This past week, Debbie Blue wrote:
"We believe the community gathered around the gospel is always dismantling devotion to culturally constructed practices of power. We are disciples of another way. We are dissenters—disrupting, disturbing, disarming. People will become cooperative dismembers…."
Thus, at her church, rather than having a membership campaign, they are I the midst of a dismembership campaign.
Disconnect to Connect
Recently in a mediation on the beatitude, "Blessed are the poor in spirit," I contemplated on our need to disengage, to let go of things. The poverty in the Matthew's text is not exclusively a poverty of material wealth, but also one of perspective. In a world that still oddly ("oddly" after the Great Recession, we've been going through globally) believes that "you can have it all." But we cannot have it all. It is impossible to even try. When we choose relationships, we let go of independence, when we choose to have children we let go of assurance (and sanity), when we choose Christ, we let go or our life. No, we cannot have it all. But even more important, much of what we presently have actually has us. We are sucked into political arguments, cultural assumptions, material possessions, unhealthy relationships, and mix of idolatrous allegiances. So much of becoming united to each other in Christ requires that we disconnect, that we dismember ourselves, from others that seek or claim our devotion.
This week's epistle reading for the third week of Epiphany (I Cor 12:12-31) tells us that, contrary to many examples to the contrary, we are members of one another:
For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.
Perhaps this shared membership is not always evident. Of course we live at a distance from others. Our schedules don't often correspond well. Frequently on matters of import, we disagree. Nonetheless, we profess a unity that goes underground. That lay hidden, but is no less real. While there may be pressures and forces to pull apart the body of Christ (and to reattach us to "culturally constructed practices of power"), it is in our power to be stewards of what God has created. How might we give fuller and deeper expression to the levels of connection through the Spirit of God that we have to one another and to others who follow Christ in different settings? Epiphany is about light, about things becoming visible. It is about awareness and hidden or misunderstood things coming to light. The text from I Corinthians 12 brings to light, makes us aware of the unity that exists in Christ, not of our own doing, but as a gift from the Holy Spirit.
How might I, in the week to come, express unity with others in the Body of Christ? How have I felt this unity in the past? Are there ways in which I might be able to welcome others to dismember themselves from destructive connections and find new community in Christ?