The Falcon | Volume 83, Issue 52
Published 5/22/13 | Log In
Non-essentials often demand our attention
By BILL BERRY, Staff Reporter
Published: October 24, 2012
As a young man of Christ, who has just recently begun to take his faith seriously, there is something I have realized: there are no words to express how thankful I am for my parentsí decision to remove my foreskin as an infant.
Itís not that I believe a circumcised phallus equates to eligibility for faith, but it does make it easier to pursue my faith. All the heavy hitters in the New Testament were circumcised: Paul, James, Stephen, John, Peter and, of course, Jesus. I feel like mimicking their lives as closely as I can ultimately makes for a stronger faith. I hope my future wife feels the same way.
However, here at SPU, it shocked me when I saw that some men arenít as serious about the call to live like Jesus. I mean, Jesus died for the sanctification of our souls; is it too much to ask that we take up the cross and endure some short-term physical pain for our lord? I mean, itíll help our spirituality and, from what I have heard, it also could help out with hygiene.
Thankfully God has granted me with a heart of a servant leader, passionate about spreading His gospel, and placed upon my spirit the burden to minister to my uncircumcised brothers here at SPU. I donít mean to say that they cannot be Christians in their current state. Instead, I think I know of a way to simultaneously draw them closer to God and create a more intimate community on the floor. Please, donít be scared; Fourth West Ashton is stocked with plenty of first aid supplies, and I mean in the end, itíll be God that guides my hand, right?
Now, I genuinely hope that every reader could understand the sarcasm in the last few paragraphs. But just in case, I feel like I must say this: I in no way think that being circumcised has anything to do with faith in any way. The goal of the column is to point out an issue I see at SPU: the fact that we obsess over non-essential issues of faith, not to peg myself as the guy with eager medical hands.
The truth is, sometimes I feel like we get wrapped up in complete non-essentials about faith, especially here at SPU. Seattle Pacific is a faith-based community, so shouldnít grace and diversity in belief be welcomed and distributed freely? Sometimes I think that we all get a little too passionate about the non-essentials, like whether or not we support women in ministry, or if you side with Palestine or Israel or whether or not the political party you support approves of same-sex marriage. Christian faith and community should be built on the fact that Jesus died for our sins and shows us grace daily.
There is not a single person with a 100 percent accurate biblical interpretation. So why do we treat others like they have to, and by that I mean act in the way we see fit? We should be able to agree on essentials and encourage each other in them: faith in Jesus, worship, prayer, taking care of the poor and showing Godís love. Discussion and debate about faith is healthy and important but becomes unhealthy when it leads us to believe we have superior faiths.
So let me say this as a reminder to all SPU students, myself included: every Christian lives out an imperfect faith, so stop getting hung up on the non-essentials; they are called that for a reason.
Bill Berry is a sophomore linguistics major at Seattle Pacific.