Nothing would work better than the Protestant Reformation. There is no question that there was stupidity going on in the clergy, but we must remember, the clergy is not the church. And while the clergy can (And Lord knows does) lay claim to some measure of divine direction, they are in fact men,human beings. Therefore fallible. Peter, the man who Jesus himself chose as the foundation of his church on earth, denied Christ three times while he was still alive. So I tend not to listen too carefully to the words of men, and those worst of things that have happened to Christianity have been due to the words of men.

The issue always lies in “Interpretation” There is a certain type of person who will tell you that the Bible is not open to interpretation and it’s message is clear; and these are the very worst of people who call themselves Christian. The moment that someone says they have the secret decoder ring and they know what the “true” meaning of Scripture is, run. Run far away. They only seek to control you and nothing else, they are not interested in being a Christian, they only want to gather a herd of sheep for themselves to fleece.

No, there are any number of ways to interpret any number of bible passages and at the root of this is the fact that ordinary, fallible humans wrote Scripture, or recorded it from oral history. So we can’t even be absolutely sure that they got it right either. A lot of times they were describing things they could not possibly understand.

In Luke 9: 28, one of the classic Lenten gospels, Jesus takes Peter, John, and James up a mountain and is transfigured. Peter demonstrates that he is frightened out of his wits and says they should put up tents for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah. Moses and Elijah died centuries earlier, how did Peter recognize them? Did they have nametags? I have seen and heard pastors from a dozen different denominations explain this situation as if they held the answer, and each one was different. And I don’t have a clue, unless it is this:

The Scripture is less about answers than it is about questions.

For all I know the people who claim to have all the answers do. And they have it all figured out, and they are headed straight for the pearly gates and I’m not. But I kind of doubt it, because just about everyone I have ever known declare they have all the answers will contradict themselves from time to time. So which answer is the correct one?

I have watched with interest as Christianity has become more and more fragmented, even during the course of my lifetime. I have honest to G-d seen half of a congregation walk away from a church because of a dispute over the type of music that some people considered “Inappropriate”. And the “new” split adopted “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen as one of their main songs. No clue, at all. So while we have gone from “Christianity” as a mostly monolithic group to literally thousands of individual groups, each claiming to have the correct interpretation of Scripture and the perfect plan for living, Christianity itself suffers.

But it cannot be destroyed. And it is evident where Christians put aside their dogmatic differences and do things because they are Christian things to do. I saw Catholics, Methodists, Lutherans, Jehovah’s Witnesses working together in Africa as if they were a coherent task force. And they did this because they shared a goal. So even in the face of the clear (To me) satanic origins of the increasingly fractal fragmentation of Christianity,Christianity still flourishes. THAT is it’s strength, that no matter what any man or woman tells you about what the correct way is to be a Christian, once it’s in your heart, we are closer to one another than people would let you think. And that is the real strength of our faith. May you all be blessed at Easter.