Many of us, living outside of USA (and probably some within), have long thought its name is inappropriate. The country is the Disunited States of America. Some (including the candidate opposing him at this forthcoming election) blame the current President, presenting President Trump as the sacramental cause of the division. But, the other side of that sacramentality is that the current President is an outward sign of an inward reality of the context he leads. Even if Biden becomes President at these elections, the sharply divided nature of that country will not, thereby, go away.

There are intrinsic problems in dividing into binary right-wrong, yes-no. An article recently explained why Pope Francis had not authorised married priests following the Amazon Synod:

The pope felt that the discernment became impossible because debate became a parliamentary-style battle between different sides… The pope says that sometimes, “an atmosphere occurs that ends up distorting, reducing and dividing the synodal hall into dialectical and antagonistic positions that do not help in any way the mission of the Church.

Division into “us” and “them” is problematic. No sooner have the powerful “them” been brought down from their thrones, and the lowly “us” lifted up (Luke 1:52), but the lowly become the new powerful needing, in their turn, to be brought down. One person’s heretic is another’s orthodox. One person’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter.

If, in churches, synods, countries, workplaces, and whānau there are winners and losers, there is a problem.

If the Good News is to mean anything, there is a great, great deal about uniting what is at enmity.

He drew a circle that shut me out—
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But Love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle that took him in!

Outwitted by Edwin Markham

In necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas – “in necessary things unity; in uncertain things liberty; in all things charity”.

And, if you are looking for a book to read, try Unity and Diversity in the New Testament: An Inquiry into the Character of Earliest Christianity by James D.G. Dunn.

May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 15:5-6

What do you think?

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