As we go further into our walk in Christianity, we start realizing the extent of our differences in beliefs; the number of denominations and differences between them; the different faiths that have sprung up in the name of Christianity--for example Mormonism, Jehovah's Witnesses, etc.
It almost seems as if now, with the movement of some Christians out of the walls of a church and back into NT house churches, that the disparities in beliefs are growing swiftly. And, to an extent, they probably are. But if you look at the ability to communicate in the 21st century, you can see that perhaps it's not a growing number of differences, but our ability to see those differences on a global scale. If you delve into early Christian history, you'll see that there were just as many differences in the belief systems between orthodoxy and gnosticism...and many, many branches of each of those. The result is an endless variety of Christianity and it turns out that it's just a matter of history that we are where we are. For all we know, we could have all been card-carrying Gnostics, had history taken a different turn.
The difference that I really like to see is the one where most of you don't CARE that there are differences; you just want to walk with Jesus. But I probably see that because I have a tendency to link up with a supportive band of disciples, and run like the devil's after me from the legalists.
That said, we will still butt heads with those afore mentioned legalists every where we go. We could get legalistic with the legalists if we choose, because there are so many things that we as Christians do even now that could be considered man-made, pagan or occultism...birthday cakes, wedding rings, Easter eggs and bunnies, Christmas trees, Santa, the Pledge of Allegiance...the list is endless. Even the concepts of Lent and Ash Wednesday are man-made practices. All of these things exist either as accepted or are refused in some level of Christianity today.
Where do we stop with the head-spinning stuff? If I have Christian friends that believe that there is life on other planets (more Christians believe in this concept than atheists) or that the precise arrangement of the stars on your day of birth can be a clue to your personality (the Magi were astrologers) or that all good people are going to heaven whether they believe fully in Jesus; are these people pagan? Are they occultists? Are they "not as good Christians" as those who believe the contrary? There are biblical concepts that can be interpreted as "out of body experiences" or even psychic or astrological experiences. The variety that I've come across with different people is amazing. No two people will agree totally, I believe.
So, where does all the nonsense leave us? For me, it's just working at trying to see others through Jesus' eyes. He certainly didn't surround himself with what the society then would have considered to be the "cream of the crop." His day was built around interruptions from all walks of people.
The woman in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, the one with the issue of bleeding. She knew that she just needed to touch His garment. Jesus was walking in a crushing crowd, and yet He knew that she had touched Him. Even being out in public with such an issue for this woman was a dangerous and forbidden thing. Yet, she touches Him...and He knows that Power has gone from Him. Not depleting Him...just going out to someone who has a huge faith in Him. He tells her that her faith has rescued and preserved her: sozo means so much more than just healed. Rescued and preserved.
We know nothing else of this woman, but we do know this: of all the things she may have done in the past, all the things she may have done later, that she had all the faith in the world that if she just FOLLOWED Him; touched Him; defying all the legalistic nonsense that surrounded her at that time; that all would be well; that she would be rescued and preserved. Nothing else mattered. What else could?