“One hundred religious persons knit into a unity by careful organization do not constitute a church anymore than eleven dead men make a football team. The first requisite is life, always.”
The current terrain we see our partisan-driven, polarized American culture in, it’s difficult to see where the Church (The community that heals & restores) fits into all of this. Left and right worldviews are the dominating forces that are ringing the most deafening. Each side ready to take whatever steps necessary to claim victory. Which side is the truth? How does the Church choose to engage in order to bring about peace?
I think the better question is always: What brings about abundant life (John 10:10)? Do the sides we choose bring the kin-dom reality of love for one another? Where hate, violence and division dissolve to the wayside and unity within diversity blossom into a world of mercy and forgiveness?
Well, that’s the ideal right? I think both sides can I agree with this. The issue is how do we get there. What I believe the Church’s job, in all of this, is making space available for a solution to take place. We cannot be tribalistic when it comes to coming together with the ideas in how to achieve our goals. Also, the Church should never be a place to seek an permanent escape from the outside world. It should always be seen as a place to figure out how to bring the world together (no matter what belief system one holds).
When we create party lines, all we do is adhere to division. This is how a democracy works, right? Well, from a Christ-community perspective, when a group comes together, they should have all things in common (Acts 2:44). Obviously, we are in a different era with many different factors that don’t fit into the all all things in common perspective. But, I still think we can have the same *spirit* in order to still achieve the same purpose.
What does this look like? With the result being “abundant life” in mind, I think the first and last step needs to be LOVE. I like how Paul put it:
Above all, put on love–the perfect bond of unity. Col 3:14
Love has to be are go-to if we are ever going to usher in the full reality of the kingdom of heaven. We have to let go of our bias tendencies, and be open to accept all people (black, white, gay, trans, republican, democrat, man, woman, etc.) and all views. But wait! What about coming up with a solution? All these views and people surely cannot come up with a tangible outcome? We can prove that through our current political state.
This is where the third way of Jesus comes in. Christ always opens up possibilities in going a different direction. How he did this was always breaking bread with all types of people groups. He ate with the elite and the marginalized of society alike. He always had the same goal in mind: Eternal Life. As in, No matter what he had in store for each group–liberation for the poor or changing the mind of the rich–it always entailed an outcome that would last…for the benefit of all (not some).
It’s not a coincidence that the prayer of Jesus was to have heaven and earth emerge. The good news of Jesus was bringing harmony to all of the cosmos. You would think it could happen within a human society, right? It’s wither we decide to accept this reality or not that will decide the needed result.
The end game of the path of Christ is always a mystery at first. But, we can see instances in how to live this love life through Jesus himself.
Here are some examples:
• Non-violent enemy love-Mat 5:38-48, John 18:36, Luke 6:27-31.
• Caring for the poor-Luke 14:13, Mark 10:21, Luke 6:20-21.
• Welcoming the foreigner-Mat 25:31-46, Luke 10:25-37.
• Accepting the marginalized-Luke 19:1-10, Luke 4:18-19, Mat 5:1-48.
• Equality for all-Mat 5:1-48,Luke 11:46, John 13:16.
We are on new ground with that “same old story” fear, when it comes to finding true unity within our culture context. If we want to show the world how to live in a community of peace, we have to trust that agape love will get us there. We have to let go of keeping score and let love do what it does — keep no records of wrong (1 Cor 13:5).
We need to let the LIFE of the Divine be our compass into the unknown. That might look futile at first, but resurrection is always the result no matter how hopeless it seems.
Church, can we trust in that?…
We can reject tribalism (our side is 100% good their side is 100% bad) without choosing a false equivalence (both sides ideas and actions are equally moral & dangerous). 
This post is part of the Sychroblog – a group of bloggers who write on spiritual topics, often from different perspectives – which is published once a month. This month we were challenged to write on “How the Church can work toward Unity in Our Culture and Country.” Links to other articles will be put at end of this post November 28.
Here is the list of other writers and authors who contributed to this month’s Synchroblog. Go read them all to see what others think about church unity.