As the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg captured the attention of the nation this week, accounts of her storied friendship with Justice Antonin Scalia appeared in my Facebook feed. The two were very different; one a male, Catholic, conservative the other a female, Jewish progressive. Their views on the interpretation of the Constitution were radically divergent and they tore each other apart in the opinions they wrote. Yet they remained fast friends because of common interests, chief among them a reverence for the law.
In commenting on the Ginsburg/Scalia relationship, most have pointed out how relationships can prosper even when there are disagreements. Yet the furor that has erupted in the Capitol over the appointment of a successor points to a seemingly intractable divide, based on competing views of the law, politics, and procedure.
Writing at UnHerd.com about differing views of American history and ethos, Douglas Murray says, “It is becoming harder to communicate across the [ideological] gulf, as increasingly the two Americas cannot consort or discuss with each other. And if there is one reason above all why that should be the case it is because they no longer have a shared story.”
That sentence leaped off the page to me. “A shared story!” I thought to myself, ‘Christians have a powerful shared story that should unite us in common cause: the redemption of Jesus Christ.’
In our Salvationist tradition, the “testimony time” gave individuals the opportunity to tell their story of being saved by grace. This not only encouraged others but also reinforced the power of the salvation message to those who might not yet have responded.
Our shared story is one of personal experience – “Once I was blind, but now I see“– that has universal application. In its telling, we invite those who do not share our story to experience it for themselves.
I confess that I sometimes worry whether we Christians spend more time arguing over our differences of doctrine, ecclesiology, and worship styles than we do celebrating our shared story.
I want to loudly sing Fanny Crosby’s testimony: “This is my story, this is my song: ‘Praising my Savior all the day long!’”
Will you join me?