I suggested that community can be developed by following three rules. First, we have to acknowledge the value of all people and truly believe it. Second, we have to recognize that we are not going to agree on every issue. Just like everyone else, I wish people would agree with me all the time and see things the way I do, but I know that’s not a reality. Therefore, I have to acknowledge that fact. Finally, we need to make sure that we are willing to work together where we can. Just because people disagree with me on some things does not mean they disagree with me on everything. In fact, we might be able to work together on a wide variety of good things that would benefit society as a whole. We don’t want to let the disagreements stonewall everything that can be achieved by coming together.
Now, with this framework in place, let me show you a few examples of how this can work out for the rest of this week. These are real life examples of communities working together where they can for the good despite disagreements.
The first example I want to highlight is called the Nineveh Reconstruction Committee. Obviously, ISIS has been ravaging areas of the Middle East for some time now, but they have now been driven back from certain cities. However, these regions are now uninhabitable due to the immense property destruction that ISIS left behind. Rebuilding must take place for the refugees, particularly Iraqi Christians, who were driven from these areas to be able to move back.
The Nineveh Reconstruction Committee is therefore committed to this project, but the interesting part is that they are an alliance of three different churches. The Chaldean, Syriac Catholic and Syriac Orthodox all have equal representation in the leadership of this organization despite their theological differences.
This is not to say that theology is unimportant; I believe that theology matters a great deal. However, this organization believes in the pursuit of the common good, and they clearly recognize that all of them will be better off if they work together to rebuild this war-torn region.
However, working together in this way does not force any of them to compromise on their convictions while simultaneously pursuing the common good. They are not sacrificing their beliefs for community which is vitally important.
This is what I’m talking about when I talk about community. These churches could say that because we have different theological beliefs, we cannot work together at all. However, they realized that working together as a community on a building project does not violate any of their core beliefs and therefore is something that they ought to do for the good of all of their communities. This is a good sign.