Severed or Propagated?

And don’t get to feeling superior to those pruned branches down on the ground. If they don’t persist in remaining deadwood, they could very well get grafted back in. God can do that. He can perform miracle grafts. Why, if he could graft you—branches cut from a tree out in the wild—into an orchard tree, he certainly isn’t going to have any trouble grafting branches back into the tree they grew from in the first place. Just be glad you’re in the tree, and hope for the best for the others                                        Romans 11:23-24

I had breakfast with my good friend Reed yesterday, and we were discussing several issues about the Church in America. In our discussion we talked about some issues which divide the Church. Tension arises in those discussions often, not between Reed and I, but within the denominations. While Reed and I do not completely agree on some issues, we are freely able to discuss our differences, respect one another’s views, and love each other as we have for many years.

In discussing an upcoming split on the Methodist denomination- and I will not go into detail on that in this limited space- we agreed that a split done properly, respectfully, lovingly, could actually create new growth. Reed suggested an analogy. Consider cutting off the limb of a tree with a jagged axe cut. The severed part can only die, and the tree itself could be injured, and become susceptible to disease and possible death.

Consider, then, a careful cut, and possible splicing of that cut into a new growing medium. Now that type of cut can properly be called propagation, not detachment. Both the new shoot and the old tree can still both prosper.

The point is, division does not necessarily mean death, unless the division is done with malice and harsh criticism. Good people can, and do, disagree on how the Gospel is to be spread through the world.

One person’s division can be another’s propagation. It is all in how we go about the solution.

Prayer: Lord, you have entrusted your Church into the hands of fallible people. Help us to be the message you intend, Amen

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