By Jen Gillan
That’s become a bit of a mantra for Cooper and I as we have embarked on our now 9-month old marriage. It’s amazing that from two different individuals, God creates a new thing – a new family. Sure, we speak the same language and grew up in the same country, but our stories are as different as Tucson, where my husband mostly grew up, is to Chicago, where I grew up.
For example, my parent’s Latin-American, immigrant narrative that I experienced growing up is a different narrative than the one Cooper grew up with, as someone from the dominant culture. It’s been quite an eye-opening, meaningful, and often hilarious experience so far to encounter these and other differences (aw well as similarities), and to work out what it means to integrate our lives with one another.
I’m really drawn to this idea that God is about creating new things. And when I think about how a diverse community of believers can engage the freedom in Christ that we affirm in light of major theological differences that we have, I think about God doing a new thing.
Here’s what I’m not talking about: warm, fuzzy feelings of harmony and agreement or a simple, pain-free process. Quite the opposite.
Here’s what I am talking about: new life on the other side of death.
We’ve talked about this idea before here at Theoloqui – that the Christian life is a cruciform life, patterned after the dying and rising of Christ. That before resurrection, death must take place. Before new creation emerges, death precedes it.
And so when we are faced with the tensions of our varied theological perspectives, it’s not the time to give up or give in to fear, but rather the time to rehearse the story of our Lord, this dying and rising with Christ as a community. We do this by dying to our knee-jerk reactions and to the versions of faith that are most comfortable or familiar to us. And we do this by pausing and listening to one another, reading Scripture together, suspending judgment, praying without ceasing, and speaking to each other in love.
For when we lean into God’s story of new life through death and open ourselves to the movement of God’s Spirit among us, I believe that we may well find ourselves on the verge of something powerful and beautiful and hear ourselves saying to one another, “God’s doing a new thing.”