I try to recognize the repetitive things I notice throughout the day to see if God is trying to get my attention. In the last few days, I have seen the word “dichotomy” in print, once on someone’s Facebook post and once on a delivery box. After these notices, I got that familiar nudge from the Spirit, asking me to pursue a deeper meaning.
A quick dictionary search reveals the word dichotomy to mean, “a division or contrast between two things that are opposed or entirely different." Another definition states, “a division into two especially mutually exclusive or contradictory groups.”
God does His greatest work in places where the most strident dichotomy exists. After all, He is the Redeemer of humanity. He brought together His love and our unredeemed lives, and as a result of that union, He now calls us His beloved. God's act of redemption crossed the widest separation and joined two opposing relationships demonstrating for us what love looks like. God's love has the goal to bring together what was once considered mutually exclusive or contradictory individuals or groups. This coming together of opposing forces becomes a testimony that God's redemptive love is at work in humanity.
We have become expert at holding separated positions we define as sacred at the expense of something greater that God wants to accomplish. These invitations to cross a dichotomy is not about compromise. It is about revealing the love of God in what many think are impossible situations to redeem. It is stepping out into a place where only a redeemed mind can walk.
Today, I saw a quote someone posted from Anne Lamott, "You can safely assume that you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people (or political persuasions) you do." In essence, the evidence that we have created a god in our image is that he will hate the same people we hate and divide us from the very people we need to reach across the cultural aisle to embrace in love.
The division we see in our culture and within the Church is a lesser way of living defined and empowered by our strident dichotomies. I’m not talking about redefining the unchanging nature of God or replacing Jesus as the Redeemer of humanity or importance of truth. I am referring to our strident political and social dichotomies that have produced a cultural and spiritual no man’s marked by the trenches of our preferred dichotomy. People are afraid to cross these divides for fear they might lose their faith. If our faith is so fragile it cannot cross a dichotomy for a work of redemption and remain intact; it is not the same faith offered by Jesus. He modeled a courageous faith in Scripture where we see Him regularly stepping up and out of religious trenches and crossing the dichotomies of his day to reveal to the world the heart of God and the power of redeeming love.