Today’s post is going to be brief, as I not only have to put the finishing touches on a sermon, but also need to watch (need!) a very close national semifinal game between the Florida Gators and the Connecticut Huskies (go UConn!).
Though I’ve been watching the game on TBS, I’ve noticed that there are two other broadcasts available: one for Florida fans and one for UConn fans. Presumably, the Florida broadcast will include commentators with a rooting interest in the Gators, while the UConn broadcast will feature people transparently supporting the Huskies. It occurs to me that the existence of these team-specific options is symptomatic of a wider trend in our culture today. Our society has become fragmented; we tend to spend time only with people we agree with and listen only to people who share our worldview. This is part of the reason for the proliferation of news networks that cater to people of a particular political bent. We would rather pretend that everyone agrees with us than engage in the challenging work of listening to people who do not share our views.
This is not a new issue. The early Church had to deal with a huge variety of perspectives and understandings about how to be faithful to God: Should Christians be required to keep the Law of Moses? Who has the authority to speak for the Church? What should we do with people who have committed notorious sins? Much of the New Testament is devoted to dealing with these questions. In some cases, like in the letters of John, the solution is to exclude those who do not share the majority view. In most other cases, however, we see the Church struggling to hold a variety of perspectives in tension, to include as many people as possible, and to recognize that unity can exist even with diversity.
In the Church (and the world) we must remember that we can be in relationship with one another even when we disagree or root for different teams. Ultimately, we are called to recognize that our unity is grounded not in anything we have done, but in what God has done for us in Jesus Christ.