DISCLAIMER – I AM ABOUT TO GRACE YOU WITH INCREDIBLE WISDOM THAT I FIND DIFFICULT TO FOLLOW. PLEASE DO NOT HOLD ME RESPONSIBLE WHEN, SOMETIME IN THE NEAR FUTURE, I DO NOT TAKE MY OWN ADVICE TO HEART.
“Soon silence will have passed into legend. Man has turned his back on silence. Day after day he invents machines and devices that increase noise and distract humanity from the essence of life, contemplation, meditation… tooting, howling, screeching, booming, crashing, whistling, grinding, and trilling bolster his ego. His anxiety subsides. His inhuman void spreads monstrously like a gray vegetation.” ~Jean Arp
I grew up on a farm. It was pretty much heaven on earth for a seven-year-old kid: plenty of animals to antagonize, plenty of space to grow into. Fruit trees erupted along our stone lane, perfect for climbing and hiding in. Two huge oak trees grew in our front yard – one of them was struck by lightning while my mom walked underneath it. She was okay, but later we found pieces of the tree lying in the far field.
Someone had divided the huge farmhouse into two sides, so we shared the house with another family. They were a nice, peace-loving group, and they had a boy my age.
But we just didn’t get along.
No matter what we tried to play, we ended up fighting. No matter where we played – the cemetery, the church parking lot across the road, the creek down by the Amish schoolhouse – it ended with conflict. He was large, I was quick, so we were a good match: my rapier-like tongue cut him with its sharp wit, and his lumbering body, if it caught me, would pin me to the rich earth and smoosh me like a grape.
Based on our personalities, and the age we were when we met, we were just not meant to be friends.
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There’s a guy at my church who sees a world I don’t see. He’s certain, he’s full of belief and he’s definitely never wrong. I, on the other hand, am intrigued by paradoxes, don’t worry so much about doubt and am pretty certain that most of us are wrong most of the time. Or much of the time.
This guy and I, we just don’t make good Bible study buddies.
And that’s okay.
Sometimes I think restoring unity will be more about disengaging from conversations than it will be about changing people’s minds. And this is the difficult part, because we all usually want people to think like we do, or to at least be open to it.
What if those of us concerned with restoring unity would spend a month without commenting on blogs or Facebook statuses? What if, whenever we found ourselves on the precipice of a conversation that we know will lead to an argument, we engaged with God (instead of the person) in the spiritual disciplines of silence, meditation and prayer? What if we let our modern, rational minds take a back seat and instead relied on the mystical, the unexplained, the Holy Spirit?
If we want to restore unity, sometimes we have to shut up. Sometimes we have to refrain from hitting “send” or “submit.”
Sometimes we have to turn the other cheek.
“If we are only certain in our beliefs, we get dignified and severe and have the ban of finality about our views; but when we are rightly related to God, life is full of spontaneous, joyful uncertainty and expectancy” (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost For His Highest)
This blog is part of the “Rally to Restore Unity” organized by Rachel Held Evans. Check out her blog to find out more or to see a full list of blogs on this subject.