This post is my last minute contribution to the Rally To Restore Unity that’s rippled across the blogosphere. I figured I’d post now that you are sufficiently tired of the subject.
As I mentioned recently, there are scores of churches here in Bend, Oregon, even though it’s a very progressive town (read: hippie) in a very progressive state. The churches are sometimes scattered around and sometimes they are smashed together (downtown there are three churches all within 100 feet of another. Not even Starbucks is that ambitious!)
Seeing so many churches makes me long for Christian unity. There has to be a better way than all of these Christians holed up in their sanctuary not interacting with all of the other Christians within a stone’s throw. However all of the Christians gathered in one building would make for a circus of a service as the pastor would try to hold the collective attention of 15,000 people. He’d have to enter the stage on a lion’s back holding a flame thrower. So I don’t have an answer.
The more I think about it – Christian unity doesn’t make sense. Sorry Rachel. The world is just too big, there are too many cultures at play, there is just too much, well, life. Because life isn’t unified. There is diversity everywhere. Ecosystems, the animal kingdom, primitive tribes, farming villages, and cutting edge cities – all are vastly different and contrasting, yet all belong. Trying to unify them would likely jeopardize the beauty inherent within each one and we’d lose something valuable.
So maybe unity isn’t a great goal. Not because it isn’t possible, but because it isn’t how our world is set up to be. Maybe it’s brotherhood* we’re after. Family practically implies diversity. I can’t think of many families that aren’t wildly diverse and maybe even at least semi-dysfunctional – yet they are families nonetheless. It’s their craziness that makes them beautiful.
And really that’s what we’ve lost in today’s Christian world – a sense that all of these other people are our brothers and our sisters. That we’re connected by blood. And that it just isn’t a family without them present. Sure, that guy wants you to send him a “faith” check, and sure that broseph is yelling about drums in worship, and yeah that dude’s got ugly tattoos and a wild imagination about salvation – yet brotherhood.
*for the record I’m not sexist, I would have called it siblinghood rather than brotherhood – but it just doesn’t work. I’ve got nothing against my sisters out there – y’all rock.