32 Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. 33 With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.
34 There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. 35 They laid it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.
Acts 4:32-35 NRSV
It seems I've been really good at saying things counter to the culture I live in, making others suspicious of what side I'm on. Am I a closet conservative, afraid to come out because my own kind would shun me? Am I a righteous liberal, guarding my words because I've seen my colleagues get burned by being too honest?
The truth is, I'm neither. I discovered many years ago I don't truly fit on either side. It's made it far more difficult as both sides appear to be drawing lines in the rock. Both sides are claiming injustice. Both sides are getting really good at yelling their issues at themselves, because they have become fortified in their own insular fort. The louder the sides get, the more polarized they become. In their camps, there is the illusion of peace. In reality, the Body of Christ has been torn to pieces. I know in our denomination there is almost an unwritten rule now: If you don't like it; leave like the ones before you. The worst part of it all? We don't even know we are doing it anymore.
I know the signs. First we shut down. We don't answer back. We get quiet. Second, we distance. When no one's watching we just walk away. Finally, we take our toys and play with our select group. This final step makes it more difficult to discuss and educate. We can't even agree to disagree. We are too far away from those with whom disagree.
Here is where we get to scripture. I've heard Acts 4 tossed around like we should all just live penniless lives, counting on one another to get things done. It's one of those scriptures used to shame certain people who don't seem to be sharing their stuff. There's a problem. We are so far from being an Acts 4 church it hurts. Before we can even get to giving up private ownership of stuff, we must first be "of one heart and soul." To be of one heart and soul, we must first know our neighbor.
I think we need to stop, take a deep breath, and realize we need to discover a way to find one another again. We're falling to pieces right now. We are engaging in a modern civil war, where we are verbally killing our brothers and sisters. Can we realize no one wins? Can you see how far we are from an Acts 4 church? How do we begin to piece this broken Body back together again?