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Different Not Divided: Practicing a Third Way

A 6-Video Series on the Work of the People 

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We were happy to partner with The Work of The People to create a 6-video series centered on learning to hold our differences in tension in community.

The videos include a Discussion Guide for each week and are meant to be processed together in a small group, staff meeting or retreat, or any other venue where people are able to engage with one another.

Different Not Divided: Practicing the Third Way Series:

  • Session 1 – Fight or Flight vs. The Third Way – Part One (13 minutes)
  • Session 2 – Fight or Flight vs. The Third Way – Part Two (22 minutes)
  • Session 3 – Unity vs. Uniformity (16 minutes)
  • Session 4 – Safety vs. Comfort (7 minutes)
  • Session 5 – Dignified Dialogue (11 minutes)
  • Session 6 – Hope for the Church (16 minutes)

Here’s a brief introduction to the material from the Discussion Guide: 

“Make them one….”  ~Jesus

Churches are closing every day. Beautiful, important communities that are desperately needed in a world thirsty for Love and Light turn off the lights and close their doors. Often, it is at the end of a painful journey that began with a possible disagreement over the meaning and intention of scripture or over culturally divisive issues, or it could just be about who gets to pick the color of carpet.

When we love our theology more than our brothers and sisters, we are usually left with only two options:

1. Create increasingly larger, theologically monolithic and homogeneous churches, or

2. Disintegrate, fracture and eventually close the doors and lose relationship with each other.

For almost 10 years in The Refuge community, we have tried to practice a third option–a Third Way–where instead of fighting for our positions or fleeing for the safe haven of a group that looks, thinks, and believes like us, we live in the tension of our differences.

We are different, not divided.

This third way is not for the faint of heart or for those who have prioritized efficiency over relationships, but, it is a requirement if you dream of a faith community that is zealous to live out the dream and prayer of Jesus that we be unified and live as One Body.

The short videos in this series most likely will not answer all of your questions.  Each situation is unique and carry nuances and consequences that may be different from our own experiences. However, our hope is that it will give you the language you need to start the dialogue. Some of you are probably already having the conversation; in your head, alone in the car, deep in your psyche, you have labored for hours trying to practice what you would say and how you would say it.

Or some of you may have already started the conversation and realized how divisive it can feel and have backed off or avoided going further out of fear. You don’t want to lose your church. You don’t want to lose your friends. You don’t want to alienate your family.

The purpose of this material is to actually invite your friends, brothers, and sisters to join in these conversations with you.

This material is not meant to be processed alone. You can watch the videos by yourself, but the truth is that the only way to really practice a Third Way is to sit at the table, a coffee shop, a small group, a staff meeting, a church gathering, or some other participatory venue and show up and practice.

This guide includes discussion questions and resources to process together for each video, and our hope is that you will modify the format to work for whatever forum you are using to best engage with the material. We share questions for each video and like to pretend we are in the room with you, however, feel free to craft your own or expand on the ideas in any way that works for your group. Use as much or as little as you’d like.

We would love to hear from you and join in the conversation when and where we can. Know that we are with you, praying that you will discover a place to call home, a place where you can bring your own perspectives to the table and hold your brothers and sisters in love as you walk together in humility and courage.

With hope,

Karl Wheeler and Kathy Escobar

To download the videos and discussion guides from The Work of the People, click here.