We’ve all noticed it. There’s some serious tension going on in this country right now. There’s racial, political, and social unrest and it seems we’ve forgotten how to learn from each other and how to love each other. Or perhaps we never really knew how.

So, how do we fix that? Will government policy help us? Maybe that will work temporarily, but it most likely won’t get to the root of the problem. What about the Church? What about us as a part of that institution and us as individuals and as humans? How do we work together and fix all of this? First, we need to change the way we think about and see these situations. Here are some suggestions to get started:

1)  Be honest…

…about your experiences, about your responses to other peoples’ experiences, about everything. In a society that teaches us to be skeptical of everything, we have to be careful that we aren’t letting that affect our ability to trust people or be honest ourselves.

Everyone in this world is having a totally different go at this whole life thing. For example, a white, 25 year old women will not have had many of the same experiences as a 60 year old black man, but neither person’s experiences hold more value than the other or are more “correct” or truly human. Its important that we try to trust and understand the lives of people different than us, not just invalidate them because we don’t understand. At the same time, we need to be respectful and honest with ourselves and others about our doubts, misunderstandings, and questions. Honesty is policy, always.

2) Listen well… 

…rather than only hearing. Everyone knows what it means to listen, to hear someone, but do we know what it means to really listen well? Hearing someone explain their opinion or situation and all the while planning your response or argument doesn’t count as listening well. Listening well means you’re listening to truly understand, not just to argue. Having an opinion is not bad, even being passionate about said opinion isn’t necessarily bad. It’s important though that no matter how strong our convictions, we come to the conversation with open ears and at least a little humility.

3) Unite…

…rather than divide. We see in 1 Corinthians 12 that its important for the Church to be unified in Christ, and in that same passage, we see that its also important for the Church to be diverse. Not everyone should act the same or have the same experiences; each is being prepared for certain roles within a larger body. The same is true in our communities outside of church. Its important that we are embracing our diverse selves, while still being unified as human beings. If we really get right down to it, we’re all a lot more alike than we are different.

This Sunday, December 4th at 4pm, the Lorain County Urban league is holding a Unity Day Celebration at Church on the North Coast, 4124 Leavitt Rd. in Lorain. Dr. Bernice King, daughter of Martin Luther King, Jr.,  will be their guest speaker and doors open at 3 pm. Come learn more about it means to really unite our communities!