The human body is a marvel of design and engineering. A variety of elements come together in chemical compounds to produce cells and tissues that make up organs and components that are manifested in human life.
What’s really awesome is how some every component of the human body has a different function but comes together for a common purpose — that is, to sustain life. Quick point of housekeeping: even though I’ve moved on from the bible as an authoritative source in my life, I’m going to refer to a couple of biblical passages as waypoints.
Starting with Ephesians 4:15-16, the objective here is speaking the truth in love. There are folks who will abuse this passage to say things that are hurtful and and then hide behind biblical verses. I’ve taught and written extensively that there’s no such thing as “tough love” because Love ain’t tough. For those who still use their bibles, the biblical description of love can be found in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.
That said, when we speak the truth in love, it is gentle, encouraging, and edifying. Period. But I digress…
In Ephesians 4:11-14 spiritual gifts are identified for the purpose of bringing about unity of the faith and the knowledge of love. What it doesn’t say is that it will bring about complete agreement. The fact of the matter is that diverse understandings are what is needed in order to grow.
You have to catch this — God’s knowledge and wisdom is infinite. We will never know it all. Even though humanity has Christ consciousness, we see through a glass darkly — that is, we don’t see the complete picture. Indeed, the vastness of God is so Great that I venture that we will be learning for all eternity!
See I know things that many of my friends and contemporaries don’t know. And they know things I don’t know. So I need them. And they need me. Indeed we all need each other.
But let’s get to the meat of the matter. Let’s take a look inside our own bodies. Our kidneys, liver, heart, lungs, digestive system, bones, muscle, nerves, and brain all work together to sustain life. However, they all have different functions. I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that they all believe in the same thing (the wholeness of the Body) but they believe differently.
Because the kidneys believe that the key to life is the filtration of blood and eliminating the waste as a liquid. The liver also believes in the filtration of blood but in eliminating the waste as bile, secreted in solid waste. The heart believes that the blood is the source of life and must be pumped through the body. The lungs believe that the blood must be circulated but it must be sufficiently oxygenated. The digestive system believes that food must be ingested as fuel for the body and that the exhausted portions must be eliminated as solid waste. The bones believe that the structure of the body must be supported. The muscles believe that they must give mobility to the body. The nerves believe they must communicate the will of the brain to the body and the status of the body to the brain. The brain believes that it must control and regulate the body but it recognizes the importance of the diverse parts of the body to its own survival.
So, the parts of our body believe in the same thing but they believe it differently. There is diversity of belief but unity in objective!
Even though these organs believe and function differently, they have an implicit understanding of their importance to one another — in other words, they will not do anything to hurt each other. The only time the components of the body hurt one another is when disease is present or when one part of the body fails to do it’s job.
Unity does not always equal agreement. Let’s take a look at the body, again. If the liver decides it wants to do the same job as the kidneys, it may agree with the kidneys but it does so to the detriment of the body. You see, if the liver starts doing what the kidneys do, that would be called “liver failure” and the body gets sick and, ultimately, dies. Likewise, if the nerves start transmitting lymph, the nerves are in agreement with the lymphatic system but then you would have a condition called “neuropathy” and the body becomes incapacitated. Agreement is when we bring our diverse abilities, talents, and experiences together to achieve a common objective.
There is one time when the body is in complete agreement, though…
Death. When you’re on the undertaker’s table, all your parts are in agreement.
When the body dies, all the parts of the body agree that they are dead. The eye may say to the foot, “Hey foot, how are you?” To which the foot would reply, “I’m dead, eye. How are you?” “Man, I’m dead,” would be the eye’s response.
The point is that complete agreement is death.
Opening and closing the hand, walking, breathing, and digesting food (among other things) are all dependent upon protagonist and antagonist actions in the body. In other words, some disagreement is essential.
One more point: here in the USA, we can safely say that Alabama, as a whole, is ideologically different than California. That is, they believe differently. But let one of these states be attacked by a foreign power ant the other will rush to its aid. Because our continued unity is greater than our need to be in agreement.
I need to throw something in here — there is a condition where the body begins to feed on itself. This happens when the parts of the body are out of alignment and dysfunctional. The body will begin to consume its own tissue until it is dead. This is something that — sadly — is all too prevalent in humanity.
Christianity, it’s been said, is the only system of belief that consumes its frail and wounded even though it cites itself as the most loving. That’s another subject for another time.
But the Good News is that it can be fixed! The antidote is the revelation and manifestation of pure love. Pure love consists of empathy and compassion. When empathy is introduced, compassion more abounds and the collective vibration of humanity is raised. When the vibration is raised, love comes in and conquers division and begins healing with unity of purpose!
Some people believe in rowdy worship; some believe in quiet worship — and it’s okay
Some people believe in shouting praise; some believe in silent praise — and it’s okay
Some people believe in doctrinal precision; some believe that love is THE doctrine — and it’s okay
Some people believe in going to church every Sunday; some believe in meeting with believers in a cafe — and it’s okay.
Some people even believe in not worshiping at all. Some people don’t believe in corporate belief. Even that’s okay!
I’m learning not to knock others for the way they believe. I’m learning that the most important thing is that we love one another in spite of our differences and not be so arrogant as to think we have a monopoly on truth.
We are independent of each other in function but completely dependent upon each other! If we were all alike, we’d just be religious robots and totally uninteresting. If we were all alike, there would be no iron to sharpen iron! I need you, you need me, we’re all a part of the body of humanity.
Agreement is not essential to unity.
Derrick Day is the author of Deconstructing Religion. He is also one of the co-hosts of the Heretic Happy Hour Podcast and the host of The Forward Podcast. More recently, Derrick is a contributor to the new book, Before You Lose Your Mind, published by Quoir.