Essentials, Non-essentials, and Love

I was inspired today by a saying that started in churches in the 17th century: "In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, love." What a difference it would make if churches would practice that! So much of the time there are lots of ways people who are alienated by Christians who require others to be on the same page that they are on. Reminds me of the Pharisees and Jesus' challenges to them. Large numbers of people, especially young people, are leaving active Christianity, or at the least, church involvement - mainly alienated by 'non-essentials' and lack of the spirit of love from churches or Christians. Churches are being torn by political, ideological or even trivial differences, even where they are together on the essentials. What are 'the essentials'? I believe that the Nicene Creed (and others like it) are the essentials that the almost all Christians agree on. Of course, we all have other convictions, but I believe that God gives us a unifying command: love. God works in all of us that are open to his working in our lives to grow - and we need to trust God to work in others in what are the essentials for them as they grow in relationship with him.

One of the biggest non-essentials that have hurt Christianity are differences on science, particularly related to the creation story. This is a big factor with young people who learn about science in high school and college. It's ok to have different beliefs, but not to require 'non-essentials' for others.

I have that tendency to avoid people who do not share my beliefs but I feel God is telling me (and Christians in general) to love those who are different from me/us.