You can’t get there from here

you-cant-get-there-from-hereThis post is a contribution to the April Synchroblog “Bridging The Divide”.  This month bloggers are encouraged to offer ideas on ways to heal divisions in the church.

 

You’ve probably heard the saying “you can’t get there from here.” The urban dictionary defines the saying to mean “the problem can’t be solved.”

As I thought about solutions to the divisions the Christian church is presently experiencing I realized I felt like “you can’t get there from here.”

When I think about healing the division in the church “here” becomes Christian unity and that’s where I see us needing to “get to” … I believe we have to know where we want to go before we can plan on how to get there, but, in order to pursue Christian unity we must first understand what it is and what it isn’t …

I don’t have a clear vision of what Christian unity is, so, I am limiting my contribution to some basic thoughts about Christian unity…

What I hate about Christian unity:

I hate the way the term or idea is used to shut down a criticism.

I hate the way the term or idea is used to bully someone who is disagreeing.

I hate the way the term or idea is used to avoid conflict.

I hate the way the term or idea is used as if it means agreement or uniformity.

Some things I believe about Christian unity:

Some things are worth division.

Uniformity is not unity.

Agreement is not unity.

Unity is better than uniformity or agreement.

Getting along with everyone is not equal to Christian unity.

Open acts of injustice are a real and formidable obstacle to Christian unity.

Christian unity is related to shalom in that it doesn’t have anything to do with a lack of conflict but has everything to do with right relations.

Christian unity is not so much a destination as it is something that we are continually striving for in each present moment.

What I love about Christian unity:

It is other centered.

We get glimpses of it when we look through the eyes of the other.

It is a high ideal.

It is centered around, justice, love and mercy.

We can make it happen.

Questions I have about Christian unity:

Is Christian unity the opposite of division?

Can Christian unity exist in the midst of divisions?

Should Christian unity be more about a way of living and interacting than about a list of rules or beliefs that we agree on?

How can I have unity with someone who embraces something I believe is harmful to people?

Is Christian unity really nothing more than the agreement of a few basic ideas?

What do you think? Can we get there from here?


Here are the links to the other contributions to this month’s synchroblog. I hope you will take the time to read more.

4 thoughts on “You can’t get there from here

  1. Juliet

    ‘How can I have unity with someone who embraces something I believe is harmful to people?’ This is such an important consideration. It requires us to think carefully about what lived unity looks like. About what it means to ‘embrace something’ and about why I believe what I believe. Finally, how do I recognise and respond to what is ‘harmful’?

    Beginning with loving kindness and compassion, an awareness of my own frailty and the unbounded love God has for each one of us might help us find a way through these genuinely difficult decisions. I may not always be right but I am certain that God loves both / all of us and I will try to work from there.

    Reply
  2. Liz Post author

    Theodore, Those are some interesting thoughts on unity and division but I think if we delve deeper (on a more local or individual level) we might find that there are also divisions within the rural and within the urban. At least that is my experience as I have spent life in both.

    Reply
  3. Theodore Seeber

    One thing that I’ve been thinking lately, is that the division isn’t in the Church, but in American society.

    Quite a few of these issues come down along the rural/urban divide; and we very much have two Americas, one rural, one urban.

    Even our political parties are largely rural (republican) and urban (democrat).

    Our sexuality is very much rural (procreative) vs urban (contraceptive).

    Our business is very much rural (small family farms) vs urban (large factories and international businesses).

    And yes, our religion is rural (orthodox) vs urban (heterodox) as well.

    Until we bridge the rural/urban divide, the rest of the division in our society is truly hopeless. My one remark though- is that if you go on the earlier translations of the Didache- The Way of Death looks an awful lot like the urban side, and The Way of Life looks an awful lot like the rural side. Perhaps all we need to really do, is return to our roots.

    Reply

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