My blog reader has been a flutter with blogs on Unity from some of my favorite writers. It all started with Rachel Held Evans who began the "Rally to Restore Unity". I've been reading many of the blogs she's linked and have loved most, if not all, of them. There seems to be a theme with them and with me, her rally to restore unity came at a time when I had been thinking much on that topic.
First, some of my favorite links so far:
Kathy Escobar-The Golden Rule. One of my favorite quotes: "my hope for unity is that we’d all become people with a deep sense of love in our core, a strong sense of knowing who we really are as people–accepted and free. and that out of that quiet strength, we’d be able to roll with others’ differences, not need to defend what doesn’t really need defending, and retain our own identity. that we’d be secure people who have nothing to prove."
Jennifer-Of Softballs and Swallows. One of my favorite quotes: "Oh, but we adults, with our fancy words and our sophisticated brain things, we can use our logic and our reason to whack others on the head with our political leanings and our earnestly held theology until we can’t see people anymore; just what we think and what we know. And we can chew a bone until we’re gnawing our own flesh."
Jamie the Very Worst Missionary is also one of my favorite bloggers. She wrote this piece. Love this: "So, in the spirit of Unity and with the Hope of being a small part of a healthy body of believers, I’ve started to ask myself: And I’ve found myself quieted on more than one occasion."
I think the reason I've been thinking about this so much is because I see dis-unity all the time. I'm not just talking within the Christian church, I'm talking within the world. Unfortunately, that has become the narrative within our time.
Democrat, Republican, Jew, Christian, Muslim, white, black, native american, english speaker, spanish speaker, vegetarian, carnivore.
We let these things divide us instead of allowing them to color our lives and make them more interesting and worth living. I feel like we could use these differences to unite instead of divide. After all, aren't all just people trying to do the best we can with what we've been given? I feel like most of us are living our lives looking for honest communication, honest love wherever we can. If this blog world and the people I've met through it are any indication, I'm not looking for people who are identical to me-I'm looking for people who are real. People who struggle, people who speak honestly, people who sometimes write stuff I disagree with but people who are living out their truth and their realities in remarkable ways.
When I was younger (I love saying that because I'm still young) I had to be right. I didn't have to be right for me, I had to be right. In every conversation, in every interaction I had to be right. Then I didn't just have to be right, I had to get you to think exactly as I did.
And life was boring.
Because the people who agreed with me were my friends and we walked around in our like-minded fog.
People who disagreed with me either hated me or just disliked me strongly (and the feeling was definitely mutual).
As I've gotten older (and passed that quarter-life crisis people are always talking about ;)) and learned a bit more about the world and the people in it, I realize I've learned the most when I shut the hell up. When I listen and when I open my heart, open my mind, I can be quite the good student.
And if I'm a good student and a good listener, people are more willing to do the same when I start to talk. And our dialogue, regardless of the different positions we might take, is a dialogue that comes out of respect, out of humility, out of love.
And my life is rich, and it's amazing, and it's filled to the brim with love.
I realized the last few weeks that my time spent debating and demeaning people was completely out of fear. I was so afraid of them being right and me being wrong that I wagged my finger at them, I got in their face, I talked over them, I talked and never listened.
Now I know, though, I know my truth. I know what's real and what's true for me. I know who I am, I love who I am. I realize that God made me exactly how He wanted me to be made and that is a beautiful and wonderful place to be.
Because I know that. Because I love myself, I'm no longer threatened by different opinions. I no longer try to get people to think like I do, or act like I do or live like I do. It's a lot more fun appreciating differences than trying to change them.
All of that said, I'm crap at it sometimes. Some days I think to myself "Oofta, sucks to be that woman's kid!" Or something equally not-nice. I'm still young, I have a lot of learning to do, and I'm genuinely thrilled about that.
I'm human, I sometimes seriously suck and sometimes seriously embarrass all of the people I lay claim to (Christians, Klipschs, Dawsons, moms, Ethiopian adoptive mamas, wives, sisters, brothers, aunts, etc).
But the grace I receive is the grace I try to give every day.
Which is why I am loving the conversation and the idea to "Rally to Restore Unity". Would love to hear some of your thoughts on the matter too.
Until then, one tribe ya'll.