In his book, The Big Sort, Bill Bishop writes, “Americans have used wealth and technology to invent and secure places of minimal conflict.” Creating closed social media groups, participating in clubs of like-minded people, and even shopping online lowers the potential for encountering those who are different from us. If we have the means, we tend to smooth our lives out so our way through is easier. This is the opposite of our call in baptism.
When we keep to safe, small arenas of interaction, we miss the work of reconciliation happening all around us through the presence of Jesus. Too often, even our churches are places of homogeny, places of minimal conflict not because we’ve worked so hard on peacemaking but because we don’t talk about our differences. What would it look like to welcome a notion of church life that embraces conflict or difference? What could it mean to radically trust the risen Christ to be present in the midst of difficult conversations about broken places in our communities?
This message is excerpted from “Reconciliation and the river of life” by Liv Larson Andrews in the January/February 2015 Gather magazine.
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