October 17, 2008

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From Moses to Google: When Unity Isn't the Answer The most common way we become an obstacle to Christ’s work is actually disguised as Christian virtue. It stirs the emotions of tender-and-almost-bleeding-hearted believers everywhere. It comes in the language of unity. No doubt you’ve heard it. “All denominations should go away; we should all just work as one.” “We should just have one main church, one main missions organization, with one person in charge, or a committee where everyone has a say. We don’t need all these different ministries or organizations.” “We need a city-wide rally where all the churches come together for a night of worship.” The list is long. But if you listen closely, the plea is not truly for unity; it is for uniformity. It is not for collaboration; it is for control. It is not for single-mindedness; it is for “sameness”. When unity comes to mean sameness, unity is no longer the answer. When unity is about one method, one organization, or one event, it elevates a person. When unity is about one desire, one mission, or one goal, it elevates a purpose. The diversity and dissimilarity of the Body of Christ is not its weakness; it is its greatest strength. We don’t all need to follow the same methods or the same human leader, or participate in the same program or campaign. We don’t even need to sing the same songs. [Ouch. That one’s going to hurt me personally.] Diversity—whether applied to races, cultures, or ways of following Christ—is an idea we love to talk about and swear allegiance to with our lips, but one that we have great difficulty actually embracing. We like the way we are. And deep down we wish everyone else could be as wonderful as we are. It’s one thing when we choose our friends by the things we...

Glenn Packiam

Lead Pastor, new life DOWNTOWN, New Life Church, Colorado Springs, CO. Author and songwriter.

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