Impossible Conflicts

December 20, 2017

History records the conflicting ideas, ideals and territorial claims of people. People live in conflict. They fight, get divorces, go to war and riot. Certainly, all of us have felt wronged at some point in our lives, and have felt the hot coals of anger boiling up inside. Conflict is common in human history, and it is at a fever pitch right now in America.

We have conflicts, causes, grievances, differences and it is more often than not that two opposing positions share nothing of the same reality. We construct different realities based on our emotions and our presumptions. And God help the person who will not accept our reality and the proof texts that we erect to support it. Have you noticed? The human race is not objective!

Wars are fought because of differing realities. We can look at some of the issues in our day and shake our heads at the ignorance that they represent. But real or imagined, they are real to those who embrace them, none-the-less.

So how do we deal with these polarized positions and conflicting realities? I know, there are those who think that all we have to do is set down and negotiate, or debate the ground concepts of extreme differences or sing a happy song and just love one another. But I, in all probability, will not be invited to be the speaker at the next Black Lives Matters conference or be given the stage at a Antifa rally or be invited to the University of Berkley as a guest lecturer on social structures.

I will not bet on the GOP inviting Hillary Clinton to be the main speaker at their next convention, and this underscores a probable truth: The gulf is too large and well entrenched to be negotiated.

Some years back the issue of States Rights sparked our civil war. Other nations have discovered the division that leads to conflict within the nation. This is not new to history. But is there then, no answer?

There is an answer. But it difficult to find and hard to implement. It requires the attention of the opposing factions and a willingness to move forward. It is the power of transcending the difference. It is the voice that gains the attention of both sides and focusing on a reality above and beyond the difference. It is the call of something or someone to a new way of thinking and of believing and of living. It is the providing of something so compelling that people are willing to move past their personal biases and positions and realities to gain something above and beyond. It is the transcending of difference.

In the early 1900s Wales was awash with conflict and differences and on the brink of civil war. According to Wikipedia:

The 1904-1905 Welsh Revival was the largest Christian revival in Wales during the 20th century. While by no means the best known of revivals, it was one of the most dramatic in terms of its effect on the population, and triggered revivals in several other countries. “The movement kept the churches of Wales filled for many years to come, seats being placed in the aisles in Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Swansea for twenty years or so, for example. Meanwhile, the Awakening swept the rest of Britain, Scandinavia, parts of Europe, North America, the mission fields of India and the Orient, Africa and Latin America.”

The trigger to transcendence can be a religious revival or an economic boom or other phenomenon that grabs the imagination of a nation and refocuses it above and beyond the conflicting drama of the moment.

My prayer for our nation today, is not that my political side will win, but that we can all win by finding that ‘something’ so important that we are willing to give up our issues and be drawn to some point, transcending our separation. We must!