trying to be ‘both and’ in an ‘either or’ world
Is it just me or does our world seem to be pretty divided at the moment? It feels like we are bombarded with this ‘either or’ narrative which has infected our media outlets, social media and in our interpersonal relationships. In our public and private lives we sometimes draw clear lines and take decisive votes on difficult and complex issues. We know who is with us and who is against us. Who we are and who we aren’t. There appears to be very little nuance, grey space, or room for those voices that try to point beyond the clearly define categories of ‘either or’ or ‘us and them.’
Perhaps this is a great opportunity for the church to step in and to show another way, in grandiose ways (conferences, panels, town hall meetings, etc.) and in the small everyday kind of ways.
Maybe it is an opportunity for us as the body of Christ to choose the ‘both and’ over the ‘either or.’ Maybe it is a chance to embrace the new and the different for what it is, new and different, without assigning value to one over the other. To answer God’s call in Jesus to witness to a new kind of way to be human. The humble life-giving path of Christ which invites us to do life together, affirming our difference, and begs us to be in relationship with one another no matter what.
When I survey our theological history it seems we have always believed that God is big. God is too big for one congregation, church, denomination or one way of being spiritual. We believe that Jesus calls us to follow him, but this call manifests itself in a variety of different and beautiful expressions. And our hope is more and more people can encounter the life-transforming grace of God in Jesus in new, mysterious and sacred ways.
At FUMC we are trying to cultivate a new way of being Christian, a different expression of Christian community and worship. It is actually not all that new really. In fact the liturgy is pretty old, but it does offer another way to encounter God’s grace in Christ. It opens up a different kind of space to dwell in the presence of the Divine. Different isn’t better or worse. New doesn’t always replace that which is old. So maybe we can try to truly live in a ‘both and’ posture offering ourselves as a witness to an ‘either or’ world. To affirm that God speaks, Jesus calls, and all of us respond to that call in our own manner. And the only way to really miss the point is to try to do it all alone. So no matter what let’s try to do it together and let grace abound.