Being of the Same Mind, Impeachment, an Advent Reflection

"If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others" (Phil 2:1-4).

As I write these words, I am watching the Impeachment debate prior to the historic vote to impeach Donald Trump as president. I know many of my friends on the left are convinced that this is the right thing to do. I also know that many Christians on the right solemnly believe this impeachment is a travesty of justice. As I watch the proceedings I am struck by how each side is simply making the same points over and over again, speaking to their respective constituencies, but not speaking to one another. Regardless of what happens tonight, over the next weeks, and months, this country will need serious healing.

In Paul's letter to the Philippians we find several clusters of friendship phrases. Leading up to the Christ Hymn in chapter two, Paul encourages the Philippians to have "the same mind," "the same love," being in "full accord," and having "one mind." What is the key to such unity? Modeling our actions and intention on Christ, we are to "do nothing for selfish ambition and conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves."

Have you had times in your life in which you had difficulty reconciling with a friend, family member, or neighbor? What strategies do you use to let go of predetermined conclusions, or release the desire to be right at all costs? Is it possible to be humble again? Is it possible to regard others as better than ourselves? Is it possible to truly let go and look to the interests of others above our own? If we could engage in such friendships, might this be a way to come together again in healing and common purpose? Is this not an Advent message we can all get on board with?

Each day of advent, from Dec. 1 to Dec. 25, I plan to post a few thoughts on an aspect of friendship I learned while writing my book, Virtuous Friendship: The New Testament, Greco-Roman Friendship Language, and Contemporary Community, available on Amazon through this link. This will be a chance for me to share with you all a little bit from what I learned, while giving you, hopefully, a chance to take a deep breath during this busy season and do some reflection. Also, you won't have to secure another resource for Advent. I realize that you are all at many different places with regard to faith and belief, so use these reflections however you see fit. If you'd be interested in having me come speak at your church, lead a Bible Study, or even just Zoom or Skype in for a Q&A with a Sunday School class or other small group, let me know:


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