[250] No Secular Space
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[250] No Secular Space

Polarization is perpetually in the news, and it can create what Ryan J. Pemberton calls “secular space” among believers.  Pemberton is a minister for university engagement in Berkeley, CA, a boiling cauldron of political passion.  His aim is to make the love that should bind believers in Christ stronger than the secular (in Berkeley’s case, political) space that divides them.

“Look down the pew to the right,” he said one Sunday morning.  “Now look to your left.  There’s a fifty percent chance that your neighbor is voting differently than you.”

“it’s a difficult way to do church, but it is also is a beautiful reminder of what it means to for the church to be the church and not an affinity group.” says Pemberton in the Christianity Today‘s “What My Berkeley Congregation Taught Me About Loving My political Enemies.”  Affinity groups segment a church, creating secular space between believers.

Pemberton wisely points out that the key to preventing secular space lies in affirming that our primary identity is as fellow followers of Jesus Christ.  And that is working in Berkeley. “There are communities where I’d find people who share more of my political views,” said one of his congregation, “but they wouldn’t care for me like this community.”

“I couldn’t believe it when I pulled into the parking lot,” said another, “and saw a Trump sticker beside their [church] bumper sticker.  When I realized whose car it was, I also realized not only am I in a small group with that person, but that I love them.”

This is a model to a lost world.  It is incarnational proof that if we let him, Christ can unify us in ways we cannot imagine. DC

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