‘Both Sides Now’

(Click here for a video of John reading this Catch.)

OIP-7

I need you. You need me. We mustn’t let this spirit of division get ahold of us. Mike McCausland, our Tuesday Conversation guest this week, said it’s not just in America. It’s a tendency that is everywhere, almost like a curse. Division is the spirit of the age, and we must not participate. It is the devil’s goal to divide; it is Christ’s goal to unite. That would mean not forwarding emails that promote one side over another, even if humorous. Sometimes those can be the most damaging. It makes no difference if you are convinced you are right. We need healing, not ill feeling. Harmony, not enmity. Don’t pass on what tears down. Pass on what builds up.

We need community, not tribalism. Community can and should be diverse with differing opinions and points of view. Community celebrates differences. It’s an asset to the body. Tribalism, on the other hand, honors sameness. It bolsters a shared identity where everyone thinks alike. Unfortunately, with all its usefulness, the internet fosters tribalism more than diversity, and may be a major cause of division everywhere. Social media groups people together who have the same likes and dislikes. Algorithms encourage tribalism. There isn’t an algorithm for diversity. The internet pushes us towards people who think like we do and gathers information for us from sources we already agree with. 

If we’re going to celebrate diversity, we’re going to have to be intentional about it and work for it. We’re going to have to seek out other interpretations of things than the ones that come most easily to us. We’ve been thinking about Joni Mitchell lately.  How about her song, “Both Sides Now”? Isn’t that what we’re talking about? And what she discovered is that when you see from both sides, there is no simple conclusion.

It’s true that the Bible calls us all to have the mind of Christ, but I don’t think there exists an algorithm in my computer for that. That takes a spiritual understanding the internet doesn’t possess. Nor does it mean if we all have the mind of Christ that we all will agree. The apostles disagreed on a number of things, yet they would have had the mind of Christ. Besides, I would think the mind of Christ has more to do with attitudes, values and relationships than with sports, politics or religion.

I’ve looked at life from both sides now

From win and lose and still somehow

It’s life’s illusions I recall

I really don’t know life at all

I need you. You need me. We mustn’t let this spirit of division get ahold of us.

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