If dualism is indeed as bad as we claim, perhaps we should find a scriptural way to define what it is that is better. It seems plain to me–that solution is “unity.” And I was very glad to find that at least one of our conference speakers understood the importance of returning to this idea.

Brian’s lecture was titled “Unity beyond dualism…” Yes, elipsis and all. For the first time all day, we took a peek at what we all actually claim–faith based in a certain canon of scripture. No matter how we interpret or view that document, it is the starting point of all the rest of the agreement or debate.

Brian talked about how Paul had to learn, from Jesus’ teaching and example, that dualism was completley unacceptable in this new paradigm. But he didn’t do it by bashing those who disagreed with him (take note, Richard Rohr). He did it by simply pointing out what scholars love to philosophize today: that differences don’t really exist! (scholars would say that the differences we perceive are constructs. Aren’t you glad I went to grad school?)

Paul, the most black and white thinker in the history of the early church, wrote these shocking words in the letter to the Galations

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

But he didn’t just say it once–here is what he told the Colossians:

“Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.”

But this conference is all about the “how”, supposedly. And Brian asked that very question. If we are going to reach this beautiful unity–a unity that is not “colorblind” but fully colorful and diverse–how do we do it?

The answer, Brian says, can also be found in scripture. Try 1 Cor 13, the so-called “love chapter.” Although this is read at every wedding in the history of evangelicalism, it was actually written to the church as a guideline for unity! Who doesn’t understand that? And yet, we see vitriol and lovelessness throughout the church and in all its guises.

If you haven’t read this chapter in a while, I recommend it very highly. Read and reread. Think carefully about what each line says, and compare it to those words from Galations and Colossians. Brian had us sing-chant the entire chapter and I’ve recorded a small sampling for you. It was lovely and heartwrenching and convicting. Let’s get back to this simple basic.

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