If you've been around the American church for any length of time, this word probably has a negative connotation. Maybe you've heard that having a different opinion and is devisive. Maybe your leadership has told you that unless you agree with them 100%, you are being devisive.
I have another submission.
There are sixtyone occurrences of the word devision / devisions in the Bible. Out of these, only ten mean to rend or cleave. Out of those ten, only four have to do with division of the body, and out of those four, only one has to do with an individual actively trying to bring division / disjoin / separation (Jude 1:19). That's one out of 61.
The remaining fiftyone uses of the words devision / devisions have to do with allotments, shares, portions, troops, function and charge (as in a person or thing committed to the care of another).
Since most of the references have to do with allotments and funtion than with active separation, has the church missed the point? The outside world sees and watches. They see us tearing at each other, disagreeing and sometimes even cursing one another. Perhaps we should focus more on what our allotment / portion / function is in the body.
1 Corinthians 12 compares the church to a body. Each part functions separately for the good of the whole. In the Old Testament, Israel was divided, but it was divided into tribes. Each tribe had a distinctive flag. It had its own position in the camp, its own name and function. Every tribe even had a distinctive, individual and recognizeable shofar cadence. Yet, as individual as the tribes were, they all followed the same fire and cloud. When the fire or cloud moved, each tribe had a specific role to play.
In our churches we are all following the same God. Each clan, tribe or camp has a definite role to play. Each and every person has a specific function that is essential to the church.
Instead of embracing these differences and roles, we fan the flames of separation. We call out sin where there isn't any. We try to force brothers and sisters into a mold that they were never meant to conform to. We command unity, which becomes a false unity. We want to clone ourselves, demanding that we, and our other clones, are the right ones. We create yes men who say yes, when they have a better idea or method. But, instead of offering that they go along. They say yes, because they know that saying no means being ostracized or labelled a troublemaker. What if creating yes men we limit what God wants to do?
If God can use a jackass to make His point (Numbers 22), then perhaps He can use an outlier with a different method or idea.
What would happen if we began to truly function as a body? How would church be different if we began to recognize and encourage our differences? What would our churches look like if we could have a healthy debate / discussion, like the Jerusalem Council, without making idols of the "boxes" our church has created - "This is the way we've always done it."
I see Christian friends of mine who specialize in certain areas - health, prayer, encouragement, politics - trying to keep the church informed; trying to encourage the church to pray about these issues. What I see happening is that they are attacked, accused of feamongering or ignored. I have seen brothers / sisters brush off information - "Keep your eyes on Jesus. He's working it all out." Yes, He is! But, what if He needs our cooperation to accomplish something?
There is another option. Realize that your brother and/or sister has a unique, almost idiosyncratic, call on his / her life. He is an oddball. He is called to function as one part of the body, while you may be called to function as another. However, because his call is different does not mean it isn't essential. What if, instead of poo-pooing the information, what if you would pray about what they've shared? Just because it isn't in your area of interest, doesn't mean that issue doesn't warrant your prayers.
Maybe I'm living in a dream world. Maybe the church is too "organized." Maybe it's too late. But, maybe....just maybe...there is hope. If you feel you are an outcast because of your call, let me encourage you. Don't forsake the call. Don't relinquish the passion. Keep posting. Keep researching. Whether they know it or not, the body needs you. Without you the body is impaired. You never know who is reading, watching, seeking for another tribe member. You never know who needs you. Be true to your tribe (1 Corinthians 12).