"All things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future - all are yours, and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God." - 1 Corinthians 3:21-23 (NIV)
Our world is full of difficult choices - most of which are starkly presented to us as either/or choices. You know the drill: To choose one thing presumably means that we have to reject something else.
To support progressive causes means that we denounce conservative values.
To focus on education means that we have have turned our backs on our homies in the hood.
To welcome modernity means that we have no appreciation for heritage or antiquity.
To embrace the world of the mind means that we have disdain for the world of emotions.
To be spiritual is to condemn every carnal expression.
Our world is full of these, and countless other either/or choices. But Paul's understanding of Christ is much more inclusive than the absolute divisions and dichotomies purported by our culture.
In Christ, there is no distinction or difference that is drastic enough to render anyone or anything outside the reach of God's all-embracing love and redemption. Even some things we wouldn't choose, like death, are nonetheless ours, so we need not fear it or deny it.
The all-encompassing love of God in Christ is our motivation to stay open to the people and the things we do not prefer; it is our invitation to never allow our choices to become our barriers; and it is our mandate to make certain that our disagreements do not disconnect us.
God, as we embrace your love, help us to embrace ALL that you love. Amen.
Kenneth L. Samuel is Pastor of Victory for the World Church, Stone Mountain, Georgia.