Tales from the Great Adventure

a journal of living-like-we-mean-it, by Derek Maul

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image from UniversalAccord.com

I heard a loud voice from the throne. It said, “Now God’s home is with people. He will live with them. They will be his people. God himself will be with them and will be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death, sadness, crying, or pain. All the old ways are gone.” The one who was sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this, because these words are true and can be trusted.” – Revelation 21:3-5

It’s a quiet Saturday morning, and I’m sitting at my computer taking a deep breath.

It’s a deep breath in response to the tragic social conflagration of these past few days. I – like many Americans – am more than a little shaken by what has transpired, both in terms of the violence itself and, even more, some of the reaction.

So I am taking pause. I believe it’s something we all should do. A long deep breath. Take pause, yes, but then do something.

Early this morning, at my men’s Bible study, we enjoyed a long and very helpful conversation surrounding the way our society is breaking off into factions and building walls around their identity, their ideology, their politics, their preferences, their prejudices, even their religion.

What’s happening, almost on a structural level, is a new brittleness. When we fragment in this way we literally fall apart. We’re like Lego pieces but with the bumps and hollows shaved off. There’s no meld anymore.

What’s happening, almost on a structural level, is a new brittleness. When we fragment in this way we literally fall apart. We’re like Lego pieces but with the bumps and hollows shaved off. There’s no meld anymore.

So I’m taking this long, deep breath this morning, and I’m thinking about it all some more.

357b9-unity-bmpBEYOND COMMON GROUND: Up until now my take on this conversation had been about finding common ground and getting together on that basis. But now I’m thinking maybe mutuality isn’t that important anymore. Instead, what should be bringing us together is intention. Common ground probably accounts for the majority of where we stand in relation to one another – but it doesn’t seem to bring us together so much because everyone still wants to draw attention to the stuff that defines (and separates) our little fortresses.

So what brings us together needs to be more intention than commonality. We must make the choice to live in community rather than wait for what we agree on to automatically lock in.

What brings us together needs to be more intention than commonality. We must make the choice to live in community…

Here’s what I’d like to see. The Christian Church – for example – has been splitting and dividing so much over the past couple of decades and over a whole host of issues. We seem to believe we need to be around people who are – this phrase has been used a lot (and I reject it) – “like-minded.”

I think that’s a load of bunk! That kind of self-segregation is unhealthy on so many levels. My vision is that we become the kind of church where it’s okay to worship with people who are all over the place theologically, socially, politically, racially, and just about every “dig a moat and pull up the drawbridge” category of disagreement we can imagine!

That’s not like minded, that’s Christ minded.

You see, I believe that the bumps and hollows that hold us together (remember the Legos…?) should be less what we have in common and more our INTENTION – our decision to live in unity. Not uniformity, mind, but unity; there’s a big difference.

CHOOSE TO BE TOGETHER: I’d like to see not only our faith community but our greater community of Wake Forest teeming with people who cover the spectrum of social and political diversity… yet who simply CHOOSE to be together as a body of people who love and respect one another, regardless.

We cannot afford – America can no longer afford – to huddle under so many segregationist labels! Color. Race. Religion. Denomination. Political affiliation. Age. Gender identity. Name your issue.

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Instead, what must hold us together is intention. Intention that reaches out, shakes hands, hugs necks, sips coffee, shares casseroles, loves one another’s children, prays together, plays together. Intention that is brave, and compassionate. Intention that refuses to build any more walls.

– DEREK

 

4 thoughts on “the new social brittleness (taking a long deep breath)

  1. Karen Jones says:

    I met this small anonymous poem when I was a disaffected teenager. It helped me and has stayed with me.
    “He drew a circle that shut me out, heretic, rebel, a thing to flout;
    But love and I had the wit to win, we drew a circle that took him in.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. pastorpete51 says:

    Thanks for sharing your heart during this important moment in our nation. It seems we are becoming a nation that is quick to get angry, quick to speak and slow to listen. We need to ask God to touch our hearts to turn that order around to match His word, Be blessed Derek!

    Liked by 1 person

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