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  • Shawn Thornton

Polarized and Fragmented

Wednesday - August 18th

Scripture to Read Today: Philippians 2:1-11


Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Philippians 2:1-2

Tune into any newscast for thirty to forty minutes, and you will undoubtedly hear some anchor or commentator say something about the polarization of America. The reference may be in the context of political views, mask mandates, vaccines, or any other divisive topic. Something has happened to us. Something has stirred our outrage to the point that we now find ourselves with little common ground in the natural course of American discussions and ideas. We almost long to disagree.

We can blame political parties, social media, twenty-four-hour news channels, or many other things, but the fact remains that we are polarized. We struggle to even discuss different perspectives without demeaning, mocking, or shouting. This polarization has lead to the fragmentation of standard social settings.

Schools, churches, businesses, and even homes have become places of extreme tension in navigating the polarization. These social institutions then experience a fragmenting of people. Even if they saw things differently, people who once got along now find themselves drifting away from one another. They face a "you’re either for me or against me" mentality from people they never dreamed would step back from them. People gravitate toward those they fully agree with and away from those they do not. Polarization leads to fragmentation.

Within the Body of Christ, the Church, the story should be drastically different. People who have little to nothing in common are a part of a family - the family of believers. Their unity is based on the person and work of Jesus Christ. They pursue healthy friendships and vibrant community with their spiritual brothers and sisters.

But today, the pressure of external polarization and fragmentation has crept inside the Church. People we once sang, served, prayed, and grew with now see magnified differences on minor issues. Ideology, not theology, has become our rallying point. We have failed to heed the call of keeping our eyes on Jesus!

What brother or sister in Christ have you not seen or spoken to lately? Who have you seen posting on social media, but all indications are they are adrift and alone? Call, text, email, or visit them.

Philippians 2:1-2 suggests a proactive, intentional pursuit of community and unity. In these two verses, the Apostle Paul indicates that our joy individually and together can never be found in polarization and fragmentation. Instead, he calls us to "being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose" (2:2). So let's pursue that kind of oneness together in Christ!

While those in the world around us continue to polarize and fragment, God's children should pursue unity in community!

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