What I’m Thinking: Us and Them

Who is “Us” and who is “Them?” It can be a very useful thing – but also a harmful barrier between groups of people.

Here’s a transcript:

I’m thinking about “Us” and “Them.” In the eleventh chapter of Acts of the Apostles (Acts 11:1-18), Luke tells the story (three times actually in chapters ten and eleven) of how the relationship between “Us” and “Them” changed radically in the early Christian Church, among the People of the Way, when Simon Peter first had a dream, and then had an experience.

The dream was of God declaring a net full of unclean animals to be clean. And then, the experience was that of the Holy Spirit coming to a group of Gentiles, a group of foreigners, to Them.

Us and Them – it’s a useful concept sometimes. It has its utility. The simplest single-celled animal would not survive without some kind of barrier that says what is Me and what is Not Me. Our skin on our bodies performs much the same function. Within the skin: Me. Outside the skin: Not Me.

But the relationship between Me and Not Me, between Us and Them: that is one that every single faith tradition, that is one that every single cultural tradition, that is one that every single national tradition has had to come to understand, to work out for themselves.

And in that dream, and in that experience, Simon Peter transformed who would be Us – who could be Us – and who would always be Them. Suddenly the doors were open wider, and the barriers were slighter.

And this, I think, is the movement of the Holy Spirit: to lower the barriers between Us and Them, until one day, by the grace of God we all celebrate that We are Us.

That’s what I’m thinking. I’m curious to hear what you’re thinking. Leave me your thoughts in the comment section below; I’d love to hear from you.

Categories What I'm Thinking | Tags: , , | Posted on May 12, 2019

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