Baking Unity into Your World

I’m kind of a bread addict. This summer, I baked it for the first time in my life. There is just something about a steaming loaf of crispy, floury crust on the outside and flaky deliciousness on the inside that grabs at me. Despite having only recently donned a baker’s hat, rolled up my sleeves, and floured up the kitchen, I do know one thing: you can have all of the right ingredients, line them up on the countertop, leave them alone for a few hours (or years, but that’s a gross thought), and nothing will happen. No matter how long you let them sit there, a bona fide loaf of bread will never morph into being just because the ingredients are in close proximity to one another.

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Conflict and Unity

Anyone besides hermits born in the wilderness can tell you that whenever you put multiple individuals in close proximity, there is a high likelihood of eventual conflict. And if those hermits happened to be neighbors, it wouldn’t take long for them to learn, too. Even Cain and Abel duked it out when they constituted half the entire human population! Think about typical breeding grounds for conflict: high school, family gatherings, social media, work, camp, even vacations. Where two or more are gathered for long enough, disagreements will arise. So what do we do with conflict as we intentionally pursue unity?

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Surprised by Unity

Thanksgiving is more than food to me: it’s a chance for my crazy, animated, and very vocal family to come together in all of their comic glory every year. It’s a reminder that no matter our differences, these are my people, and this is where my heart belongs. Family festivities are a pretty basic locale for building unity (whether it’s through Meme’s pecan pie or Uncle Blake sharing that embarrassing story yet again). There are just some places that foster a sense of oneness. On the flip side, there are other settings where unity jumps out at you completely unexpectedly in a striped hat and shouts, “SURPRISE!!!”

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Obstacles to Unity

I giggled at one of those retro-looking but kind of catty pictures on Pinterest the other day. It said, “Life was much simpler when we could play a friendly game of red rover and just clothesline the people we didn’t like.” While I was never particularly vicious in red rover (partly because I had no clue why we would want to clothesline each other in the first place), this graphic caught me. I think it was the fact that there’s such a sense of ‘us vs them’ pulling for understanding, for validation. And this same voice creeps into churches all. the. stinking. time. It is one of the biggest, ugliest enemies of unity known to man (or woman).

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What the Bible Says About Unity

We’ve been dwelling in Philippians at church lately. So what’s an overachieving girl with no current Bible study to do? Go through Philippians on her own, of course! Paul seemed completely set on writing this letter with a focused direction in mind: to help a new church’s hearts grow closer together as they grow closer to Jesus. This is a beautiful, messy, glorious goal with deep roots throughout all of Scripture. And whether you’re reading this particular epistle right now or not, it has major implications for your life. Instead of getting all wordy, I’ll just let God speak for Himself…

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