Living In The Deeper Unity


“Writing yesterday about the growing separatism and divisiveness in our world, I have continued to ponder it. Today I want to suggest a means for overcoming the temptation to be sectarian and schismatic–at least in our own hearts. I call it living in the deeper union…

In a world where the mindset of separation often wins out over one of unity we must train ourselves to resist the lure of divisiveness. It is an aspect of training ourselves in godliness (commended by Paul in 1 Timothy 4:7) because union is the basis for relationship within the Godhead and between/among all that God has made.

Simply put we must seek the deeper union that always exists if we recognize it, and seek for it to be real in and through us. Living in the deeper unity provides key elements that create and sustain life.

Living in the deeper unity establishes stability. Divisiveness generates instability. The tremors created by contention trouble the waters of relationships. We cannot be on our best game because we are off balance with ourselves and others. But when we find the deeper union, we find a level of peace and calm. We find a place to stand–a sure foundation to address our differences.

Living in the deeper unity creates security. Divisiveness produces competitive dualistic thinking. Tension escalates in right/wrong, good/bad, in/out hierarchies. But when we find the deeper union, we cease trying to “win” and be “better than” anyone else, instead offering the best we have and receiving the best that others have to give. In this security we live unafraid.

Living in the deeper unity generates discovery. Divisiveness freezes the past and turns it into a demand in the present. But when we find the deeper union, we recognize we are moving in a flowing stream. The past brings us into the present without requiring it to be a clone of yesterday. We are free to explore, make new discoveries, learn, and grow. And we are not said to be wrong when we do so.

Living in the deeper unity confirms witness. Divisiveness ignites mean-spiritedness, and nothing cancels out our alleged love of one another more completely than that. But when we find the deeper union, love prevails even in a diverse community. That kind of authenticity is attractive to others in ways that judgmentalism can never be.

Living in the deeper unity fosters change. Divisiveness shuns relationships, preferring to live by innuendos, stereotypes, and caricatures. But when we find the deeper union, we form relations that enable us to get to know people, revealing that those whom we formerly labeled “the others” are in many respects like us–and in some ways even better than us. We are changed through actual contact.

Living in the deeper unity is an effort required by all parties. Without a mutual commitment to it, our relationships remain hierarchical in essence, and our words about unity end up only being words. Deeper unity is not a hypothetical state, but the actual experience we have when we recognize our oneness in the human family. In deeper unity there is so much to be learned and so much to be gained.

Thomas Keating describes the gain as the sense of oneness with God, other people, and the cosmos. He writes, “Respect for others diminishes the drive to dominate and control. Cooperation replaces unbridled competition. Harmony replaces rigid value systems.” [1]

And long before now, David summed it up simply, “How good and pleasing it is when we live together as one!” (Psalm 133:1)”

Steve Harper




“Henri Nouwen’s Wonded Healer is a classic writing in spirituality. Nouwen understood the well-known Australian Aboriginal activists quote, “If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”

Grace is understanding our oneness with all people.

~ Jeff Blake, A Year on Grace Street (Feb. 7th entry)

Already Free


“It may be that we are not capable of existing except in a state in which we imagine ourselves to be under domination. In that event, resentment may help to make the situation acceptable, but it can never make us healthy. It is only a justification, a pretense that we would be free if we could. But what if we discovered that we are, in fact, already free?”

~ Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation

Painting by André Brasilier (1929)

Communication From Our Hearts


“Let’s not get bogged down on whom or what we pray to. Let’s just say prayer is communication from our hearts to the great mystery, or Goodness, or Howard; to the animating energy of love we are sometimes bold enough to believe in; to something unimaginably big, and not us.”

~ Anne Lamott, Help Thanks Wow

Painting by Alfred Sisley (1874)

Existential Oneness


“We love first from the sense that we are connected with one another and with life itself. This is the singular, existential oneness we share as those made in the image of God.”

~ Steve Harper, Living in Love: The Essence of the Christian Life

Painting by Félix Vallotton – Forest of Boulogne (1919)