disunity, unity and the common enemy

this was shown in church recently just before a talk about being an outward facing church.

sometimes this is exactly what we feel church is like, nipping at each other, fighting for our own little space, the desire is not to have to make room for the other. and then something 'new' appears - something more 'other' than the other standing next to you and suddenly you are united against a common enemy.

then the mission becomes making sure that this disturbing 'other' is either exterminated or assimilated (see this guy for more on that) - making room for this 'other' necessarily would mean impinging on our own identity, changing us irreversibly, and goodness me we wouldn't want that.

my desire is to be someone who embraces that moment of change, where the risk is great and I am not in control. where I can't step in and pretend I have all the answers and a handle on all the perspectives.

what would happen if I decided to spend time with people who are not middle-class white women? what would happen if all of us in church did this? would there suddenly be less 'white-flight' from our local majority asian school? it would certainly be less easy to relegate it to that part of the brain I talked about before - you know, the one labelled 'think about sometime never'.

what would happen if I spent some time with gay people?

what would happen if I spent some time with working-class people?

just what would happen?

and then there's the bit of me which I always have to go back to regarding those christians who I might possibly regard as 'other'. who I don't 'get' and who don't 'get' me. are we nibbling at each other until we unite against the common enemy (which would be who exactly...)? or do I and 'my sort of christian' unite against them as the common enemy?

who am I in the cartoon parable above? and who is my enemy?

will I suddenly discover I'm naked and the only safety is in the arms of my enemy?


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