What would ‘finding Common Ground’ mean in spiritual terms? Not in organizational‚ institutional or political terms. I’m more interested in true “unity” and its benefits to the spirit and the soul‚ rather than our ability to pivot‚ spin and engineer things that look like unity. I’d like to talk about the heart of the matter.
Why is it so hard for Christians to find Common Ground spiritually? We have the greatest‚ most advanced tools of communication mankind has ever known – instant messengers‚ video chats‚ social networks‚ blogs‚ e-books‚ you name it. And yet we still struggle in finding common ground with others in terms of feeling and knowing we’re standing up for the same thing in a broken world‚ we are of the same mind‚ we cherish the same things!
When this happens‚ it’s a powerful thing. Jesus talked about it in Matthew 18:19-20
“Again‚ truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for‚ it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name‚ there am I with them.”
I would submit to you this kind of connectedness doesn’t come easy. It takes effort to get to a place like this with God and with another individual‚ not to mention with a whole “community”‚ as the story of the Early Church suggests.
It appears to me the problem is not what means of communication we use‚ but rather our state of mind‚ the culture that dominates our way of thinking‚ the way we become entrenched in habits and stereotypes‚ our ability (or inability) to listen.
Would you agree?
Big part of this is not being able to see things from another person’s perspective. As time goes by and I learn more about my own human nature as well as the human nature of others‚ I realize we have a problem. We have a problem putting ourselves in the “shoes” of another. We have a limited emotional “bandwidth” – we get bombarded by all kinds of demands that require of us to be adequate‚ capable and well skilled at things like empathy‚ communication‚ decision-making‚ time management‚ people management‚ resource management‚ crisis management – all this requires a certain emotional bandwidth. Investing in relationships with people who people with whom we share “common ground” spiritually‚ also seems to require certain energy‚ time and effort. But for some reason‚ we don’t like to admit that and to put the effort needed into it.
Amazingly‚ the apostle speaks of “standing your ground” in the day of evil.
“Therefore put on the full armor of God‚ so that when the day of evil comes‚ you May be able to stand your ground‚ and after you have done everything‚ to stand.” Eph. 6:13
According to the Greek concordance‚ the term “ground” is never found‚ and yet the meaning of the verse suggest the idea.
When the day of evil comes‚ we are to “stand against” (anti-stēnai). After we have done everything‚ we should be able to “stand” (stēnai).
- What are we taking a stand for?
- Who or what are we taking a stand against?
- Who are we taking a stand with?
- What common ground are we standing on?
So many questions. So many people who think they know the answers. So few who actually do.
Jesus called his disciples “friends”. I believe friendships are the true expression of finding a common ground with someone.
How many friends does one have? How many real friends can one even have in a lifetime‚ given the costly nature of true friendships?
Could it be that when it comes to spiritual unity‚ standing together‚ sharing a common ground‚ friends are the ones who actually are capable of standing together in the evil day because well‚ that’s what friends do. They’ve had some good days‚ but they’ve chosen to stick together in the “evil day” as Paul calls it. They believe they’ll stand against the forces that are coming out at them. They are standing together on some common ground.
Isn’t this how life works? Why are there so very few people who talk about this? Why are so many people pretending they have it all together? Only to find out that that in the evil day they can’t find hardly anyone to stand with them because guess what‚ they never reached out and made friends before the attacks came.
Sadly‚ and I don’t mean to bash churches and the hard work pastors put into their work‚ most churches work really hard on getting more visitors to come instead of working hard on helping those who are already there discover God as a friend and then May be discover some true friends who are also friends with God. Isn’t this what Christianity is about? Isn’t this how we truly discover “common ground”?