Christ’s Community: Continually Expanding
By Bill Gunlock of Taipei, Taiwan
Oneness and equality in Christ do not mean uniformity. They mean Unity in Diversity and relating in Christ-like love to the circumstances of others as if they were one’s own. They also mean full opportunity for people to experience human worth and related right, including expressing God-given giftedness in the church and society. -Doctrine and Covenants 165:3e
I was startled. I had failed the test. The car that forced me to the side of the highway was driven by a dark-skinned person. The first thing that came to mind was, “Of course!” which was quite contrary to what my parents taught me about loving all peoples.
Fortunately I was smart enough to know society had subtly taught me prejudice. What to do? Join them. I teamed up with the church’s entry into the East St. Louis, Missouri, African-American community in the early 1970s. I helped sponsor a youth group. I wrestled with the boys, went camping with them, attended concerts and worship services, and ate in their homes. Over time the prejudice was neutralized. I discovered the person behind the face. Following this I had experiences with the mentally ill, the homeless, and those who were theologically different.
Having lived in a Chinese society for over 16 years, Christ’s community continues to lead me in interesting directions. My friends include Daoist-Buddhists, atheists, Roman Catholics, and individuals in the LGBTQ community.
I discovered a book that explains why, beyond the challenges of language, there are misunderstandings between my East Asian friends and me-The Geography of Thought: How Asians and Westerners Think Differently…and Why by Richard E. Nisbett. We think and perceive things differently. I am a product of Jewish and Greek cultures; my friends of the East Asian. I was raised in a right-wrong, good-bad world; they in the Yin Yang, where harmony of the whole is the goal.
I am so proud to be a part of Community of Christ. The mantra, “Christ’s mission is our mission is my mission,” crosses cultural barriers. The masks come off because together in mission we discover the person in each other. In addition, when both of Earth’s hemispheres learn to appreciate each other’s differences, marvelous revelations will transpire.
I dwell in your presence.
Prayer of Examen
Spend a few moments recalling your day. Let details, events, and conversations drift through your memory. Offer gratitude for the day and pray to be aware of how God was present. What did you notice or feel that brought meaning? Pay attention to moments when you felt least in harmony with God’s vision for creation. Offer a prayer of confession. Pay attention to moments when you felt most in harmony with God’s vision for creation. Pray to be even more aware of and responsive to God’s presence in the days ahead. Amen.
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.