This post offers beginning reflection for a 3-part series pondering what being in community means with people we disagree.
This past fall, friend and pastor Kent Shane and I went back and forth imagining what it might mean to really claim all are welcome, all are sought, and to have a community and practice of accompaniment as part of this. It was our conversation which really sparked a series of posts that appeared on this blog in September and October. These posts included the aforementioned ones, as well as some collective thoughts on what those pieces have to do together within and regarding the congregation. And then in light of another piece I found entitled, “Hello My Name is Church,” I offered a response that continued this series and conversation.
Since the middle of the fall this conversation had quieted down on my blog, until a recent post of mine. My friend Carrie Gubsch, a great writer and thinker in her own right, had helped me edit and refine this post prior to its publishing. In her comments regarding the post she wrote, “As a follow up I would love to see a blog post on living in diverse community with people we deeply disagree with.” That is the impetus for this post. Carrie, I hope you appreciate the thoughts that follow.
So, together with that extended introduction, let’s pick up the conversation and see where it takes us.
Pondering Community with People we Disagree
On the surface, I imagine that we would all love to live in the world where we always agree with one another. In this world, we would effectively always be right. We would coexist in our agreement and unity. We would be of one mind… You can see where this logic leads. It’s not too much of a stretch to think of the horrors of a one-mind society like portrayed in George Orwell’s 1984. No, there is a beautiful thing about diversity. We are richer for it. Our conversations, communities and relationships are deeper because of it. But needless to say, it isn’t easy. In fact, its quite hard.
It is especially difficult to live in diverse community with people we deeply disagree with. If anything, the events of this past week with World Vision confirm that. But that is not to say that it is impossible to live in diverse community with people we deeply disagree with. If it were impossible, we would have given up on this notion long ago.
This post has really been about laying the groundwork for the conversation. Tomorrow, we will pick up the conversation by considering how to live in diverse community. My pondering to come is not going to be about families or systems necessarily. I am going to focus specifically on congregations, but hopefully my thoughts to come will be applicable to other communities and quite possibly even families.
What are your initial thoughts? How do you live in community with people you disagree with?
Check out the next post in the series where I dig deeper into this topic by talking directly about how to live in diverse community, and then the third post in the series which considers some theological ideas related to the conversation.
Image Credits: Open Church Door