I was listening today to a video on working with other people. The point was made that the idea is great, the option is a good idea, but the actual implementation is often unfulfilled. We see it as an option, wanted but not necessarily needed.
My question is often the prior question. Why are we collaborating with others? In the Scripture of Christians the point is made that we will be known as Christians by their love for one another. Presumably this means that we work together.
Gabe Lyons points out in his book called “The Next Christians” that choosing embodiment and not division will be one of the distinguishing marks of the Christian in this generation. Other generations had certain areas of emphases – some regarding slavery, others regarding child labor. These were proper concerns – and still remain as justice concerns within our society. But, we must step back and look at a North American Christian community that has often become indistinguishable from the society around us. When that happens, the grounds for credibility when we call for change become less than compelling.
How are we to be a separate people and yet part of the current society? That must be determined, not with superficial answers but with foundational principles that are worked out in daily life. Gabe Lyons brings five daily life activities into view (immersed in Scripture – not entertainment; observing the sabbath – not productivity; fasting in simplicity – not consumerism; embodiment – not division; and postured in prayer – not power). They come from the principles of engagement over condemnation; grace over judgment; courage over comfort and faithfulness over reputation.
Of course, this is in short-hand. The main focus will always start with Jesus. From there – I’m still working this through, but I sense there is a definite kernel of truth to much of what Lyons says.