When ongoing, heated disagreement hampered a group’s ability to move forward, today’s contributor experienced the unifying power of the idea that there is one God.

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It is a known fact that geese fly in a “V” formation because of the aerodynamic advantages it offers. The way the lead goose cuts through the air reduces the resistance for the birds behind him. Also, the position of the lead goose is a temporary one. As the leader tires, another goose rotates into the lead. These flight adaptations enable the whole flock to fly longer distances together than the individual geese could fly alone, but the benefits of the “V” formation would be of no use if the geese weren’t united in their purpose and intent.

In thinking about our global situation today, I’ve found this concept helpful. People worldwide yearn for some sort of stability in their lives, not the least of which is that their basic human needs can be met. Many of the huge political differences we see stem from varying opinions about how to achieve this goal for everyone. Sometimes it can feel like we’re all just a bunch of geese trying to get to a destination by flying solo and in random directions. There’s such a need for us to rally and find unity around something more basic and powerful than mere opinions and personal perspectives.

One time, a very diverse group I was associated with spent a year trying to reach consensus over an important decision about taking forward steps. The discussion was intense, often heated, always with strong differing opinions.

Wanting to see the situation resolved, I looked to the Bible for direction, because I’ve always found this a helpful thing to do. A powerful idea that shows up again and again is that there is one God. Moses made this very clear in the Hebrew Scriptures, and Christ Jesus stressed the importance of this true idea of God in the New Testament.

The Bible reveals this God as Love itself, our intelligent and good creator. People may call this God by different names, but as His spiritual creation we are all able to feel this divine presence that calls us, unites us, beyond rancor and division. Like the geese learning what works in terms of flying together, we can learn to feel the presence of divine Spirit, Love, and let it lead us.

Many people have glimpsed the power of this fundamental idea. For instance, the discoverer of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, wrote, “One infinite God, good, unifies men and nations; constitutes the brotherhood of man; ends wars; fulfils the Scripture, ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself;’ annihilates pagan and Christian idolatry, – whatever is wrong in social, civil, criminal, political, and religious codes...” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 340).

In my prayers I yearned to recognize that there was a spiritual basis for unity, for a harmonious resolution to emerge. Thinking of the oneness of God, it follows that God’s creation, all coming from the one source, must be unified. And because God is all good, God’s creation must result from a single force for good. This foundation of God’s oneness and goodness expressed throughout His infinite creation means there is room for diversity without conflict.

This may not be readily apparent, because it’s rooted in the undergirding idea that true existence is not in what we see when we look around, but is spiritual. Accepting this understanding of the oneness of God and God’s creation has brought me to a place of peace where I can see that those with differing points of view are all, in reality, innately capable of acting in a way that is cooperative and calm.

The power of this oneness was shown at our very next meeting, with the vast majority – around 98 percent – voting in unison. This turned out to be a wonderful step forward for the entire organization.

In the metaphor of the geese, the flock is made up of individuals. But as they become one in direction and purpose, they attain their goal more easily and quickly. As we unite in the understanding that there is one God, the source of all good, we will give wings and velocity to the universal desire for peace and progress.

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About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

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