I saw a "quiz" on Facebook titled "What is your Quaker name?" Using your birth month and your first name offers to illuminate the answer (hint: your Quaker name is "Friend" + your first name). It made me smile. My wife comes from Quaker roots, so there's even a personal tie-in for me. Today we are part of a Pentecostal church, which is a bit of a shift for her. In college, we attended a private Christian university that mixed many denominations and backgrounds. My family has a similar spread even though we all grew up going to church together.
My older sister is in town visiting the family. As is typical, we got to talking about the things we've been pondering, reading, learning. We spent a great deal of time discussing the book of Job, the Church's response to sin, and how to "do" ministry. And you know the beautiful part? Because we all have had difference experiences and see things slightly differently, we get to learn from each other.
You get the same from Sonlight's dedication to teaching multiple perspectives. As we read the great books in our homeschool curriculum, we encounter Jewish families, Quakers, Catholics, and missionaries from a wide range of denominations and backgrounds. I grew up seeing how God speaks to and through various traditions and practices. Rather than damaging my faith, I found myself encouraged, strengthened, challenged, and spurred on ...the same way I am when I chat with my family, my friends, and people I meet. I am sharpened, as the Proverb says.
But there's more.
Rather than merely providing personal edification, we gain a greater appreciation for the Body of Christ as a whole. The more we learn about how God has moved and redeemed and blessed and drawn others to Himself, the more humble we can be about our own little corner of Christendom. The Church is bigger than us, but we are a big part of it. And here I think we catch glimpses of what Christ prayed for when He said, "May they be one as We are one."
Part of the global perspective we Sonlighters enjoy is one that spans not just geography but time. As we experience the story of History unfolding before us in each Sonlight program, we gain a slightly better picture of the Body of Christ. We get to see, first hand, the lives of some of the great cloud of witnesses which then encourages us to look toward Jesus and follow after Him.
And Jesus is the part that matters. It's interesting to learn why different groups decide to call each other Brother, or Father, or Friend; but what unites us is Jesus and the fact that we have been blessed to all be part of His Body.
Filmmaker, Writer, Pseudo-Dad