Archive for the ‘#unity’ Tag

Body Language   Leave a comment

For just as the body is one and yet has many membersand all the members of the body – though many – are one bodyso too is Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one bodyWhether Jews or Greeks or slaves or freewe were all made to drink of the one Spirit. For in fact the body is not a single memberbut many.  If the foot says“Since I am not a handI am not part of the body,” it does not lose its membership in the body because of that. And if the ear says“Since I am not an eyeI am not part of the body,” it does not lose its membership in the body because of that.  (1Corinthians 12:12-16)

 

Related imageHave you ever tried to go a day without using your non-dominate hand? Most of us who are right handed don’t use our left hands for much requiring dexterity, but I think if we didn’t have use of it, we’d be at a serious disadvantage to all the people with two hands.

Now, imagine if you lost that hand entirely. You couldn’t get it back. Yeah. Most of us, if we had a choice, would not choose to cut off a limb, and if we had a functioning limb, we wouldn’t choose not to use it … except as some weird writer exercise.

The Corinthian Christians don’t seem to have seen it this way. In a spiritual sense, they effectively cut off every member of the body except those who had a certain kind of gift and ministry. The Corinthians didn’t esteem all of the spiritual gifts, but seemed fixated upon only one or a few gifts, while disdaining the rest. As a result, those who didn’t possess the prize gift(s) concluded they had nothing to contribute to the church body. Others who did possess the highly regarded gift(s) felt smugly independent of the rest of the body.

Paul used the term “body” nearly 20 times in Chapter 12. He indicated the church is Christ’s body, the image of which should be illustrative of the nature and function of the church. One of the serious problems facing the Corinthian church was disunity. Paul didn’t hesitate to bring up the problem of factions at the outset of the letter (1:10). These divisions were certainly related to allegiances to certain leaders (1:12, etc.), but they may are also tied to what we might call strengths and weaknesses (1:18-31). Divisions were so intense they had even resulted in lawsuits brought before secular courts (6:1). The Corinthian Christian who thought he was wise and knew so much was the one who believed he was free to participate in heathen idol worship ceremonies without any concern that his doing so might cause another saint to stumble (8:1-13).

Paul wanted the Corinthians to stop thinking and acting like their behavior didn’t affect anyone else and to begin to act with a sense of corporate identity and responsibility. In athletic terms, Paul wanted the Corinthians to begin to think and behave like a team, rather than like a bunch of spiritual “Lone Rangers”. Paul introduced the imagery of the body to correct the Corinthians’ misconceptions concerning spiritual gifts.

Many images are employed for the people of God … a priesthood, a race, a nation, and a temple (see 1 Peter 2:4-9Ephesians 2:11-22). God’s people are referred to as a vine or a vineyard, which is to produce fruit (Isaiah 5John 15, etc.). The people of God are described as the bride, or wife, of God (see Isaiah 62:5Jeremiah 2:32-35; Hosea; Revelation 21:2, 9; 22:17). We are also likened to a flock of sheep, of which God is the Shepherd (see Psalm 23John 10; 21:15-17), and elders are under-shepherds (1 Peter 5:1-4).

Only the Paul referred to the church as a body. I’m going to attribute it to his traveling companion Luke, a physician. The church of Jesus Christ is His body. Every believer, whether Jew or Greek, slave or free, is joined to the body of Christ by the baptism of the Holy Spirit (verse 13). There is one body into which every saint is baptized. There is but one people of God. The distinction between Jew and Gentile is abolished in Christ (Ephesians 2:11-22).

The imagery of the church as the body of Christ underscores the unity of all believers (Ephesians 4:3-6). It shows how evil and counter-productive the divisions in the Corinthian church were. My identity is found in Christ, because I am a part of His body. My righteousness is Christ’s righteousness. His death is mine; His resurrection and new life, mine (see Romans 6:1-11). As a Christian, I cannot think of myself only as an individual. I must perceive myself as a part of the church … as a part of Christ’s body. To identify with Christ by faith is also to identify with His body, the church. No wonder Paul so quickly joins himself to fellow-believers (see Acts 9:19, 26). As a wife merges her identity with her husband, becoming one flesh, so the believer merges his or her identity with the body of Christ, the church. Those who fail to identify themselves with the body of Christ are disobedient in their refusal (see Hebrews 10:25).

Ah, but while we are one body, we have many functions. The Corinthian church was blessed with the full spectrum of spiritual gifts (see 1:4-7). Yet, in spite of this very broad range of gifts granted to this church, only a few select gifts were valued. Carrying forward with the metaphor of the body, if the Corinthian church had its way, the entire body would be only one organ.

If the whole body were an eyewhat part would do the hearing? If the whole were an earwhat part would exercise the sense of smell? But as a matter of fact, God has placed each of the members in the body just as he decidedIf they were all the same memberwhere would the body be? So now there are many membersbut one body. The eye cannot say to the hand“I do not need you,” nor in turn can the head say to the foot“I do not need you.” On the contrarythose members that seem to be weaker are essential, and those members we consider less honorable we clothe with greater honorand our unpresentable members are clothed with dignity, (1Corinthians 12:17-23) 

Repeatedly, Paul emphasized that the body is one, but the members are many (see verses 12, 13, 14, 18, 20, 27). Christian unity does not mean uniformity. We’re not factory made. While there is only one body of Christ, there are many different members, many different limbs and organs, each of which has a unique role to play in the body. Paul emphasized that each member has a role that is essential to the health and ministry of the body, the church.

As a member of the church, the body of Christ, we find we are a part of a much greater whole—we belong to an organism whose “head” is Christ and whose function is to represent Christ to a fallen world. As a member of the universal church, we also find our true identity as an individual. The body imagery illustrates the individuality of every Christian. Each believer is, in body terms, an individual organ or member. Each believer is uniquely gifted with a blending of spiritual gifts and is given a particular function within the body. No two saints have the same place in the body. Thus, each believer is unique. In one sense, the Christian is inseparably joined to the whole body, and in another, each believer is absolutely unique in the body. We have our identity with Christ’s body and in His body.

Notice how this union with Christ’s body shaped Paul’s view of his own ministry, particularly of his sufferings:

but our presentable members do not need this. InsteadGod has blended together the bodygiving greater honor to the lesser member, so that there may be no division in the bodybut the members may have mutual concern for one another. If one member sufferseveryone suffers with it. If a member is honoredall rejoice with it. (1Corinthians 12:24-26)

Paul saw himself as inseparably joined to the body of Christ. He viewed his ministry as Christ’s ministry. He viewed his sufferings for Christ as Christ’s sufferings. He saw his message as that of Christ and the power by which he ministered as His power, manifested through him. Paul summed up this matter in his own words to the Philippians:

For I know that this shall turn out for my deliverance through your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I shall not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ shall even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain (Philippians 1:19-21).

Most of the Corinthian Christians wanted to be something they were not. The “foot” wanted to be a “hand” (12:15); the “ear” wished it were an “eye” (12:16). The matter of spiritual gifts and placement in the body of Christ is not something we control. Our spiritual gifts, our place of service in the body, and the results of our ministry are all divinely determined (12:4-6).

When we are discontent with the gift(s) God has given us, our protest is against the Holy Spirit of God, the sovereign Giver of gifts. To question either the Spirit’s goodness, or His infinite wisdom in giving us our gifts, is like my foot deciding it will no longer listen to my brain. While biologically possible, it’s not to my foot’s benefit. The Holy Spirit knows what the whole body of Christ needs far better than we do.

Spiritual gifts are “graces” sovereignly bestowed upon believers. Spiritual gifts, like salvation, are not a matter of merit. Gifts are not earned; they are sovereignly graced upon us. Because of this, those who take pride in their gifts reveal their own foolishness and ignorance (see 1 Corinthians 4:7).

Those who mistake gifts as an evidence of spirituality or of status are wrong, and those who mistake their gift as a symbol of insignificance are just as wrong in that they demean the sovereign work of the Holy Spirit in their lives.

This sovereign gracing is amply evidenced in the Book of Acts. Where are gifts ever given as a reward for service? Where are particular gifts granted because men sought them? In Acts 2Acts 8Acts 10, and Acts 19, the baptism and the gifts of the Holy Spirit were not sought; they came as a surprise to those who are granted them. I think that because the Corinthians highly valued a very few gifts and disdained the rest, these prized gifts were sought and perhaps even falsely pretended. I see Christians today trying desperately to obtain certain gifts, and I have to ask why. If they are sovereignly bestowed, why must we strive to get them?

A New Set of Standards

Now you are Christ’s bodyand each of you is a member of it. And God has placed in the church first apostlessecond prophetsthird teachersthen miraclesgifts of healinghelpsgifts of leadershipdifferent kinds of tongues. Not all are apostlesare they? Not all are prophetsare they? Not all are teachersare they? Not all perform miraclesdo they? Not all have gifts of healingdo they? Not all speak in tonguesdo they? Not all interpretdo they? But you should be eager for the greater giftsAnd now I will show you a way that is beyond comparison. (1Corinthians 12:27-31)

There’s a real surprise of our text! The imagery of the body amazingly illustrates that the most visible, most attractive parts of the body are not the most important. I have a friend whose son was born with a birth defect … he lacked a rectum. While you can live without a hand, you can’t live without the functions involved with rectum. The “child” is now an adult and living an active life, but it took dozens of surgeries to correct his problem and every one of those surgeries were necessary for him to live. Conversely, I have cousins who were born deaf. While that complicates their lives, they have never been in fear of death from their disability. Getting a cochlear implant is a voluntary procedure. Similarly, the more attractive gifts of singing and preaching get all the attention in churches, but most churches would find it difficult to function without the janitor and the treasurer. While often we think these people are not really gifted, the gifts of administration and helps are found in the New Testament listened right along with preaching and prophesying (but not singing, which might give you some pause).

Paul rebuked these status-seeking saints at Corinth when he turned their value system upside-down. The body illustrates what he is teaching. Those members of the body which are of the least importance are those to which we devote the most attention and effort. We paint our toenails, put rings on our ears, and noses! We put rings and jewelry on our fingers. Truthfully, we can live without ears (or hearing), eyes (or seeing), fingers, hands, legs, toes. The least needed members of our body are the ones which are most visible and to which the most “glory” is given. Yet, they are the lesser gifts. Those gifts which are most visible, most vocal, most glorified in the Corinthian church were, in reality, the least important gifts. The Corinthians had been storing up sand in their safety deposit boxes and using gold for stepping stones.

The most important gifts, like the most important organs, are those which are not visible or spectacular, those of which we are least conscious. You cannot see my spleen, my kidneys, my liver, or my heart, but I cannot live without them. They do not get a lot of attention, but they are the most vital members of my body, whether others value them or not.

The concept of the church as the body of Christ should change our way of thinking of ourselves and of the church.

Within the body of Christ, we are far too individualistic in our thinking. We are far too competitive in our thinking and actions, so that the advance or success of others is viewed as a personal setback for us. We must begin to think cooperatively, realizing that the success of other saints is our victory, and, more importantly, our Lord’s victory. We need to strive not only for our own growth in Christ, but for the corporate and collective growth of the entire church (see Ephesians 4:11-16).

The concept of the church as the body of Christ should cause us to think in terms of the local church, but also beyond the local church.

The “church” is the body of Christ, but in the New Testament the “church” is often bigger than just one local church. Paul spoke of “the church” as those believers in a certain political or geographical setting (e.g., the seven “churches” of Asia in Revelation 2 and 3). In contemporary terms, there are many local churches in towns across America, but we might also think in terms of the collective of several churches that is in a particular town, the entire body of believers in a town. We speak of the church “in America” or “in Russia”. In prison ministry, we speak of the church “behind the walls.”

Just as individual believers think and act competitively, so local churches can fall into the same error. There should be ways in which we, as individual believers and as a local churches, express our identification with the larger “church.” Southern/Great Commission Baptists express this through our Cooperative Program, but all too often, even that fails to expand our minds beyond the four walls of our own congregation. We fixate on a handful of people killed in a mass shooting in some American city, but we ignore the deadly virus killing hundreds of thousands in Africa, for example. There isn’t the same degree of concern or involvement, yet African Christians are part of the body of Christ. They depend upon us, as we depend upon them. We should avoid isolationism in the church of our Lord Jesus Christ.

While there is a sense in which the body is to support and provide for the needs of each individual member, let us never forget that this is not the primary purpose of the church. 

Too many people attend church to have their “needs met.” Too many people leave churches, complaining that the church has not met their needs. The church is to build up itself in love, but the goal of the church is to live out the life of our Lord Jesus Christ, to His glory. We, the church, are the body of Christ. This means we, as the church, are to carry on His ministry in the world today. The church ministers to itself, to build itself up so that it may carry out its mission, and that mission is living out Christ in a fallen world. We have become so preoccupied with the church’s ministry to us as individuals that we have failed to concentrate on the church’s mission to the world, and our obligation to sacrifice ourselves in ministry to and through the church to the world. The question is not, “What is the church doing for me?” The question should be, “What can I contribute to the church to participate in its fulfillment of its mission and calling?“

Christians who are a part of the church, the body of Christ, need to understand that while differences may be the basis for division and strife in the world, these differences are by divine design and are intended to enhance our dependence upon one another, and thus to illustrate true Christian unity.

Unity is not evidenced by uniformity but by harmony and interdependence as each individual saint carries out his or her unique function in the body. That which results in division in the fallen world in which we live should be the occasion for unity and harmony in the church. We should not all want to look alike or function alike, but each should function as God has made him or her, so that the body is benefited by our presence and ministry. As God made Jews and Gentiles, slave and free, male and female, one in Christ, we need to demonstrate this unity in diversity, because we are one body.

The concept of the church as a body calls into question one of the important operating principles of the modern day “church growth movement.” 

For most of my Christian life, I have attended churches that lacked homogeneity, but that is not the standard practice of American churches. In fact, homogeneous groupings are considered “best practices.” The principle goes something like this:

  • Birds of a feather flock together.
  • People are more comfortable around “their kind.”
  • There’s statistical evidence that the churches which are growing the fastest are those whose membership is largely of the same racial, social, and economic class.

The churches of today are encouraged to appeal to, or target, a particular segment of society. Rather than apologize for this, they are assured they will enjoy the fruits of success. I think that flies in the face of the imagery of the church as the body of Christ. I think it’s an affront to the gospel itself. We shouldn’t seek to present a look-alike face to the world. That condemns us to our own cultural values and way of thinking. We should strive to be different, as God intended, with each church member contributing our unique gifts and ministries which He has given, to the edification of the church and to the glory of God.

Agreeing   Leave a comment

This is a series on 1Corinthians, which has been the subject of personal Bible study around our house of late because of a friend who has a perverted view of Christianity.

Image result for image of corinthian divisionsThe first nine verses of 1 Corinthians 1 introduced Paul’s letter. Here is our treatment of that and here is a little bit of the history of Corinth.

Paul wrote from Ephesus to the believers at Corinth, but also to believers everywhere and at all time. He thanked God for the salvation of the Christians at Corinth before he launched into correcting their errors. Their problem was not that they did not know God, but that they were not listening to God’s direction and choosing to allow their culture to affect their beliefs rather than the other way around.

The lessons Paul had for the saints of his day are applicable to our own lives in the 21 century. The conflicts which existed then are still very much with us today. We have conflict and strife in the churches, our homes, and at work. The gospel strikes at the heart of interpersonal conflicts, then and now.

A Biblical Challenge Regarding Corinthian Conflicts
(1:10-12)

I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to agree together, to end your divisions, and to be united by the same mind and purpose. For members of Chloe’s household have made it clear to me, my brothers and sisters, that there are quarrels among you. Now I mean this, that each of you is saying, “I am with Paul,” or “I am with Apollos,” or “I am with Cephas,” or “I am with Christ.”

Paul did not begin his correction of the Corinthian church with the problem of divisions but with a positive exhortation to maintain Christian unity. Paul’s call to unity in verse 10 sets the standard. Paul was not exhorting the saints to “all agree” on every subject. Remember, this letter was not written in English. This is a translation of ancient Greek. English does not have the same nuance as Paul’s language, so yes, you do need to dig into the language to understand what Paul meant. When we get to Chapters 8-10, which deal with matters of conscience, Paul clearly expected Christians to disagree on matters of conscience. He did not expect Christians to be in total agreement because our gifts influence our perspective and our viewpoint.

The textual critics claim the literal reading of this verse is “to speak the same thing.” This is quite different from agreeing on everything. When Christians have different convictions, they are not to publicly dispute with one another over them (Romans 14:1). When disagreements on non-fundamental areas of Christian doctrine arise, we are not supposed to air those disagreements before non-Christians and we really ought to be more circumspect about arguing over non-fundamental areas of doctrine.

Although the Greek word for ‘divisions’ (schismata) is that from which we derive the English word ‘schism,’ it does not in fact mean that, at least not in the sense of a ‘party’ or ‘faction.’ The word properly means ‘tear/rent’ (cf. Mark 2:21) or the ‘plowing’ of a field. The best illustration of the present usage is found in the Gospel of John (7:40-43; 9:16; 10:19-21), where various groups are said to have divided opinions about Jesus, meaning they were arguing with one another as to his significance. Thus Paul does not refer to distinctly formed groups of ‘parties’ here, but to divided opinions over their various leaders, which according to v. 11 and 3:3 have developed into jealousy and quarrels. Gordon D. Fee, The First Epistle to the Corinthians, The New International Commentary, F. F. Bruce, General Editor, (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1987 [reprint, 1993]), p. 54.

Paul also wrote that the Christians in Corinth were to be made complete “in the same mind” and “in the same judgment.” For Paul, maturity was not just an individual matter but a corporate growth. Maturity is the process of the mending relationships that takes place through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Maturity and unity are inseparable. Those who are truly growing in Christ are those who are both growing up and growing together:

And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love (Ephesians 4:11-16).

Having the “same mind” refers to the more general “disposition” or “way of thinking” of the Christian. To have “the same mind” is to have the same outlook or perspective. To have “the same judgment” is to agree as to a particular decision, to agree on a particular issue.

There are examples in other parts of the Bible. When the apostles and the rest of the 120 saints gathered in the upper room (Acts 1:12-14), they were all like-minded. They were one in spirit and in focus. And when they (rightly or wrongly) selected Matthias as the replacement for Judas, they came to the “same judgment.” They reached a particular decision with unity. The same kind of decision-making process can be seen in Acts 6:1-6 and 15:1-35. It wasn’t that they didn’t have disagreements that required debate, but that they came to an agreement that was acceptable to the whole and then stopped arguing about it.

If we were speaking in musical terms, Paul was not calling for the church to sing in unison—everyone singing the same note at the same time. Instead, he urged the entire church to sing in harmony. In a full voice choir, the many voices might sing different notes or the same notes in different keys and sometimes the bass or soprano section might sing something that sounds quite different from what the rest of the choir is singing. Yet all work to create a harmonious whole, a song that is beautiful. This is what Christian unity is about, being in harmony with one another even as we sometimes emphasize different parts of scripture or even do not wholly agree on secondary matters. Unfortunately, the Corinthian saints were not living up to the standard Paul set for them. There were quarrels and divisions in the church and Chloe’s people had told him of it. By the way, you might notice that Chloe’s people did not ignore what was going on and say “It’s none of our business”. They reported their concerns to Paul.

Paul wasn’t just concerned that the Corinthians were divided on which human to follow. There was also a group that were very proud of following Christ. Why would that be an issue? Because those who were “of Christ” did not need Paul, Apollos, or Cephas. They didn’t need an apostle. Today, some would insist they don’t even need the Bible. They can discern Christ’s mind by themselves without any outside help from others. These autonomous folks are the most frightening group of all because anyone seeking to correct them is considered “infidel”. These folks were saying, in essence, that we can’t know the mind of Christ if we don’t agree with those who believe themselves to have special insight from Christ. Paul agreed that these folks were the ones who most needed correction.

Paul’s Correction for Corinthian Conflicts
(1:13-17)

Paul’s rebuke and rebuttal to the Corinthian sin begins at verse 13 of chapter 1 and continues on through chapter 4, but in this lesson, we’re going to focus on just four verses of Chapter 1:

Is Christ divided? Paul wasn’t crucified for you, was he? Or were you in fact baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one can say that you were baptized in my name! (I also baptized the household of Stephanus. Otherwise, I do not remember whether I baptized anyone else.For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel – and not with clever speech, so that the cross of Christ would not become useless.

Related imagePaul told the Corinthians, and by extension, Christians living in the 21st century, that there is no middle ground. You either are a follower of Christ or of men.

Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?

Paul went right to the core question:

Salvation is the work of Christ or it is a work of men. It cannot be both. All four of the groups mentioned by Paul in verse 12 were man-centered. The fourth group was a little more subtle about it, but all of these individuals took pride in themselves, based upon their perceived allegiance. Paul made a clear and unmistakable point:

Our salvation is totally about Christ’s work.

Man-centered believers need to be reminded of the gospel and recall that their salvation is Christ-centered. Christ has not been divided, so how can His body, the church, be divided? It was not Paul, Apollos, or Cephas, or any other mere human who died on the cross of Calvary. It was Christ Whose shed blood cleansed us from all sin.

Baptism is merely a symbol testifying to this fact. All of the Corinthian saints were baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. They were not baptized in the name of any man. Salvation is through Christ alone, and not through mere people, even if they were apostles.

I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, that no man should say you were baptized in my name. Now I did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized any other. For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, that the cross of Christ should not be made void.

Baptism is a very prominent theme in these verses. Paul mentioned it six times. Some took pride in the person who baptized them, hinting that they looked down on others who were not baptized by as great a celebrity as their baptizer. Paul let the air out of their name-dropping balloons by telling them that baptism is not a celebrity affair. In fact, compared to preaching of the gospel, baptizing was a low priority for him. Do they take pride in the one who baptized them? Paul was glad he had not made baptizing a priority, because that meant they couldn’t claim his special seal of approval.

Paul viewed preaching the gospel as a much higher priority than baptizing new converts. Paul saw salvation as something which occurs independently of baptism. Baptism is important in that it is the believer’s public identification with Jesus Christ, but it is not the means of one’s salvation. It’s merely the outward manifestation of salvation. Paul rejected the doctrine of baptismal regeneration. People are saved by believing the gospel, and it was Paul’s priority to preach it. Baptism took second place to preaching in Paul’s life and ministry.

Jesus applied the same priority to proclaiming the gospel over working miracles in Mark 1:29-38.

This is why Brad and I can be involved in ministries like the Community Food Bank, the Rescue Mission and Prison Fellowship. There are denominational and theological differences among the groups that work in these interdominational groups, but we make it clear that proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ is our primary goal in these ministries. Secondary practices and doctrines, while important, can prevent us from working together in unity, so we set those aside for the higher priority.

Finding Unity in Division   Leave a comment

I’ve been thinking about societal cohesion because in Daermad Cycle (my fantasy series), the secret for overcoming the advancing Svard invasion is for the Celdryans to ask the Kin to join them in the fight.

I set that up in the first book The Willow Branch. “A healer must mend a fractured kingdom and bring two enemy races together before a greater threat can destroy them both.” Now I have to start bring it about.

The problem is that the Kin have every reason not to trust the Celdryans. The Celdryans pushed them off their lands into inadequate mountain enclaves and have maintained that exile by fomenting bigotry in Celdryan children for generations. Now that it is convenient and necessary, the Celdryans can’t expect the Kin to just join them and then later see themselves once more subjugated by the Celdryans.

Image result for image of societal cohesionThat’s the problem with deeply divided societies. They are often divided because of entrenched mistrusts borne of a huge amount of disrespect. Yeah, maybe the Celdryans think it would be better for the Kin to join them in fighting the Svard because it gives both groups a chance of prevailing, but the existing division has worked better for the Kin than previous attempts at cohesion have. Demands for inclusion sound like demands for their subjugation, which makes them feel threatened.

It’s something we ought to be considering in the United States right now. Approximately 40% of the country voted like a minority group and swung an election. I had a guy on the Alaska Dispatch the other day ask me “What should Hillary supporters do to reach out to Trump voters and bring about unity?” Not being a Trump voter, I couldn’t really answer him. Instead, I suggested exactly what I’m saying in this post.

If you want cohesion with a group within your society that you have previously treated like crap, demanding cohesion (sometimes called “unity”) is not how to go about it. In fact, it’s probably counter-productive. Nobody wants to abandon their own identity to become someone “other” and submit to majoritarian dominance. Those who are now stomping their political feet and demanding that they be allowed to stay in charge after they lost an election are only making the divisions deeper.

Stop talking about unity and cohesion and try listening for a while. Try showing some respect to those “unskilled illiterates” in the “flyover states” who mine the energy that heats your home, grow your food, and provide so many things in your life that you take for granted. Get to know some of them as — gasp — equals. Walk for five minutes in their shoes. Get to know what is important to them and, more importantly, why it is important to them. Pause and ask yourself if you really know what the best lifestyle is or are you just clinging to your own social niche because it’s all you know.

If you really want to build a harmonious, unified society, take one for the team.  Discard your anger, swallow your pride, and show out-groups unilateral respect and friendship. Let them teach you for a couple of years and then see where you stand on the other side. Your new friends might have come to accept some of your position and you may have come to accept … or at least understand … some of their positions.

Whoa, that sounds like “cohesion”.

Posted November 28, 2016 by aurorawatcherak in culture

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a voracious reader. | a book blogger.

cupidcupid999

adventure, art, nature, travel, photography, wildlife - animals, and funny stuff

Republic-MainStreet

The Peaceful Revolution Liberate Main Street

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