The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

Pastor's Corner

We can cross the divide and still share a love

 

October 12, 2017 | View PDF



It has been said before that “Sunday morning is the most segregated time during the week.” In other words, many persons spend that two hours with persons who are just like them -- more or less. They are the same color, from the same social groups, have the same politics, watch the same news channels, and probably have their kids in the same community programs. And while there are great exceptions and no church is entirely homogenous we can see some truth in that phrase about the segregated church -- more or less. We are more diverse in other areas such as Safeway, the coffee shop, the post office, some of our non-profit boards, the workplace than we are in church.

However, we’ve been learning that our self-segregating had manifested itself in our online interactions as well. For years we’ve been passing around internet humor and rumor via email to persons who would amplify the thoughts we already believe. And now, with social media, we find that our our “news feed,” the items we read or merely scan through on a daily basis, are chosen by fascinating algorithms to match our interests and beliefs. Whatever we believe or hate or love or like is reflected back to us, surrounding ourselves with ideas and perspectives on the world that already match what we think. And trying to use these internet venues for discussion with those who disagree can blow up in our faces, with all “sides” of our issues becoming more and more entrenched. It seems very few people change their minds after going online.

And so, we block people. We unfriend them. And we hunker down with those who see things exactly as we do -- more or less.

However, in Christ, we have a model for what it means to cross the very divisions that we hold onto. In Christ, the Samaritan (really, the Samaritan??!!) is good. In Christ, the tax collector is the person who is eaten with. In Christ, those who were untouchable are touched and those who were unhealable are healed. And, even at his Last Supper, Christ had at his table those who loved him, those who would deny him, and those who betray him. Just imagine what the Scriptures would have been like had Jesus only associated with those who were just like him, who thought like him, who were the perfect disciples... There would have been no room in the story for many whom Jesus met with. And there would be no room in the story now for us.

That said, let me encourage you, to expand your circle -- both in the real world and in the virtual one. Find ways to connect with those who don’t agree with you on everything and those whose culture or perspective pulls you out of your comfort zone a bit. Do so kindly, and graciously, and truthfully. For often we find that we can cross the divide and still share a love for the one we both call Teacher and Lord.

 

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