Monday, September 27 2021 - 9:20 PM
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Shared Living

The battles for righteousness, community and truth are public. Anyone can see it if they open their eyes.

“The Son watches the Father closely and then mimics the work of the Father. The Father loves the Son, so He does not hide His actions. Instead, He shows Him everything, and the things not yet revealed by the Father will dumbfound you. The Father can give life to those who are dead; in the same way, the Son can give the gift of life to those He chooses” (John 5:19-21, The Voice).

But God wisely understands that unending life can only be given to those who value not just their own lives but the lives of others—including those they don’t personally know.

Who Do You Believe?

It all comes down to who you are going to believe. Are you going to embrace the “meistic” philosophy of the day that elevates selfishness and individualism under the guise of “personal freedom?” Or, are you going to embrace life—the divine mystery that promotes individuality within the context of shared living?

Back in the day, God made His covenant with the community of Israel, not an individual. Yes, God made a covenant with Abraham, but Abraham was the father of a community. The covenant was never meant to be made with just one isolated person. It was always about an organic community of people who cherished God’s values.

Back then, the worst thing that could happen to an individual was to be excluded from their community. Being connected with a community was as critical as it is for a fetus to remain in its mother’s embryonic fluid before birth. The fluid provides a place of safety and nourishment. Being severed from a community was like being thrust outside—aborted.

Individualism Versus Individuality

Today, the world worships rugged individualism and selfish ambition. Personal freedom is valued above shared life. Individualism is defined as a doctrine that views the interests of individuals as ethically paramount above all others.* Whether intentional or not, this ultimately promotes selfishness. Individuality celebrates the uniqueness of each person and is a defining quality of God’s creative power. They are not the same.

Many no longer view themselves as part of a shared community, where each one values their own interests and the interests of their neighbors and the larger community. COVID-19 has made it clear that many aren’t willing to suffer the inconvenience of mask-wearing and social distancing to protect the weak and vulnerable. Some have even said that the death of some is the price of our freedom.

A showdown is brewing on the horizon! Selfishness and individualism are unsustainable and will eventually implode.

God invites us to be part of His community where each person is valued, nourished, and loved.

Rich DuBose writes from Northern California.

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About Rich DuBose

Rich DuBose

is director of Church Support Services for the Pacific Union Conference.

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