The culture wars of the last number of years are really taking a toll on me. I don't know about you, but I can hardly stand to unlock my phone or turn on the TV each morning for fear of what the latest controversy will be. I just can't take anymore.
This week the student walk outs became a battle between those who argued for "walk out" to ask for gun control legislation vs. those who argued for "walk up" to someone who is marginalized and be a friend and a listener. What has me confused is why we keep arguing with each other rather than working together toward the same goal. My simple response to these two groups is, "Why not do both?"
Everyone agrees that we need to avoid any more senseless murder of our kids in schools, our congregants in churches, and our neighbors at the movies or in a nightclub. We do not have to agree about how we get there. We can agree to divide and conquer, wishing each other the best of luck on the path we each choose to take. We need to see one another as partners working toward the same goals instead of enemies. What happened to our ability to be respectfully disagreeing friends instead of foes?
My prayer for each of you in our church family is that you will commit to praying for and blessing those who are working toward the goal of less murder. If you are a "more gun control person" work hard on that and pray for those who are working on addressing issues of mental health. If you are a "mental health person" work hard on that and pray for those working on gun control. And in the moment when either group is at a tipping point and real change is hanging in the balance, we should all show up to push it across the finish line. For we all want the same result of safer schools, churches, and public spaces...even if we disagree on the steps to get there.
The idea of divide and conquer is not new, and yet our failure to live it out will leave us simply divided and conquered. And every time I watch the news I feel a lot more divided and conquered. My soul cries out every day for the unity that Jesus went to God in prayer for on our behalf (John 17:21).
I commit to working on the area of this issue (and any other) that speaks to me, AND I commit to showing up in support of either group when a tipping point is about to be reached. Will you?
At least here within MCCGSL, can we stand up and refuse to turn our neighbors into our enemies, refuse to divide our churches and families, and choose instead to work together in unity toward any and all forms of growth, progress, and hope? That is my prayer for us that I offer up along with Jesus's unity prayer.