Last Saturday I was sitting at a wedding when my phone vibrated. I glanced down to read that Neil Armstrong had passed away. Now I wasn’t alive when Mr. Armstrong first stepped on the moon, but when you look at the footage you get a sense of how many people were a part of this historic moment.
I read a great article today reflecting on Armstrong’s achievement and the reason that it still resonates so strongly with us today is because there was a common commitment everyone was invested in getting to the moon. There was a consensus about what needed to be done, and it became a reality.
Parker Palmer in his book To Know As We Are Known, talks about consensus. He says, “Consensus is the practical process by which we practice obedience and troth. Consensus is not a democracy of opinion in which a majority vote equals truth. Instead, it is a process of inquiry in which the truth that emerges through listening and responding to each other and the subject at hand is more likely to transcend collective opinion than fall prey to it.”
It’s not hard to see that, especially here in the United States, we are living in a time when we could benefit from a little more consensus. I believe that those of us who apart of the church are called to help model and engage those around us with an aim of building more consensus. The apostle, Paul, writes to the Ephesians about Jesus equipping his followers to help build up the body of Christ. This isn’t just for edification for those who are Christian, but this consensus building is meant for the entire world.
So I believe a small step for us would be to actually live into a space where we truly listen to each other.
The giant leap? Who knows, but if you believe they put a man on the moon, with God anything is possible.