Seeking Unity Among the Divided

I’ve spent the last year or more thinking a great deal about what unity in the church should look like.  What I know clearly is that as a whole, true Christianity (the kind that the Bible says we should be living) has been under assault from within.  By that, I mean that there’s no need for the outside world to try to make Christians look bad… we do a fine job of that ourselves.

Some of the things I’ve seen in recent time that make me wonder about how “united” we really are:

  • Militant pro-lifers who resort to political bullyragging to force the compliance of others
  • Church leadership that rests upon notions of title and mandated authority, rather than moral and relational authority
  • Enormous, lavish houses of worship that appear to be monuments to material excess, while local homeless shelters go underfunded and homeless sleep in the streets
  • Church laymen who long for the “old days” of warming pews on Sunday morning, while living like God doesn’t exist for the rest of the week
  • Petty arguments and schisms within the church body on the basis of political preferences
  • Easy theologies that incorporate notions of materialism and New Age mysticism

And the list goes on and on…

There’s a great post on the Live Intentionally website written by Brandon Andress that shares some of the exact same views that I’ve had about the lack of – and the tremendous need for – unity in the church.  Andress calls it a “God-sized dream”, and there are days that I’m inclined to agree.  After all, I sometimes wonder if we have the collective wisdom and will to see the need and address it.  Sometimes I think that it will take an incredible action on God’s part to wake the “sleeping giant” that is the church and return it to its first love.  The problem is, the “action” on God’s part may be much more painful than we want to deal with if we don’t get our own act together.

I’m a leader in my congregation, whether I want to accept it or not.  As such, if unity is ever going to be realized in the body, I bear a responsibility in it.  I don’t know what that will look like, but I know how terribly important it is to God.  Our unity in the body of believers is how God will take that which Satan has divided, and still use it for God’s glory.

John 13:35 rises above the noise of our days and reminds us:

“By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35, NIV)

What is unity in Christ anyway?  Do I have the will to learn?  Do I have the will to set aside the things that divide and pursue God wholeheartedly?

Do you?