People are hardwired to connect. There is a growing body of research to demonstrate that people have a deep need to be social. Yet, many of our institutions are built around fundamentally different values. I would argue, first and foremost, that connectedness is a high moral good. Being connected is good, and being disconnected is bad. I would define “sin” in its most basic form as relational disconnect. To steal, lie, murder, covet, and so many other sins are the cause of and result of a breakdown in relationships. The different systems or concepts of relationship breaking down are both the result of sin and they are sin themselves.
This political climate is so painful because there are some 80 to 90% of people who are fundamentally disconnected. They do not now and never will see eye-to-eye. They use the same words to mean fundamentally different things, so even in the rare instance where people from disparate political backgrounds interact, they are still never going to connect. “Family” among white, suburban, individualistic, middle-class people is not the same concept or idea of “family” as an African-American, urban, communal and interdependent, scarcity-mindset people. They can talk about “family” all day and be the perfect image of ‘two ships passing in the night.’ That loss of connection is one that so desperately needs to be restored in order for us to survive.
The disconnect from each other extends far beyond language. Our fates, our destinies are individualized completely. Now, the rise and fall of an entire class of people has no effect on another socioeconomic class. The rich can thrive, and the poor will never sniff the benefit. The reverse is true as well. The olden days, the small town days of a family experiencing a windfall harvest and sharing it with the community, those days are long gone. Doing well, doing poorly, you’re on your own. The plight of one people group is so disconnected from the others that it bothers us nothing to see another person suffer. We are alone in our communities, and now we are alone in our own families. It is every man for himself.
The hope for us is that we can move against the culture of death we have created and engage with our base level design. On the other side of machines and screens is us, there is no ‘other.’ We aren’t the ‘others’ that our world is telling us to hate, we are our brothers and sisters. We are our brother’s keepers. We should respond to the suffering of another people as if it was our very own, because it is. And we ought to respond to the joy and celebration of another as if it was our very own, because it is as well. There’s no this competition, that’s just a lie that we have chased down this suicidal path for so long. We are competing for our base level needs when we have enough capacity and resources in the world to take care of everyone – we have just believed this lie for so long that we don’t believe we can do that.
In the spiritual realm, the enemy wants to divide us. In the last 100 years, he has made huge strides towards that goal. The Holy Spirit wants to unite us. Whenever we pray together, we are totally, completely in that victory. We are united, the lies of the enemy go away when we change our focus. Know and believe that we are together, we aren’t as separated as the enemy tells you – when he speaks through the many forms of media, the voices of culture, and even your own experience. Know that when you pray, you are praying with us, with me, with everyone else who prays in the Spirit. We are united, we are who we were designed to be, we don’t have to wait, we are already this way.
Picture a massive athlete, a Lebron James type of person. There is this picture in the spiritual realm of that (this is you, by the way) guy who is 6’8″ and supremely muscled, and the fastest among his peers. Now you have two options. One, you can believe that you are not that guy, and act accordingly. I see that many people do, they are so separate from their brothers, sisters, and themselves that they see themselves as weak and soft creatures. Your other option is to see who you are, the power that is in you that comes out in connectedness with God and with your people. God has put his Holy Spirit in you, and fully connected you with himself – how could you not be connected, freely, and powerfully, with the others around you? Connect, have amazing relationships, and be who you were born to be!