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Divided We Unite: A Review

So, I read Pam Hogeweide’s book, “Unladylike: Resisting the Inustice of Gender Inequality in the Church,” and half through, felt like burrowing my feminine head in the sand. But I plowed through, becuase I like Pam, and because her book held promise and hope. (Of which I write here.) About the time Pam’s book came out, my friend and fantastic writer, Ed Cyzewski released his book “Divided We Unite: Practical Christian Unity” and started a weekly blog series about Women in Ministry, which is, in a word, FANTASTIC.

Ed and Pam, from different backgrounds, different perspectives, and different genders, are about dialogue. They both seek to open up our tiny human brains and urge us to push the edges of our understanding. Reading the two books back to back proved to be a move of staggering genius, albeit unintentional.

Where I felt sad for my sisters in reading Pam’s book, I felt encouraged that they were embracing their voices. When I finished her book, I still wondered if others would grasp this resistance in practical wasy. Ed to the rescue.

Ed outlines, in clear and often quietly funny language, how we can be more open to diversity in the church, where different interpretations of scripture or sacraments can open gigantic rifs and shatter hearts. I enjoy Ed’s blog about the Christian faith, because he is always quick to a point a finger at himself first, before leveling any  ideas or suggestions at anyone else, and his book, Divided We Unite is no different. Ed reminds us of a neeed for plank extractions on ourselves as much as he reminds himself.

The big idea of Ed’s book is that as a body, letting differences, both big and small, affect our unity is a waste of the community God intended. He posits that through study, thought and discipline, we can focus our efforts on acting toward our brothers and sisters in love, because we are more about the work of taking care of our inner messes. When we are doing that, we can avoid gossip, division and judgment, because then we see that everybody is walking through messes.

Ed writes:

“We  aren’t here to defend the gospel. We’re here to  let God change how we live and speak  through the Gospel.”

See that? God doesn’t need my help to be who He is, but I need His to be who I am. And when we do that, we can do another idea that resonated with me.

 

“Whether you have a disagreement online or at a church meeting,  learn to recognize the signs of anger hen practice waiting for it to pass before replying.”

This is a good, solid book full of worthy advice, sound reason and a calmness we would do well to mimic, and not just in our churches. Ed’s advice about unity could apply to cubicle-workers, families and pretty much any organization. It is about surrendering our desire to be right in order to be faithful. On its own, reading it illuminated some previous church garbage I’ve been carrying around, and reminded me that I don’t want to be an agent of division but of unity.

Check out Ed’s books, his blogs and his Women in Ministry series to learn how much cooler Ed is than I can articulate. He’s good people.

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