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Dissolving Division

What an (almost year) it has been for you, for me, for all of us. COVID and a host of other realities have unsettled us and rewritten so much of our routines. Here are some thoughts that may encourage us all…

Life is filled with paradox and tension. Two opposing ideas fighting to be right. It's normal. Our human tendencies tempt us to approach and organize the world in a far too binary and dualistic way. One or the other. My way or your way. Black and white. Right or wrong. Democrat or republican. Categories. Groups. Silos. This is one of the central temptations of humanity. And here's what’s fascinating: this was EXACTLY what transpired in the Garden story in Genesis, the very first story in the Christian scriptures. The ONLY prohibition was basically "don't eat the fruit that divides life into good and bad!" Don't allow yourselves to be destroyed by dualism. We aren't made by God for this. We were made for unbroken wholeness, life and love. Eden = Paradise. The story says, if you eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you will DIE. And it's still "killing" us today. (Healthy) Life and relationships do not work like this. Things are always more complex than simple “right” and “wrong” sides. There’s always more going on. Everything is actually connected, not divided. And it is in the tension, paradox and liminal space that we find beauty and connection. It's in categories and "sides" that we too often find evil and disconnection. I think love invites us to be people of another way, the Jesus way. Not the right way. Or the American way. Or the way of any other group that demands our allegiance. You, me and every human ever born yearns for one thing above all else...LOVE. Love, compassion, acceptance, care, mercy and connection. And groups, sides, categories and clubs work against that. And yet at the same time, we cannot stay quiet about injustice. There are times to stand up, use our voice and denounce division and hate. This month in the USA is Black History Month, a time dedicated to appreciating and celebrating the many African Americans who had the courage and strength to do just that. May God grant us all the mercy and wisdom to know what, when and how to catalyze love and unity around us. But alas, I invite you to fight the urge to think life is simple and categorical. Stay soft, stay open, welcome paradox and know that in the middle is where we might find each other.

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