Short Thoughts on Unity in the Midst of Diversity

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Recently I was reminded of the fact that election season is upon us. In my home state of Kentucky, there were some important elections that took place. The result of the race for Kentucky’s next governor was close. It was so close the election was (or still is?) disputed. What we are witnessing in Kentucky is a reminder of the deep-seated division present in our country. I would imagine what we’ve seen in Kentucky is merely a microcosm of what we’ll see in 2020 with the presidential election.

It really is amazing to see the angst people display over political matters. But that’s somewhat understandable. Politics, in many ways, is about justice. It’s about how we do things in ways that are just, right, or prudent. Therefore, it makes sense that people are passionate about such things. Christians are not exempt from such passion. Those who follow Jesus care about politics precisely because we care about justice, about right and wrong, about human flourishing.

Yet, political matters are complex matters, aren’t they? Immigration reform, foreign policy questions, trillion-dollar budget questions, are insanely complex. And, If we are honest, most of us do not have the expertise to know how to handle every political issue our nation faces. Given our relative lack of expertise, I would urge all of us to adopt a posture of humility. Furthermore, let us pray for amazing levels of grace as we think about the future, talk about voting options, and engage with those who vote in ways we do not understand or do not agree with. In order for this to happen, we’ll need the Spirit to continually fill us up (Eph. 5:18) as we give ourselves to constancy in prayer, reading our Bibles in order to renew our minds, and helping each other think thoughtfully about all of life, even the voting booth.

One of the things that will help us is to remember both our unity and our diversity. Just like this country is amazingly diverse, so too the church is a diverse people. We are diverse in terms of ethnicity, culture, personalities, theological leanings, giftedness, and even learning styles. And the larger the church (both local and universal!) becomes, the more complexity will be present.

But diversity isn’t something to fear. No, we celebrate our rich and profound differences. And we do so while remembering that though we are diverse, when it comes to Christians around the world and through the ages, we are also one. We are one because through faith we have all been united to the one Christ. It is in Jesus that God has brought the peoples (Jew and Gentile) of the world together. Our unity runs deep, all the way to the cross of Calvary (see Eph 2:11–22). And as we pursue unity in our diversity, we point towards our God who exists as one in three, himself a unity in diversity.

So, embrace differences. Learn from those who are not like you. Rejoice that God literally saves all kinds through the singular savior of the world, Jesus of Nazareth. And, in the midst of our diversity, let us aim by the power of the Spirit to eagerly maintain our divinely-wrought unity in the bond of peace (Eph 4:3).

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