Dear Hersey’s Inc.,
I commend you on your transparency. On your packaging, you clearly state your name “Resees” followed by the number of cups contained in the package. For this I commend you. But that begs the question of what a resees really is? Is it one cup? Is it a package of 2 cups? When I buy the package of two at the front of the store, am I buying one Resees or two? An informed word of authority on your part would bring swift end to my dilemma and my own personal hell over this matter.
This was the email that I sent to multiple levels of the Hersey organization last week in order to get the ultimate answer to a question that has plagued me for years. The king size (4 cups), the regular size (2 cups), and the individual (1 cup), all bear the same moniker “Resees”. Beneath the name they each state how many cups are included. Do you see the ambiguity and dilemma? How can one be many and many one? How can unity and diversity co-exist?
It is most certainly a problem our country is facing on multiple fronts: racially, politically, and economically. It is a problem facing the church as well: worship style, technologically, preaching style, etc.
What is fascinating about Jesus is how he embraced both unity and diversity. I first want to focus on the unity.
In his discourse/small group lesson/prayer found in John 14-17, Jesus is addressing his disciples in what is known as the Upper Room discourse. He is short one disciple as Judas has already left to betray Jesus and lead the mob. (John 14.27-31)
Jesus addresses the remaining 11 with the information they would need soon, when he would be no longer with them. A major theme of this talk is unity.
“I am the way and the truth and the life” says Jesus (John 14.6). One of the best ways to stay unified is to have the same goal and the same plan to get there. Marines are a brotherhood because every Marine from their inception in 1775, has sweated and bled just like those who have gone before them and those that will follow. Regardless of time period, their path remains the same because their end goal remains the same: to be the toughest fighting unit in the world!
When the path is the same and exclusive, unity is the result.
That is why empathy is so important. Two books pointed this out to me. The first was a book “Season of Life” by Jeffery Marx. Marx was a towel boy for the old Baltimore Colts. He grew up around the team but as he grew fell out of touch with the players, even his favorite, Joe Ehrmann, now a minister and high school football coach. He coaches his teams to be tough, disciplined, and loving. That’s right, he teaches them to love one another. Marx follows Ehrmann and his team throughout the season, soaking in lesson after lesson. Towards the end of the season Ehrmann shares this insight: “To me, the number-one criterion for humanity has to be empathy…when you have empathy, when you can understand the amount of suffering in this world, the pain that so many people are living in, and the causes of all that pain, then you can have a cause beyond yourself.” (128)
Empathy is the ability to travel the path of another, to walk in their shoes and to feel what they feel. Which brings me to the second book: Aliens Ate My Homework by Bruce Coville. Rod Allbright is dealing with a problem every 6th grader deals with: a bully. His bullies name is Billy Becker who counts the number of different types of bugs he can smash into the back of Rods head. One day Rod is visited by 5 members of the Galactic Patrol sent to Earth to capture the universes most notorious criminal and suddenly hid bully issue seems insignificant. They use his volcano project to fix their ship and they eat his math homework making his job of keeping them secret harder. Finally it is realized that his bully and their suspect are one in the same. When Billy realizes that Rod is helping the patrol, he kidnaps Rod’s twin siblings. When talking to a worried Madame Pon and crew they reveal that he is wanted for the most heinous crime in the universe. Rod begins to run through all the crimes he knows and doesn’t even come close. The crew tells him it is cruelty. Rod wonders if he heard right.
”In the civilized galaxy, cruelty is the greatest of all crimes,’ said Madame Pong…’an intelligent being who takes pleasure in causing pain to others—well, such a being is considered dangerously bent.’
’You must understand,’ msaid Tar Gibbons, ‘that empathy is the heart of civilization…the ability to understand what another feels.’”
Our ability to walk the path of another until our paths meet in Jesus is part of the unity that Jesus applauds.
Think of the group he has assembled around him. Zealots and tax collectors don’t belong together. Day workers and the elite. The poor and the kit cast. These men are a picture of diversity, yet they came together because of the message, the person, and work of Jesus. Their unity came from the identical path that they were walking.
by the way I’m still waiting on a new email…tbc.