the Church, but my church is my favorite; it’s where I feel called. I love going to a Greek Orthodox service and participating in the beautiful and truth filled sacraments, and I love talking with my Mennonite friends about social justice and service.  Different flavors, different tastes, but the same truth.

Dr. Moroney taught our theology class about how the Christian faith is made up of Dogma (unshakeable  tenants of the faith such as the Lordship of Jesus, and salvation through grace), doctrines (issues of faith which are important but are able to differ, the Calvinist vs. Armenian debate fits nicely into this category), and issues of opinion (differing worship styles for example).  I think the important thing for us to remember while approaching brothers and sisters of the faith who don’t attend our home churches is that we share the same dogmas; we all believe that Jesus Christ, Son of God, fully God and Man, is the one hope for salvation.

We differ in matters of doctrine, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing; the differences in doctrine and opinion can provoke different flavors for us to enjoy in the church, instead of ammunition for the 21st century Holy Wars. If we view brothers and sisters from different denominations as inferior, lesser, or heretical, we are not helping build the unity and love that we are called to live and strive for. And if we cannot accept and value the different flavors, and differences that appear in the church, how will we be able reach out to those outside the church, whose beliefs and values differ even more?

I’m not writing this article with specific people in mind. I actually have never felt like my opinions have been disregarded because I go to a megachurch. In fact, I feel like my opinions are appreciated.  However, I felt like it’s an important point to make.

So what’s your flavor?

Rich Nisly is a senior youth ministry major.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Luke Morris says:

    I personally like the original Dew. I’m glad that you wrote this though and got it out there. Not enough people are coming into this way of thinking. Jesus is who he said he is. If we believe that then who cares how big or small your church is, what kind of music you play, or whether or not you recite the Lord’s Prayer? Amen brother.

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  2. Angela Mahoney says:

    Well written, Rich; this is an excellent take on differing denominations and practices. I appreciate the general positive approach you’ve brought to the table… being an over-analytical person, I found this really refreshing. Thank you for your perspective!

    Speaking of being over-analytical, my question to you is this: what about when a church is not representing the same Truth? What if a church has blurred a line with Dogma and is asserting an ever so slightly different kind of truth? Is it still just a different flavor or, if it’s harmful, do we have a responsibility to critique it? (Not thinking of any churches in particular, just hypothetical!)

    Also, I’m an original-Dew-from-the-fountain kind of girl, but Voltage is growing on me!

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  3. Rich Nisly says:

    Angela! Sorry this is a long time coming, great question though. I guess you just need to pick your battles. Are you posting the 95 thesis or fighting over two opinions that are both backed in scripture. I think we need to take note on if it is permissible through scripture for them to form their opinion, even if its not one we agree with. I always like to think back to a phrase a heard from a very wise man; “Rich, everyone is heretical”, I don’t think their is one person, pastor, or denomination that has a full understanding of scripture, so why fight and stress over opinion.

    Hope this makes sense, and accurately explains my opinion.

    P.S. Its been a Dark Berry kind of week.

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  4. Richard Lembke says:

    Rich, this is the best article written yet! I agree 100% with you. I myself go to what is called the counter mega-church/polar opposite of yours out on Whipple, and we don’t get that kind of variety like we should unfortunately. I’ve visited your church on several occasions on Saturday nights and really appreciate the way in which they put aside certain issues that just do not belong. Anyways, thanks for your letter. Much appreciated!

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