On the Constant Call for Christian Unity

Cries for unity without a commitment to solidarity sidesteps the demands of love.

Unity without solidarity can never be the unity for which Jesus prayed.

Solidarity without liberating-justice can never the solidarity for which the gospel summons us.

The Incarnation of God in Jesus opens us up to see how God’s solidarity with us moves God’s sympathy toward us and makes our liberation possible. All of this—solidarity, sympathy, liberation—are actions that meet the demands of love.

The unity for which Jesus prayed cannot happen without love. This makes sense to me, because unity is not something we aspire to accomplish (despite what is taught by some), rather is something that happens when we commit to accomplishing the demands of love. 

Today much of the Christians call for unity seem more like cries of discomfort induced by a desire to hold onto power and the status quo. A posture like this represses repentance, disables reconciliation, and stifles peace because it does not see what love demands. 

Listen for it, friend. You’ll hear it when people expose into the light or call into question wrongdoing or tell the truth by naming behaviors or historical realities for what they are. Those who disagree call these actions “divisive” and they will cry out for unity. To be even more candid, you will especially hear it from white Christian siblings when it comes to racial justice conversations and actions.

As those “receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken” (Heb. 12:28) we are summoned to solidarity with others. We pursue peace and holiness (Heb. 12:14), extend hospitality to strangers (Heb. 13:2), and “remember” those imprisoned and those mistreated as if it were happening to us (Heb. 13:3). And the Christian Church can do all of this as a Spirit-filled community, because it is what God has done for us in Christ. 

(See also Heb. 4:14-16; 13:1-3; Phil. 2:5-13; Col. 1:13-20)

About Fred

Fred came to serve greater Williamsburg and WCC as lead pastor in October of 2010 and is grateful to be a part of the family. He is a husband, father, certified trauma professional, S.T.A.R. (strategies for trauma awareness & resilience) practitioner, community organizer, TEDx alum, founder of 3e Restoration, Inc. and co-owner of Philoxenia Culture LLC. He received his B.S. in Ministry/Bible at Amridge University and his Master’s of Religious Education in Missional Leadership from Rochester University. Currently he is a candidate for a Doctorate of Ministry in Contextual Theology in at Northern Seminary in Chicago. Fred has also served as an adjunct professor for Rochester University and Regent University where taught courses in philosophy, ethics, leadership, pastoral care, intro to Christianity, and ethnography. He has also served as a guest lecturer on the subjects of racialized cultural systems, poverty, and missiology at various universities, such as William & Mary and Oklahoma Christian University. Fred has authored on book (Racialized Cultural Systems, Social Displacement and Christian Hospitality) and several curriculum offerings, including The FloorPlan: Living Toward Restoration & Resilience. Fred enjoys hanging out with his family anytime, anywhere. He is deeply grateful for how God graciously works through the Church in all her various forms, despite our brokenness. He is passionate about seeing the last, least, and lonely of every neighborhood, city and nation experience God’s in-breaking kingdom, and come to know Jesus as King. Oh, and his favorite season is Advent and Christmas. Fred is a founding member of the board of directors for Virginia Racial Healing Institute, a member of the leadership team for Williamsburg's local chapter of Coming to the Table, and a member of Greater Williamsburg Trauma-Informed Community Network's Racial Trauma Committee and Training Committee.
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