When I first moved to the U.S. one of the things I came to love was the wide variety of Ice cream flavors. For a while I was seduced by Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream, a variety that at that time had not crossed over to the U.K. market. My current frozen "drug of choice" is Mint Moose Tracks.
There are ice creams I do not like, I am not fond of fruit in my ice cream, so Cherry Garcia doesn't do it for me. I'm also not a fan of coffee in general so any ice cream featuring mocha or cappuccino passes me by.
One thing I'm sure of though, just because I do not like the ice cream does not mean that I claim that it "Isn't real ice cream". Even some of the rather strange Japanese flavors like Fish Ice Cream or Fried Eggplant Ice cream, although they may turn my stomach, are still ice creams.
What is an ice cream? The FDA says the following "Ice cream is defined as a frozen food made from a mixture of dairy products, containing at least 10% milkfat."
I think Christians could learn a lot from ice cream.
There are many different denominations of Christians in the world, I may not agree with what some of them believe, but that doesn't mean they are not "christian", just that they are not my flavor of Christianity.
No matter what flavorings they place in the ice cream - even the scary ones like Squid Ink, so long as the ice cream is frozen dairy product with at least 10% milkfat, they are still Ice Cream.
So what is the bottom line for Christians? The word actually covers a wide range of practices and beliefs. The word's literal meaning is 'Christ Follower'. What are the non-negotiables that if you step outside of them you are no longer a Christian? Who decides what those non-negotiables are?
I grew up with people who claimed that Catholics were not Christian, then I met some catholic Christians and were introduced to some of the great catholic christian writers.
I was taught that to be a Christian meant belief in a 6 day creation and a literal interpretation of scripture...then I met people who didn't believe that, who's spirituality and connection to Jesus put me to shame.
I was taught that to be a Christian you couldn't be a 'practicing homosexual' - then I met some who have only made it through prejudice and rejection because of their deep abiding faith.
Slowly I began to see that my learned interpretation of the bible was not the only interpretation of the bible.
I'm not sure what my 'frozen dairy product and 10% milkfat' of Christianity is any more...as my worldview widens so does my definition.
But I do know this, God's grace is big enough to cover over the gaps.
"In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, love."