Continuing thoughts on Jack Reese's The Body Broken...
We were privileged to have Jack visit with us last night. One thread that ran throughout his comments was the imperative to avoid being divided by disagreement and diversity.
This theme appears throughout the book as well, including the second chapter. The discussion of reasons why many of our younger generation walk away from Churches of Christ convicts us of our behavior towards one another. He says "If you want to know what I think about Jesus, then look at how I treat others."
He mentions in this chapter and emphasized in his comments the need to talk with each other - especially when we disagree - and to listen. I often preconceive what you think or believe, or what your motives are, sometimes based on prior experience, but more often by stereotype or reputation. And while I know that my motives are pure, I'm pretty sure that you have some ulterior motive or hidden agenda.
In all of our behavior and conversation with each other unity should be an overriding concern. Unity is what Jesus prayed for; unity is our being reconciled both with God and with one another. How can I be united with God if I am not willing to be united with those He loves and has brought into relationship with Himself? Unity exists in the midst of disagreement; unity is not optional and it is not the end product of the resolution of differences.
Back to the book...at the end of chapter 2 he tells the story of a friend who had visited church one Wednesday night when two men with divergent views on some issue were very much engaged in a discussion about that issue. When asked about her experience as a visitor, she said "It was great; these two men were debating - I don't have any idea what they were talking about, but I could tell how much they loved each other." My hope for Skillman is that when people see us, they will be able to tell how much we love each other.