Did you know that there is a small offshoot of Christianity that distinguishes itself by its belief that Adam did not have a navel?! They even have a name: Navelites. Seriously!
There is also a theological argument in opposition to the Navelites known as the Omphalos Argument (omphalos is the Greek word for knob, typically used to describe the navel). Seriously! Look it up!
Before you dismiss me as even more crazy than those folks, in 1944 a subcommittee of the United States House of Representatives Military Committee (chaired by Congressman Durham of the state of North Carolina) refused to authorize a little 30-page booklet titled “Races of Man,” that was to be handed out to our soldiers, sailors and airmen fighting in World War II, because this little booklet had a drawing that depicted Adam and Eve with belly buttons! The members of this subcommittee ruled that showing Adam and Eve with navels “would be misleading to gullible American soldiers.” Seriously!! Look it up!
Man, it seems like Christians can fight over just about anything. In fact, it seems like that’s what do better than just about anything else. And it seems like we’ve been doing it for a long time. Look at what the Apostle Paul writes to the first century Christians:
If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care—then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Philippians 2:1-2 The Message
Yes, these were the first Christians who lived barely a generation after Jesus died and yet they were already fighting with one another. So much so that Paul has to resort to the, “Why can’t we all just get along” argument.
Pretty amazing that a religion that follows a man who took 10 commandments and simplified them into two, one of which says, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” could have such a rich history of conflict.
The truth is that, though we are made perfect in God’s sight because of Jesus sacrifice, we are far from perfect. We exhibit all the human failings and exercise all of humanities ugliness. Tragically, our darker nature even slips into the practice of or faith in the one who came to forgive us from all these things.
Maybe it’s a good thing. Maybe if we were a little too perfect, we would see ourselves as not needing God anymore. Maybe we would begin to rely on our selves just a little too much and we would begin to forget, even more than we already do, how much we need God.
It’s a testament to the fact that we American Christians do have things a bit too easy that we have time to fight about things that in the grand scheme of life are pretty insignificant. We can’t really identify with the last verses of the first chapter of Philippians:
There’s far more to this life than trusting in Christ. There’s also suffering for him. And the suffering is as much a gift as the trusting. You’re involved in the same kind of struggle you saw me go through, on which you are now getting an updated report in this letter. Philippians 1:29-30 The Message
Perhaps we’ve been doing a bit too much navel gazing . . .
Pressing on toward the goal . . .