Sjolander Road Fellowship

Declaring the God of Unconditional Love

border control



Currently we hear a lot about controlling our national borders to prevent illegal entry into the country. Borders or boundaries are supposed to mark the dividing line between those who rightfully enjoy the blessings of citizenship and those who are excluded. These boundaries exist not only in geography but also in our laws and institutions. National borders are a primary example of how we as humans tend to divide from one another and assimilate a group identity. Boundaries are always about segregation and not unity.


Interestingly, Orthodox Christianity, the prevalent religion in our country, teaches a form of universal unity, in the church or the kingdom. Most Christians probably understand the unity in the church to be a desired current goal. Some, but not all, may see the unity of the kingdom as something which is not currently achievable but requires a future divine intervention. In any case, the idea of mankind being directed toward a universal community of believers by the work and message of Jesus is a basic tenet of Orthodoxy.


Logically, a religious understanding which supposedly appeals to all mankind, regardless of national affiliation, must somehow overcome the tendencies we have to segregate into national groups, tenaciously holding onto our special cultural imperatives and distinctives. However, since Christianity as a religion has developed primarily in western societies, what we have seen is that the Christian religion takes on a decidedly occidental flavor. In every age the evangelical efforts outside the western regions has included a call to adjust to western cultural mores. That was clearly evident in the colonial programs of western societies as they extended their influence over lesser developed areas of the world.


Thus, the universalism associated with the Gospel message evolved into an insistence that sacred unity under the church or kingdom, could only be achieved in a westernized world. Such thinking in the West was a natural extension of their idea that western civilizations had developed based on Christian principles; and, therefore, western culture was basically Christian by nature.


The puzzling thing about this universal spiritual brotherhood was that entrance into that fellowship was not universal. It was restricted  to those who conformed to the western interpretation of the unity message. As it turned out, the group which supposedly sponsored spiritual unity for the entire world, drew strict borders around their own small sect, assigning rigid requirements of conformity before any outsider would be allowed to join into union.


In this fashion the call to unity represented by the purported Gospel took on a marked sectarian flavor. Unity as a universal goal became perverted into another form of segregation. It is hard to understand why a divine call to universal unity in Christ has a boundary which excludes the vast majority of humanity. Why does a universal agency like the church or kingdom have a boundary at all. Borders exclude; they don't unify. No one is logically excluded from a universal agency, so borders are unnecessary.