It seems like something of an understatement to say that we are living in a moment that is increasingly defined by deep division. Division that is characterized not just by difference (in ethnicity, culture, etc.) or even disagreement (“you like the Yankees, I like the Red Sox – can we like each other?”) but by the rending of relationships brought about through the conflicting ways in which we see and interpret the world around us. As you move about each day in this ruptured landscape, you may find yourself discouraged by the power of division and divisiveness and wondering if there is any way forward that would heal this brokenness and separation.
The Initiative proposes a way of life where love can be greater than division. That may sound naive or maybe just a lot of wishful thinking. If love is merely sentimentality or a “going along to get along” then it’s not much of a match against the forces of division. But if we look at the life of Jesus revealed through the stories of the New Testament, we see a love at work that is extraordinarily powerful – an emptying, self-giving love that pursues us and embraces us despite our selfishness and inability to see and interpret the world as it really is. A love that is stronger than death itself. In fact, death is the ultimate division, separating us from all that is good in this world.
So, if love is greater than death, it is certainly greater than division. But that love is not something that simply comes naturally to us or “goes without saying.” Our lives must be anchored in experiences of God’s deep and abiding love for us. We need intentional practices to ground our lives in God’s love. Out of those practices, God’s love is formed in us and becomes a Jesus-shaped template for the way that we live. Over time, through this intentionality, we become people who live a self-giving love that pursues deep and growing friendships with others who would normally be separated from us. In this way, love becomes greater than division.