Archive for the ‘division’ Tag

The Great Divide(s)   Leave a comment

The relentless message we receive from the media is that we, in the US, are more divided than ever before in the history of the nation. We are divided over politics, morals, race, ethics, social policy… and the list goes on. And yet for those of us who claim to be Christians and who look to the scriptures for guidance, we are called to seek and value unity above all else (John 17:9-24). 

The upcoming election threatens to amplify and exacerbate our divisions. Do we have anything to offer that will demonstrate how unity can be cherished in the midst of differences in opinion and conviction?

My recent reading and listening has uncovered some really wonderful thinking that has been done on this subject and I want to share some of them with you.  They offer real help and hope in places where I often feel helpless and hopeless and are greatly influencing my thinking and communication right now. 

Firstly two books, both address the challenges with real life illustrations and practical suggestions 

Compassion and Conviction – The AND CAMPAIGN’S guide to Civic Engagement“ 

“Mobilizing Hope – Faith inspired activism for a Post Civil Rights Generation 

In January of this year Andy Stanley the Pastor of North Point Community Church gave a series of messages entitled “ Talking Points” which provide a great framework for riding out the storm together!

If you are concerned, as I am, that the church should do all we can to provide a clear and unmistakable witness in these times, that we can demonstrate that relationship and civility can be preserved, then I encourage you to read and listen widely. Engage with people you think you will disagree with as well as those who will make you feel comfortable. But don’t let it end there, talk (not text text or social media!) about these ideas with your friends, especially those with whom you think you might disagree.  Have these conversations not in order to change their minds but to understand one another better. (I know that, given the present restrictions, that is difficult but it can be done and it is worth it!)

One final thing I urge brothers and sisters in Christ I urge, regardless of what you hear on social media, or some else tells you, don’t allow a perception or assumption to divide you from each other. Take the time to listen and learn from each other. If I had a dime for every time I have heard the words” Oh I never thought of it that way” in the past few months I would be a rich man!!  

Posted September 8, 2020 by jolm15 in Uncategorized

Tagged with , ,

It’s happening!   4 comments

Its happening! We are about six weeks into the SIP regulations designed to keep us safe. In the early weeks there was a remarkable sense of being together in this and the need to do all we could to encourage and support each other. 

Most of us were well aware that we entered this unique season a nation as divided as we ever have been in our history but did we catch a glimpse of what it might be like if we weren’t? I am not sure because our ability to yell at each other seems to be raising its ugly head once again. I read an article yesterday where two people expressed opinions about what the authorities should be doing next. One pleading a case that all the restrictions had been an overreaction and unless we opened up immediately our economy would collapse.  The other equally passionately begging government to safeguard people’s lives by keeping the regulations in place. Of course, both are entitled to hold and express their perspectives and which is right I certainly don’t know.

What concerns me as we see the divisions in our nation re-emerge is not the existence of differences that is in many ways healthy. It is that, once again, they are being expressed in increasingly ugly and hostile protests along with threats at rebellion or resistance. Even more concerning is the fact that the church in various forms has chosen to enter the fray. Their rhetoric is also one of entitlement and rights and my uneasiness is that I don’t see that in the life of Jesus or the words of scripture.

I am not saying for one moment that I know the answers but I think that if we do not want to return to our behaviors before God allowed the pause button to be pushed we need to think carefully before we protest our rights and entitlements. Before we join the yelling across whatever divide let’s take the time we have been given to ask ourselves some questions. Do we really believe that God is totally and completely in control? Do we depend on Him alone to provide and protect us? Do we believe our every word and action should bring glory to our Heavenly Father? If the answer is yes how should we then speak and act? Has God given us a chance to do differently? What should that look like? 

Posted April 28, 2020 by jolm15 in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , , ,