When I was in grade school, my group of friends had a diet that consisted of three basic food groups: lemonheads, atomic fireballs, and runts. That combined with the sheer amount of Jolt Cola we drank, I am absolutely amazed that I am alive and normal...for the most part.

EVERYDAY at lunch, I'd have runts. I'm talking EVERY. DAY. Here's the crazy thing. I never remember actually buying a box of runts.

I have a confession that may shed some light.

My name is Taka, and I only eat banana runts.

See, I think there are two kinds of people in this world. People who like banana runts and people who give their friends their banana runts.

Because I was/am the former, I had an endless supply of them! It was a glorious and harmonious season of life. Birds were singing. Cats and mice walked hand in hand. And the Bears/Cubs were actually good.

The thing is, we never argued about it. We didn't fight about it. We never gossiped about who was in which "runt" camp. We simply enjoyed our differences and the fact that the very thing that separated us, united us.

I know it's a silly and simple idea, but I see so much division, gossip, and bitterness in the church around preference. Not critical theological ideas like grace, the divinity of Christ, the Trinity, or the obvious superiority of Korean food.

Preference. Music style. Worship length. Seating choice. Dress code. Sunday school or small groups. Volume. Carpet color. Etc.

Think about it, how much peace would there be if we just agreed to disagree on just THOSE topics? How silly do we look to those outside of faith as we major on minors and magnify our immaturity.

What if we chose to say "You like that style of music? Interesting. Tell me about it." "You think sunday schools rule? Interesting. Tell me about it." "If you'd indulge me, I'd love to share with you why I prefer small groups." I bet that behind each preference, you'd find stories, possibly told through tears, about how God used things you "just don't get" to change hearts, transform families, and rewrite family trees.

One person loves hymns for the same reason another loves choruses. One person loves sunday school for the same reason another loves small groups. One person loves suits for the same reason another loves jeans.

They represent a season of God-infused significance.

We just need to realize that although they've played a significant role, they are not biblical issues. They are preferences.

Jesus doesn't care if we have pews or chairs, but He is extremely interested in how we treat one another.

If we would take a step back, we'd realize that we all love the church. HIS Church.

  • Let's use that passion to build it, not divide it.

  • Let's use our differences to learn stories, not pick teams.

  • Let's use our time with wisdom to show those around us that what could separate us actually could unite us...

And if you don't like banana runts, I'll always be a friend and take them off your hands.

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