Many times one has interesting experiences and it is easy to put a title on it or to put the story in such a context, but this is not one of those stories for me. Last night I left work at a fairly usual time and drove across town to go to a dinner party I had been invited to, along with two bottles of sparkling apple cider per the request of the hostess of the dinner party. As is often the case when it comes to such matters, I was left with a lot to think about concerning the way the dinner party went down. I met a couple of strangers to me at least who are related by marriage to the other people there and as is often the case it was an interesting mix of people that sat around a table and ate and chatted, and I will do my best to discuss this with my customary anonymity.
The group of people eating was interesting for several reasons. For one, the daughter of the house that was there was eating with a boy friend of hers from school and seemed to want little interaction with the larger group that was there, which struck me as somewhat puzzling, as I always wanted to hear the serious conversations that were going around in the adult world whenever my family had guests. Three of the guests were a family at my local congregation with whom I have many interesting experiences , and two of the other guests were a father and son I had never met who go to church in Oregon City at one of the smaller Churches of God. We had some good conversations through dinner, although it appeared that our hostess was focused on making sure everything worked out alright for the food, and likely making sure that things were going okay with her daughter as well. At any rate the food was tasty and I was, as usual, a much pokier eater than most of the people.
It was the conversations that, as usual, left me with the most questions. I found it strange that there were three single men at the dinner, which is a most unusual circumstance. Even more unusually, we appeared to be single in different ways. One of the people was a widower whose wife had died of complications of diabetes, one of us has never married, and the other one of us appeared to have been married and divorced, though he did not divulge any details about it and seemed to relish having his retired father run a bunch of errands for him. Our conversations included a great deal of discussion about the Bible and about our common beliefs but different church organizations, and so on and so forth. Most of us expressed a preference for smaller feast sites where people could fellowship together as opposed to ones full of tourist attractions treated largely as a vacation.
Perhaps most unusually, though, I was left to wonder what it is that keeps brethren so similar so separated. A great deal of life, especially when it comes to matters of religious and other worldviews, relates to the question of authority. And what kind of authority is it that people respect? Some people will only respect authority that has a particular form or a particular approach. Some will only feign respect to any authority which disagrees with them and seek to be their own authorities in life. Some are driven by the desire to be authorities over others even if they have problems with others in authority over them. I do not know how it will happen, the process or timing of it, but I do know that at some point our Lord and Savior will gather all of His chickens together under His wings. I get the feeling some people will take a lot more preparing for that than others, and that it will probably be a far different picture than any of us imagine.
 See, for example: