Daniel over at Neothelogue has been producing some good posts on Christian unity lately, and his latest is particularly good.
After detailing the biblical vision of unity, he writes:
"But to the average person without the Spirit, it sure doesn't look like there's much unity, much one-ness to the Church."
I think Daniel is only half-right here. To the average person WITH the Spirit there is still little evidence of true unity within the church as a whole. While there are certainly those who cling to ideas of an "invisible unity" or some similar concept, its obviously a delusion. How can groups that refuse to worship together be unified? How can groups that regard each other as only nominally Christian be considered part of the same body? Members of these groups who still consider each other to be unified have a very flawed definition of unity.
Daniel goes on to point out the effect Christian schism has on non-believers:
"So here's my question: If the unity God intends for Christ's Church is a "spiritual" unity, one that's not really visible to the uninitiated, then how can it reveal anything to them? How can something that cannot be sensed physically have revelatory value to people who are spiritually blind?
That's right. It can't. God, have mercy on us."
Which is, of course, the whole point. Our unity is not just meant to be something fun for us, that makes our lives easier - it is meant to be a pointer towards God. The world is meant to see the unity of our love & fellowship, and see it in a way that they realize that it can be found nowhere else. This is one of the deepest problems I am having with Protestant Christianity right now. We are not only failing to strive for unity, we are nonchalantly accepting our discord. The question I continually ask myself is one of priorities - why is this a priority and that not? For instance, why is a church plant a priority, but joint ministry with other churches not? In this case, why is unity not a priority? So far, I haven't been able to find an answer.