A Matter of “a Pinion”

ravenMike Henderson is frequently a fellow coffee drinker at Fitch’s Store. Mike wears many hats. He is a mission agency president, writer, and big game hunter, among other things. However, more important to this narrative is the fact that he shares great ‘stories’ with us down at the store.

During one of the gatherings of ‘the Sanhedrin’ at Fitch’s Store, Mike asked if any of us knew the difference between a crow and a raven. Unable to resolve the conundrum, we deferred to Mike’s wisdom. He reported that crows have twelve pinions (the outer part of wing – the flight feathers) and ravens have thirteen. To determining whether the bird is a crow or a raven, it’s a matter of  ‘a pinion’. We realized we had been rooked.

This humorous ‘turn of a phrase’ caused some serious consideration on my part. All of us are occasionally tempted to promote our opinions as if they are fact. A person may repeat and reinforce a strongly held opinion so often that they begin to believe it is a fact. Some opinions in religious circles seems especially prone to conflict. These areas include types of music, modes of baptism, styles of worship, communion issues, various translations of scripture, etc.

While different opinions and preferences may be held within the Christian community, we must not allow these personal views to be presented as “thus sayeth the Lord”. Strongly held preferences should not be permitted to become divisive. Recognize that most of the issues that create tension in the church are not a matter of right or wrong, but just different ‘opinions’.

There are many scriptures that speak to this concern. I will share just a few:

  • How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.” (Psalm 133:1, NIV)
  • “Keeping away from strife is an honor for a man, but any fool will quarrel.” (Proverbs 20:3)
  • “Make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves.” (Philippians 2:3)
  • “Do all things without grumbling or disputing.”  (Philippians 2:14)
  • “But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about the Law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. Reject a factious man after a first and second warning.” (Titus 3:9-10)
  • “To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit.” (1 Peter 3:8)
  • Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.” (Colossians 3:13-15)

 “He will cover you with His pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.” (Psalm 91:4, ESV)

~ Brother Roy

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