7/31/2006

Barren River Lake and Disagreements

I'm spending the week at Barren River State Park Resort in Lucas, Kentucky. (Didn't I just say that?) We do have internet access so I may share a bit this week. So far it's hot, and really hot. We're going to spend the week visiting Mammoth Cave, the Corvette Museum and a few other things I don't know yet. (And yes, tomorrow is Cassie and my 19th anniversary. I think I'll do the song thing tonight, tho.)
I wrote a new article for the "Opening the Bible" blog at i.ucc. It's called "Disagreements."
(But here at St. Matthew family camp -- there are none.)

Disagreements

An acquaintance told me that since there is but one Spirit and one body then there can be no disagreements among those who follow Jesus. If there are, then someone must be straying from the Spirit.I told them that was an interesting opinion but I disagreed.
In this weeks Bible passage, Ephesians 4:1-16, we find the author calling the readers to unity. I see words that acknowledge that all are unified in Gods Spirit. But I also see words that seem to react to the exact opposite situation. Phrases like We must no longer be children tossed to and from and blown about by every wind of doctrine ... show a group of people in turmoil forgetting their unity because of the things they are fighting about. I see a call to look past the disagreements to what binds us together instead of fighting, arguing and battling until one opinion prevails.I read this passage and see hope. I see hope that the body of Christ, knowing that we are bound together through Gods spirit, can focus on the things we agree on.

  • We agree that those who are hungry should have enough to eat
  • We agree that life is something to be protected
  • We agree that people should have adequate shelter in which to live
  • We agree that those who have too little should have enough.
  • We agree that loving God and loving our neighbor are the two commandments Jesus called the most important.
Unfortunately, we tend to focus on what we sometimes or often disagree on

  • We disagree about how to address the issue of abortion.
  • We disagree about how to address homosexuality.
  • We disagree about how to feed the hungry.
  • We disagree about how to care for those who do not have enough.
  • We disagree about what issues should be primary and what issues we are allowed to disagree on.

How do we go about addressing our unity as our primary focus?
How do we prioritize what we do agree on as a way to continue focusing on our unity?
How do we address where we disagree while were accomplishing the preceding two questions?How do we find ways to celebrate our unity . . . and our disagreements?

2 comments:

James Hutchins said...

Nice Post over at iUCC.

The only concern is the question "How do we go about addressing our unity as our primary focus?"

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Is 'unity' really our primary focus? I'm not saying it shouldn't be a priority, I just wonder if it's the highest priority. Outside of our agreement on 'the essentials' I think the priority should be 'covenant', not 'unity'. The distinction is important because we can still be in covenant with each other (listening, empathizing, trying to reach understanding) while disagreeing. Unity implies agreement in thought which I think is impossible... particularly coming from our Congregational heritage. I think one of the real assets we have as a denomination is that we don't have to be in agreement and we have the freedom to challenge each other. I contrast this with other more patriarchal denominations where 'the party line' comes from central figures. I think we benefit from disagreement and the diversity of opinions ~as long as we remain in covenant.

Kirk said...

I like your take on unity and covenant. Deciding to work together even though we aren't of one mind (and as you put it -- even because) has to be one of our primary goals.