Have you ever been part of a politically and culturally divided church? How do you navigate such divisions where people are literally and figuratively across the aisle from one another in the congregation and their thinking? Do you avoid the issues or seek to engage them? If you engage the issues, how do you go about it? In the video at the close of this blog post, we at New Wine, New Wineskins address these matters. The aim is to foster relational healing in fractured communities resulting from political and cultural divides. Here are the questions my colleagues of diverse ecclesial, geographical, and cultural vantage points answer in the video below.
All of the people joining me today have served or are serving as pastors and elders in various churches. Could a few of you share at the outset about some of the divisions you have sought to navigate and mediate in the past and present in your local, regional, and national church contexts?
What are some of the things you have learned from trying to navigate such tensions and divisions? I am thinking here of mistakes and missed opportunities as well as victories you have experienced in seeing diverse communities move through divisions to understanding and connection.
What recommendations would you offer to others as we navigate the current situation we are facing as a very divided church in a very divided nation?
We close the session with the prayer pictured here and attributed to St. Francis of Assisi. It serves as a model for all of us as we seek after relational healing in our fractured communities. Rather than praying to get our own way or payback on our enemies, this prayer invites us to be peace makers, not peace breakers or even simply peace keepers. May we all seek to live out this prayer in our daily lives. May we also seek to listen empathically to people of diverse backgrounds and perspectives in pursuit of mutual understanding.
Check out the below video as you seek to address these matters in your own context. You can also find videos on pertinent contemporary themes at our New Wine YouTube channel (click here). At New Wine, we seek to build relational bridges through Jesus in contemporary culture.