At a racial unity Bible study a few nights ago, I learned a new way to think about the power of older Christians to bring people together. Pastor and author *Tony Evans has offered the metaphor of **emulsion to describe how God’s people can bring together disparate or disagreeing groups of people.
As I understand the chemistry, emulsifiers enable the identities of two different substances to be bonded. Emulsifying agents may lose some of their identity in that work, but the final result is a unified new substance. Evans notes that the previously non-binding materials do NOT lose their specific identity in the new bond. The new relationship is greater than the sum of its parts, perhaps more effective or useful than the previous individual identities.
This analogy struck me as especially useful when I consider how I might have special capabilities for unifying people. Here I’m thinking specifically about present-day political discord, but those of us who are older might also be useful in other relationships—e.g., racial, age, religious—that could use some help.
How might I be a relational emulsifier at this time in my life? Perhaps most importantly, I don’t inspire fear in anyone. When I’m in the presence of previously disparate viewpoints, I don’t threaten or castigate either group. Because of my varied life experiences, I offer the benefit of trustworthy understanding, acceptance and wisdom. I have little or nothing to gain or lose personally. Working towards the greater good, I provide a win/win perspective that is valuable to both parties. I’m one of Jesus’ followers—his example is strong and persuasive.
Mistrust and anxiety are rampant in our society right now. Perhaps those of us who are older could be an effective force in correcting this situation.
A emulsifying calling we can answer….
*Evans’ book, Oneness Embraced, presents the concept in greater detail. (https://tonyevans.org/racial-unity-resources/)
**His example: Mayonnaise, whose basic ingredients—oil and water—don’t mix well until the addition of egg to the recipe. By its composition, the chemistry of an ordinary egg allows the absorption of both oil and water into the substance of the egg.