Unity in Diversity
Unity — Not Uniformity
I feel like I need to preface this with the understanding that I do not think I can do this topic justice. And at the same time, I am at the end of my next Bible Classroom course, and it's time for my final project. So here we go:
I have been praying on the themes of the book of Ephesians for the entire month of March, during Lent, on the walks I am now taking twice daily with our new dog.
Of course I love diversity.
Of course I love the idea that we all maintain our unique identities, our gifts, and we each use these individual quirks to ring in the new humanity.
CS Lewis has that awesome essay in Mere Christianity — the one where he begins to notice the other Christians around him sitting in the pews at church with him and he's surprised to find a bunch of quirky oddballs :) A few of them highly unlikeable.
What a team, right?
Marriage, Family, Community — Better Together
I've been walking our new dog, considering the absurdity of the mission we have as humans together:
Here you go, guys — Your one task is to get along well with each other. You cannot be alone. Keep me (God) first, then simply love eachother as I love you and as you love yourselves. Go!
It's so bloody simple. All we have to do is get along with each other, trusting God above all else.
I love Systems thinking and I really love thinking about human systems. I love contemplating their elegance, beauty, and complexity.
If we begin with ourselves — Our one job is to love ourselves and trust God above all else.
I usually don't make it past my second coffee before a subtly fail at this. I either have a stray condemning thought against myself, or I politely let God know that He's done a great job (I'm super grateful!) but I can totally take it from here — seriously, I got this, God! Or similar.
And then we begin to add in the others: husband, mom, sister, kids — at least one of those is going to trip me up at some point during the day.
Don't let me loose in my community! I do not think a week of my life has gone by without me grumbling about someone...
And so — all month long I have been contemplating this.
How can I call myself a Christian when I honestly cannot say that I have spent a day where I trust God completely above all else and love everyone in my spheres?
How Hard Can it Be?
I am grateful for Paul. Truly. And I am grateful for Tim Mackie and the BibleProject / Bible Classroom for taking the time and care to explain Ephesians thoroughly.
Paul considers our deepening understanding of the new humanity to be a series of reveals — and I found this to be a helpful place to begin.
I began to pray each morning, not that so-and-so would figure something out :) (I don't actually allow myself to pray that way, but man are there times when it's pretty much semantics...my heart is really praying, "Why does so-and-so have to be such an idiot?") but that God would give me an apocalypse - a reveal - so that I can row closer to Him.
This small twist helped set my intentions on looking for signs of the new humanity, rather than what I realized I often do, which is notice the many signs of the "world" and what is seriously wrong with it...and the people living in it.
Something about the idea that the new age is being revealed to us...and that we are called to be the co-creators, partners with God, in this new humanity — this idea set me up for a more successful March than I think I could have expected.
As I practiced, my motivation to be part of the new humanity rather than the old way helped me continue to look for signs of the new humanity in others.
Now, honestly, this is a minute by minute struggle that I constantly struggle with — but having this new mindset where, rather than focusing on what is wrong, I am looking for the glimmers of what is right, well — it really helped.
We are a collective — and I honestly sometimes think there are many many of us who don't know that they are a part of this new humanity — perhaps they have a jaded and misinformed idea of who Jesus is, for example. Or perhaps they see other Christians and think there is no way they could be part of such a ragtag group of oddballs :)
In any case, I do believe there are many of us who acutally are so drawn to the new humanity and yearn to live filled by the spirit.
We collectively have one job to do: use the gifts given to us to help corral each other together, banded together with truth, justice, fatih, righteousness, salvation and the word of God as we stand against the powers.