The Lack Of Unity Is A Feature Not A Bug

Photo by  Jachan DeVol  on  Unsplash

Photo by Jachan DeVol on Unsplash

What if the lack of unity is a feature not a bug?

The more I immerse myself in scripture, the more I come to see that the Church of Jesus Christ has always had a lack of unity. Read Corinthians or Romans. Perhaps the Jerusalem Council in Acts or the obvious lack of unity between Jesus and Judas or Jesus and Peter. The Church has always had a lack of unity.  

But why would a lack of unity be a feature and not a bug? Perhaps it is because the lack of unity in the Church means that the Church is bound together by something deeper than beliefs, doctrine, interpretation or anything else.

Imagine we were to create a Church that does have a lack of unity. Imagine a Church that has all the answers, that has all the questions properly ordered and the interpretations unquestionably clear. This Church would be unified on all matters and all thoughts. This Church would not need a savior.

Paradoxically, what holds the Church together is our collective lack.

The Church of Jesus Christ has a lack of unity because it has a unity in lack.

The thing that binds the Church together is the reality that we all have a lack. We all have fallen short, we have missed the mark. We lack the ability to save ourselves. We lack the knowledge of how to get out of the messes we make. We lack the foresight and the insight to see how far reaching our sin and mistakes are. The Church has gathered for two thousand years to declare, “We lack salvation, we repent, forgive us and heal us, O God!”

The lack of unity in the UMC is not a problem, it reminds me that we are always and all in need of the savior we call Christ. The Good News is tied up in the reality that the Church is a unity of lack.

Why I don't say "I was saved"

In some Christian circles it is commonplace to be able to share the time, place or date of when you "were saved". Some Christians, like myself, don't have a moment in time that I can point to and say, "this is the moment". But that is not the reason I do not say "I was saved". Mine is more theological rather than biographical. 

I believe that salvation has little to do with what I do, say or feel. If there was a time that I "was saved" it was in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. I do not say "I was saved" in some moment in my life because God's action of reconciling all things predates my existence and actions. 

It may also be worth noting that what we are saved "from" is a large topic of discussion. And, as far as I can see, there is no one thing that everyone needs to be saved from. There are a lot of things. While some need to be saved from our pride, others need to be saved from our self hate. Some of us need to be saved from starvation and others of us need to be saved from slavery. To say all this is "Sin" may be generally accurate it also removes the specific need. God so loved the whole world and in this love God saved the world. 

The good news is we are saved and we did not do anything to earn it. Now, we get to live in thanksgiving, humility, gratitude and grace. And we have faith that living with the posture of thanksgiving, humility gratitude and grace leads to life eternal.