This is a post for the Rally to Restore Unity. Check out the other bloggers and give to their great charity!
About a month ago I started blogging through the whole Bible. Currently, I am about 3/5 of the way through Genesis. That means I have a long way to go and a heckuva lot to learn.
Nevertheless, my contribution to this rally will be based entirely on things I have read in the first 30 chapters of Genesis. The unfortunate thing about this approach is that I haven’t really found many things that have taught me how to be a unified church body.
But I’ve found plenty about how NOT to do it.
So if you don’t want unity in the church, make sure you follow these four simple and time-tested steps.
1) Build Giant, Phallic, Arrogance Monuments
Nothing brings people together like building a tower. Especially when that tower is going to show God just how potent, capable, and awesome you are!
But what makes the Tower of Babel a great unity killer is that God himself isn’t a fan! He looks at that thing and decides that it is really not in anyone’s best interest to finish it.
God’s original command to humanity was to fill the Earth and subdue it. Towers can subdue the Earth to be sure, but they don’t help us fill it. The Tower of Babel was our way of telling God that we didn’t want in. We wanted to hole up together and think about how great we were.
So God actually created the disunity because we were unifying around the wrong things!
So if God-style unity is NOT what you are looking for, I recommend finding yourself a place that is more interested in keeping people in than sending them out. Go build a monument to your own ego.
Go build a tower.
2) Make “Stuff” Priority #1!
Following a brief misadventure in Egypt, Abram and his nephew Lot are rolling in the Benjamins! They have silver and gold, flocks and herds, servants and tents. Life is good.
But trouble starts brewing. There isn’t enough land for both of them to support their vast wealth.
So rather than deciding to get rid of some of their stuff so they can stay together, they choose to go their separate ways. This proves to be a move that has absolutely no negative consequences whatsoever!
You want to destroy unity? Make your stuff a priority. Relationships are so, I don’t know, petty. Hold on tightly to your equipment, your space, your church building, your money, your instruments, your camels, and your people.
Do not let them go or give them away for any reason or under any circumstances. Period.
3) Assume The Worst
Abraham has a bit of a trust problem. He seems to think that whenever he enters a kingdom, someone will try to kill him so they can marry his hot wife. To combat this, he tells everyone she is his sister; a move that leaves him alive and her stuck in a harem. Classy.
When he encounters King Abimelech, he initiates “Operation: Stay Classy” because he thinks “there is no fear of the LORD in this place.”
Oh how wrong he was.
The LORD had spoken to Abimelech the night before in a dream warning him to give Sarai back to Abram. And wouldn’t you know it, Abimelech listened and obeyed! Probably because the consequence of not doing it was death.
Abram almost got Abimelech killed because he assumed Abimelech was not someone who listened to God.
You want to flush unity down the toilet? Assume the worst of people who are different than you. Assume that a person in Mark Driscoll’s church would never be hospitable to a woman who atteneds Rob Bell’s church. Just go ahead and make terrible assumptions and then make no effort to see if they are true or not.
That should work pretty well.
4) Play Zero-Sum Games
Jacob was born into a family that God had blessed and didn’t think he was going to get any of that blessing. His solution to this predicament? Steal it.
He tricked his brother into selling his birthright for a bowl of soup. Then, years later, he tricked his father into giving him the blessing rather than his brother, causing some serious conflict between them.
This wouldn’t be a problem if his family hadn’t viewed blessing as a zero-sum game. They thought there was only one and you had to get it by any means necessary.
God, on the other hand, was quite liberal with his blessing. He didn’t pick and chose between Isaac and Ishmael. He blessed them both. When he communicated his blessing to Abraham, to Isaac, and later to Jacob, he made it clear that the entire world was going to be blessed through them.
There is enough blessing for everyone.
So if you want to make sure no unity ever happens on your watch, just act like the blessing of God is a limited resource; like good songs on top-40 radio. Keep it to yourself. Steal it from others. Do whatever it takes to get the blessing!
Now that you know how to NOT have unity, let me know how it goes out there!
Did I miss any? What else did you see while reading Genesis 1-30?