The eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you," nor again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you." On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body we think less honorable we bestow greater honor... - 1 Corinthians 12:21-23
We live in a world that seeks to divide us at every turn. From our political affiliations to our preferences of music and computer hardware, we are encouraged to lump ourselves into a myriad of mutually unintelligable sub-cultures. We have become a society that does not know how to have a real conversation, a culture in which public discourse has increasingly become a place of symbolic violence, rather than (com)passionate debate. And in a society as fundamentally divided as ours, it is a small leap from the world of soundbites and images to the concrete expression of that violence.
As a follower of Jesus Christ, it is my experience that there is a power capable of breaking down the walls that divide us, bringing true reconciliation. Through the amazing power of Jesus' self-giving love, I am being healed of the brokenness of this present age, and gathered into a Body that is greater than any human divisions.
Baby Boomers (Americans born between roughly 1943 and 1960) have a huge amount of shared experience that bonds them together as a unique cultural group. The same is true of Generation X (Americans born roughly between 1961-1981) and Millennials (1982-2002?). While each of these generations is comprised of tens of millions of individuals with a huge array of experiences, personalities and individual life choices, we exist within a broader generational context.
As a rising Millenial, it was empowering to realize that I was part of a new generation which had a distinct way of doing things from our Boomer parents and our Xer mentors. I saw that our differences weren't simply a rebellion against "the way things are"; rather, we as a generation share a unique set of experiences and assumptions, a special perspective that is just as legitimate as those of prior generations.
Yet, the spirit of division did what it always does: It took hold of these places of aliveness and difference and twisted them into something that divides us. Rather than understanding our generational differences as a source of mutual empowerment and respect, there are many forces in our society that have pitted one generation against another. Whether a "Pepsi Generation" or a "Joshua Generation," marketers and ideologues work night and day to make our generational differences grounds for division and hatred rather than the basis of strength and cooperation. Instead of recognizing our differences as a gift from God, we have often been lured into a false narrative of generational competition.
There is a Spirit that I feel, inviting us into something more life-giving and true than this twisted vision of the cosmic order. There is a Life and Power that is grounded in indescribable love, a Love that lays down his own life for the benefit of his friends rather than seeking his own narrow pleasure. It is this Truth that binds us together, breaking down the dividing wall and making one where there were once many.