A week ago â€“ during the breach of the US Capitol building â€“ I had to tell one of my best friends that we absolutely could not have a text conversation that day about it. We tend to approach politics from different angles, and when we can talk face-to-face things are contentious but we can hammer through our differences in a bond of deep brotherly love for each other. But when we have those conversations through texting it’s pretty much guaranteed to end up in a fight. My friend and his wife moved to another state about two years ago, so our face-to-face conversations have to happen virtually (as so many do these days). We’ve talked since then – we’re still friends 🙂
Last week we also got a message from a former financial supporter disapproving of some personal choices we’ve made, and it got me thinking about you, and how diverse and different
you y’all are.
Attain to the Unity
I’ve taken some time to look at all of the people who have been God’s hand of provision to us over the years. Here’s a little picture of who you are.
- You are families, couples, and individuals.Â
- You are churches of over 5,000 and churches who struggle to have enough people to keep the lights on.Â
- You are in your 20s, your, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s. (Hi, grandma!)
- You are Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, Brethren (at least 3 kinds), Catholics, “Merely Christians”, Pentecostals, Calvinists, Evangelicals, Open Theists, Ex-Vangelicals, doubters, and no-longer-Christians.Â
- You are Republican candidates, convicted non-voters, Democratic Socialist community organizers, progressive advocates, staunch Constitutionalists, and jaded “political agnostics.”Â
- You are committed teetotalers, professional brewers, recovering alcoholics, and bartenders.
- You are professional tattoo artists and you scowl when you see body art.Â
- You are vegetarians and hunters.
- You are insurance agents, teachers, counselors, nurses, programmers, designers, librarians, pastors, cashiers, architects, accountants, artists, realtors, home-makers, filmmakers, farmers, soldiers, landscapers, missionaries, professors, COOs, CEOs, screenwriters, HVAC techs, youth pastors, campaign managers, tour managers, and more.Â
- You’re in Kansas, Florida, Germany, Australia, South Dakota, Colorado, California, Mississippi, Virginia, DC, Washington, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio, Maryland, Michigan, Iowa, Kentucky, Alaska, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, REDACTED, and more.
- We’ve never met you, and we’ve known you our whole lives. (Hi again, grandma!)
The Bond of Peace
Some of your differences are significant, others are commonplace. Carrie and I fight to not hide who we are, but we’re circumspect (Eph 5:15) about how we carry ourselves. To whatever degree we are silent on the contentious topics, itâ€™s not because we donâ€™t have opinions. (Feel free to ask us.) Nor are we saying that everyone’s opinion or conviction is equally right or valid. We can’t possibly agree with all of you.
But, as you read the list, did you cringe or scowl at someone or something there?
I did as I wrote some. It’s sin.
Nothing in that list is allowed to be the thing of ultimate value in our lives. None of them are grounds for division among followers of Jesus. With a single possible exception, every person represented on that list is a brother or sister in Christ as far as I know. It does not mean that we need to forfeit our opinions, or that we should shut down dialogue about these things. But we are called to unity and mutual love with no exceptions given.
â€¦walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spiritâ€”just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your callâ€” one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.Ephesians 4:1-6
Each of you is a part of a team, working together, praying, giving, and supporting our work to get the powerful message of the Gospel of Jesus which welcomes all who will confess and believe, regardless of their ethnic, political, or whatever baggage they bring with them.
More importantly, each of you is part of a family, part of a body, part of The Church of the one God and Father of all. Let’s all remember that, and value that above all the lesser things that our enemy so easily uses to divide us.
Thank you for being part of our team, and part of our Family! (Even if we may have to shut down a text message conversation sometimes.)
LOTS of love,