Why can’t we be friends?

I have to say, I’m a little late jumping on this news story. Well, stories. See… I don’t have cable, and most of my news comes across my MSN dashboard when I start up. That aside, I have been doing some serious reading and thinking lately about several talked-about issues.

The first would be the very serious situation in Ferguson. May the Lord bring them peace and wisdom. Honestly, we’ve all heard the news and hopefully have dutifully inspected the information to create an informed opinion. I will say that we are all prone to sin as human beings and that we still have a long way to go before we reach harmony and equality.

The second is in one my own spheres – the current kerfuffle going on in the gaming industry. The story is long and convoluted, but in some ways boils down to a large amount of people having different ideas about where the gaming industry should go from here.

In the reading I’ve done, I just have to ask. What do we all want? What do we expect? What is it that we’re looking for? Is it equality?

I’ve thought about equality and acceptance. What I see around me is a pressure to conform. A call to be uniform, to fit a mold, to take a place in the large mass of indistinguishable faces. Advertisements pressure men and women to look, dress, eat, and act certain ways. What is fashionable now in diets, clothing, and behavior will be obsolete in a few years. That cycle in and of itself is swirling faster and faster as social media and other relatively recent advances in communication bring the world closer together.

Being a Christian, I do have a particular lens through which I see the world. I see equality in a paradox. The goal of Christianity, as I see it, is unity both with others and with God, rather than uniformity. Yes, there is a way in which Christians are called to be more like Christ, to give up themselves. On the other hand, what is being given up? I see it this way, what is being given up are distractions and corrupting agents. In other words, Jesus call to lay down one’s life is a call to set aside those things we use to define ourselves in order that we can be more fully ourselves. To set aside things that are not human to more fully embrace the true humanity that God envisioned. The paradox, then, is that God asks us to be more like Christ, and by doing so we become more ourselves.

Unity is having different, unique individuals working toward the same goal. Equality is recognizing the unique potential and value of each individual regardless of who they are, what they look like, or what they believe. If Christians are going to make the claim, and many rightly do, that God created each human being in his image, equality – that sense of respect and concern for others – should be a non-issue.

I do not excuse any behavior that damages others. However, I do recognize that we all have the capacity for selfishness. May God continue to work in and through the church to remove that selfishness. Until we see God’s new life, we will need to be vigilant in Jesus’ name to continually teach and reteach children the inestimable value and preciousness of every single human life. May you have the honor of looking into another’s eyes and recognizing in them the preciousness of humanity.

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