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The church of Christ has had disagreements since, well, Christ. The disciples argued over who was the greatest. Paul and Barnabas went their separate ways. And the Anglican Church continues the tradition of division.

Sunday, the once-a-decade conference of Anglicans concluded with divisions still unresolved. Dr. Rowan Williams, the leader of the Anglican Communion, admitted that if the North American churches (known as the Episcopal Church) continue to advocate the ordination of gay clergy and bless same-sex unions, the communion will “be in grave peril.”

More than 200 conservative bishops boycotted the conference in protest of the presence of pro-gay bishops.

“The issue of homosexuality comes down to an issue about the Bible,” said the Most Rev. David Moxon, Archbishop of New Zealand. “Underneath all the discussions and debates is how do we view the Bible?”

Meanwhile, Christian and Muslim leaders met at Yale University for the “Loving God and Neighbor” conference to address world poverty, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the situation in Palestine and Israel, the dangers of further wars, and the freedom of religion. A joint statement began by affirming the “unity and absoluteness of God” and His “merciful love as central to both religions.”

The second paragraph notes:

“We recognize that all human beings have the right to the preservation of life, religion, property, intellect, and dignity. No Muslim or Christian should deny the other these rights, nor should they tolerate the denigration or desecration of one another’s sacred symbols, founding figures, or places of worship.”

So, let’s all join hands and sing “Kum Ba Ya,” right?

Some beliefs are so fundamentally different, that it is hard to imagine that anything more than an agreement to disagree—and not kill the other—is possible. So, I am glad to at least see that an agreement between Christians and Muslim to stop killing each other is being discussed. No one benefits from hatred and violence. But no one benefits when they compromise their core beliefs for an artificial unity, either. So, to quote an ancient proverb:

In essentials, unity.
In non-essentials, liberty.
In all things, charity.

Of course, everyone thinks their beliefs fall into the “essential” category, so some thoughts on . . .
church conflict,
interpreting the Bible and
whose side is God on?.