Friday, May 20, 2005

Unity, Part V

So here I am at the end of the week, ready for a little lunch actually, after pondering the concept of "unity" and what it might look like to elevate "acceptance" over "agreement" in our "mindset" towards each other. And why do I use quotation marks way too much... but that's another week's set of posts, I guess. I want to end these ramblings on a negative note - not really, but looking at the negative side of the position, at what keeps us apart. What tends to separate us? What tends to bring disunity and division? Why can't we all just get along?
  • pride - I could start with other words and make a grand sweeping comment about this last, but honestly I think we know it comes first. We are prideful people who like to be right, like to be justified, like to be vindicated. Our pride keeps us from fully engaging those around us who are different or who hold different beliefs/ideals. Pride will probably at least be a factor in each of the bullets that follow, too.
  • socio-economic issues - We are not so much divided by these issues as we are typically too lazy to cross these lines unprovoked. There's really no line here, is there? And yet, we just don't hang out with those richer than us, poorer than us.
  • philosophy - We tend to congregate around like-minded people who have similar tastes in books, movies, TV and music. We tend to shy away from those who would present different mindsets, different opinions politically and socially.
  • theology - We also tend to coalesce around certain doctrinal beliefs and concerns in the church. We attend the church we attend because they have the same attitudes as we do towards God, more often than not. When churches split, it's often a philosophical issue hiding out as a theology issue - both sides think they're right, and both sides think they win.
  • sports affiliation - I know you've seen this get way out of hand, as rival school fans gang up on each other the week before the big game, and for weeks after over who's the better team.

    There are other things - but as I think of these issues, I keep coming to one conclusion: I've got all this working against me if I'm trying to connect with Christ. I'm not worth much to Him economically since I don't own the cattle on one hill, much less a thousand. His philosophy is more well-rounded than mine, I'm sure. Any pride He has is well-founded. His theology is lightyears ahead of what my tiny brain can fathom. And His sports affiliation - well, it's obvious God's a Gamecock fan, but He can't show it or that would be wrong and partial - so they have to be tediously mediocre not to give it away.

    Why then, am I given the opportunity of unity and reconcilation with God? We wouldn't agree on anything, much less my own sin and unworthiness. But He loves me and accepts me just as I am - not going to stay like this, because the relationship has healing and enabling power to make me live more like Jesus. His acceptance, though, isn't hinged on my agreement nor on my repentance. While I was still goofing off in my pride and sin and bad philosophy, Jesus died for me. The unity and reconciliation in Christ was offered before I knew what it was, much less before I was cognizant of what it meant or knew to agree. Unity isn't manufactured, it's maintained in peace - because it originates from the Father, not from our mutual "good idea".

    And we can now be reconciled to each other, across all that divides us - even if you're not a Gamecock fan. Not only can we come together, but as Christians our entry into the mix should bring that same reconciliation in peace to others, and even those who disagree the most vehemently can feel some sense of unity because of Jesus being lived out through us.


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