Handholds for Unity in a Divisive Time

We are beneficiaries of a rich and long heritage in the Christian tradition with particular emphasis in personal transformation that comes from reflecting the Holiness of God.  Consistent with this stream of Christian living, the issues of diversity are not foreign to our past or our ethos.  As we stretch forward in fulfilling God’s heart for our communities, we embrace every opportunity to live out our Christian faith in real and relevant ways.  To help guide us in that endeavor related to current matters of diversity, we reflect on the foundation of our past in guiding us to our future.  

Our classic Christian heritage provides handholds on the way:

  1.  The image of God is within every person.  This is the essence and basis for any unity among us.  It provides the starting point for any discussion related to diversity of race, ethnicity, language, gender and creed.
  2. Diversity in race, culture, gender, language proceeds from the creativity of God.  This is not as an obstacle to be overcome. Rather, it provides an opportunity to eschew the temptation of sameness and find essential unity among people centered on Jesus – the perfect reflection of God.
  3. Schism and divisiveness is a result of the selfishness of sin.  Free will has provided opportunity to act selfishly and exclusively thereby causing divisions. Diversity is an attribute of God in the three persons, and it extends to God’s creation. Sin warps that image to our own limitations.
  4. Politicizing and institutionalizing these differences does not cure the breach. It only manages the discussion.  Relegating these issues to the political or institutional realm misses the essence and opportunity of diversity.  It abdicates our Christian responsibility to find unity in the image of God facilitated by the mind of Christ.
  5. Willfully adopting a catholic spirit, living in the love of God and the mind of Christ is the only true path to unity amidst diversity.  If the basis of divisiveness is selfishness, the only true cure may be found in that which counters it, namely the selfless love and model of Christ.
  6. Unity may only exist where mutuality enhances diversity. We may value things or ideas differently and we may appear different.  Because unity implies diversity and proceeds from the image of God, we will always live with the temptation to selfish isolation and exclusiveness.  This is remediated only in the centering identity of God’s love. 

We do not engage in the discussions of diversity merely in reaction to current culture or the press of political alignment.  Rather, we do so as a manifestation of our identity as a Christians, in the spirit of our heritage and as a natural outcome of our basic commitments to the Word of God, both written and living in the person of Jesus Christ.

Kevin Mannoia