comparisons are odious

In at least one of the Austin Family books (I don’t remember off hand which one–maybe all of them), Madeleine L’Engle has Vicky remind us often that “comparisons are odious,” yet that is how we think.

I whined awhile back about the PC(USA) website displaying on their welcome page the quote about “we don’t check our heads at the door.” I took it as a slam against Evangelicals (because that’s my personal sphere of comparison), but was told that the context was not that (Here’s the old post, see #3 and the comments that follow). It still bothered me and I sent in an email and eventually received a nice reply that they stood by the quote, but had changed its prominence. Since, they have been cycling through videos and quotes. So this is the new one:

from PCUSA.org accessed 1/12/11

That’s fine. I’m not overly bothered. These are quotes I think mostly from laypeople and this is how we think. We think in comparisons. And watching the video of a young man speaking about his church, I think the idea is that the church is focused “more on God…” than on other things–not “more on God” than the church down the street, though he does not actually finish the comparison. It’s a fine video that shows what’s good about the Presbyterian church. This issue of comparisons is my own.

Like everyone else, I’m thinking about language right now, but mostly I’m thinking about my own. I’m the one who compares everything in my head to what I knew before. For my personality, my style, my understanding of God, scripture, and the world, our Presbyterian church is such a good fit, that I can’t help comparing it to what I knew before. And that’s just not helpful. Why can’t I like what I’ve found without slamming what came before? Yes–there were issues I think are important to bring up, but all churches have issues. There was also much love there, and I was allowed to grow and learn and become. And all of that has prepared me for what I enter next.

I have been listening to Songs of Taizé and a few weeks ago, I just let myself hear “There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism. There is one Lord who is God above all” (There is One Lord–couldn’t find it on the video sharing site) Or, as it reads in Ephesians 4:4-6: There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all (NRSV). We’re all on the same side. We all want the same thing. The people I know who are in other churches are not spouting hate; they’re showing love. One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism.

So I’m going to try to stop comparing and just appreciate what God has brought me to that works for me and also for Computerguy and that’s a God thing.

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3 Responses to comparisons are odious

  1. Terri says:

    We live in a culture that tends to compare and polarize and divide – so it comes natural to us to do this…which means it requires intentionality to NOT do it and seek a place of grace and contentment with what is and has been. So, here’s to you seeking intentional contentment.

  2. And as you briefly mentioned, love is so important. We can compare, we can regret, we can like what we have now, we can, we can, we can….but without LOVE we are nothing.

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