I love the movie “Rudy.” I have since I was in high school. If I were to pinpoint why, I suppose it’s because it’s a real story of a guy being told “no” over and over again, by life, by family, by institutions, and yet, by faith, overcoming. In one scene, Rudy, frustrated at his rejections in getting in to Notre Dame, speaks to Father Cavanaugh, a local priest on this very thing, asking if he’s prayed enough, or if he (Father Cavanaugh) could help him. The priest’s response is awesome; he said “Son, in 35 years of religious studies, I’ve come up with only two incontrovertible facts: there is a God, and I’m not Him.” That strikes me as such solid truth that we all can learn from that.
Christianity is so divided. We’re divided over silly things, nuances that don’t affect eternity. The only source of Salvation is Jesus Christ, but we want to make it about styles of worship service, words we disagree on, creeds and doctrines, methods of study, methods of belief, and everything and anything apart from Jesus Christ and the Scriptures. Sure, we use scriptures to support our positions, but we use them to browbeat people in to our way of thinking: in other words, we play God, using our traditions and schools of thought, as opposed to the Gospel and Scripture to dictate who gets in to heaven and who does not. Even with the Scriptures, though, there’s only One who sits on that judgement seat, and, news flash, you’re not Him and neither am I. There is only One God, One Perfect, One Judge, One standard, and every other one needs to bend knee to Him or be swept away.
We all get some things right, we all get some things wrong, but how we strive toward the perfect isn’t a man-made methodology, tradition, or stigma, it’s by the blood of Jesus Christ, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and the renewing of our minds by the Holy Scriptures. We are conformed in to the Father’s image as we surrender to the will of Jesus Christ, and we learn of that will as the Holy Spirit teaches us while we search Him out in prayer and in the reading of the Scriptures. We need to stop acting as if we’re the only ones who get it right, and be the Church that Christ through the Scriptures calls us to be.
I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
1 Corinthians 1:10-31
I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers. What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one may say that you were baptized in my name. (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.) For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written,
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”
Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
Picture source: Rough Cut Men (https://roughcutmen.org/)