Often when we have differences among ourselves and argue about the essence of the gospel, those defenseless, beaten, and defeated hands are not in evidence [he’s speaking of Christ hands]. One muscular Christ confronts another similarly muscular one, resulting in the print of the nails disappearing behind the flexing of those powerful muscles. And if the other person’s Christ becomes too muscular, I retreat into my shell. Moreover, the more muscular our Christ becomes, the more difficult it will be to rehabilitate him back to Calvary. The cross, we ought to remember, is the hallmark of the church. When the resurrected Christ appeared to His disciples, His scars were the proof of His identity.”(pgs. 81-82 in A Spirituality of the Road by David J. Bosch)

Should we just stick with jogging and leave the weights to the muscular meat-heads? It would be easy to take Bosch’s comment here as an open door to flee all accountability with one another, and if we took that route I assure you Bosch nor Jesus would be walking with us down that road. Like fitness, polemic needs a proper regime in our life. The goal isn’t Arnold-size but health in general, for our own souls and those of the church.

How do we know when we’ve become too polemical in our life? I think when the church and us can no longer be related to the cross. When our name registers things like, “hum, yea I know that fella or gal, they’re quite the Orthodoxy Maximus.” Then we’ve lost something dear to us, our identity as a disciple. And like Bosch so creatively put it, our muscles have covered over our scars.

Lord I pray that you will be with us as your Church, that you will protect us from heresy from within and from without. That you will compel us to count our scars of greater importance than our differences, and yet I pray that your love will lead us into open and vulnerable accountability with one another so you might receive glory and the world may be reminded to whom we belong.