Berwick Thought for the Week: What unites and what divides people?

Rob Parson.Rob Parson.
Rob Parson.
In this article I will examine an age-old question, a reoccurring question, a good question and a hard question to answer.

What unites and what divides people?

To dig down to the deepest and simplest of answers, one might reach for the physical – that people share physical attributes.

And yet, a moment’s thought will discard that as useless because humanity exists in all sorts of shapes and sizes, able bodied and less able bodied, and all are of equal worth and dignity. So, what then?

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I suggest that our desires can reveal a commonality that can unite. Not just a desire for chocolate, or for technology, or for family and friends. A deeper desire.

How about the desire for connection? Perhaps it sounds obvious, but surely obvious is helpful with a question like this. Humanity seeks companionship and connection, networks and linkages.

The existence of the odd hermit might just be the exception that proves the rule. And so, is this a deep desire common to all humans? I suggest it is and because it is, no matter who we meet, and how we meet them, we can know that we have something in common.

There is something that unites us, even when that which divides us is perhaps worn so boldly on our sleeves. However, given the nature of this article, a thought for the week, I wish to encourage and to leave us pondering on the concomitant question. Where has this desire for connectivity come from?

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If this is only a material world, tending towards entropy, why would we share a desire for ordered connectivity?

The suggestion of the Christian faith is that this desire for connectivity is hard-wired into the creatures that have been created by an all-powerful God who is personally accessible and simultaneously absolutely powerful. Could this be true?

Rob Parson is the pastor of Wooler Evangelical Church. He lives in Wooler with his wife and four boys, having recently received his MA in Theology from Oak Hill College in London.

He has previously lived in the North East for more than a decade, working for a church with students, children, and youth. He enjoys reading, teaching, chatting, getting out into the Cheviot Hills and enjoying the beaches of Northumberland with his family.

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