Shane Claiborne said that if, as Christians, we are not loving, we are not right. And at times misguided forms of Christianity are, candidly, not loving. And in that sense, not right.
Many of us have experienced those less-than-loving forms of Christianity. Two personal examples…
A first time visitor to NCL a few months back cornered me to offer her caustic comment that we, at NCL, must mistakenly believe that “Even Jews can be saved.” And last week I was disinvited from a preaching engagement because our focus at NCL was too much on works of service versus proclamations of faith.
I believe those types of fundamentalist positions cast a dark shadow over Christianity as a whole, making it a “club” for a certain select few versus a compassionate, generous message of transformation for the many.
How does Christian New Church theology, as captured by Emanuel Swedenborg, hold all this? The message is beautiful!
1. God grants to all cultures a faith system adapted to their particular needs
2. All faiths can lead to heaven. It is a matter of doing our level best according to the God of our understanding
3. Variety is perfection. That variety is actually the source of perfection in heaven.
So our role with other faiths? Respect and learn.
And above all be loving. A Christianity that cares. Because if we are not loving, we can never be right.