Aligning Ourselves with Like-Minded People Results in Isolation and Division
An issue in the corporate world is business silos. This is where a department or unit puts up walls that separate them from the rest of the company. The leaders of these silos of information and function do so to maintain control and assure them of power.
The result is a lack of communication with other units or departments, along with the hoarding of knowledge. This means the sales department doesn’t talk with the customer service department and neither one knows what marketing is doing, along with research and development, billing, and operations.
In the end, the customers suffer and the company is less than what it could be.
You may or may not have experienced this in the business world, but in Christian circles it’s much more common. It’s so common that it’s hard to avoid.
For most Christians who’ve been following Jesus for a while, their circle of friends and the people they interact with have become other Christians. They have little meaningful interaction with people who don’t follow Jesus.
This, however, overstates the situation. In truth their circle of friends and the people they interact with aren’t just other Christians, they’re only other Christians who think and act like they do.
Spiritual Silo as a Group
Over the centuries Christians have become experts at dividing themselves. Courtesy of the Reformation we ended up with Catholics and Protestants.
Protestants then divided themselves into three main streams: mainline, fundamental, and charismatic. But within each of these groups, further division occurred, now amounting to over 43,000 Protestant denominations. That’s a lot of division, disunity, and opportunities to form spiritual silos.
Most denominations isolate themselves from other denominations. Afterall, it was disagreement that caused them to form their denomination in the first place. And once they split off and formed their new denomination, they isolated themselves from those they disagreed with.
The result is a spiritual silo. Even within denominations, individual churches isolate themselves from other churches in their own group.
Some churches go so far as to isolate themselves from every other church.
The result of these spiritual silos is people associating themselves only with others who believe and act exactly as they do. Their understanding and practice of Christianity becomes extremely narrow, with them on the side of right and everyone else, wrong.
Spiritual Silo as Individuals
The spiritual silos that churches form—and most every church has done so to one degree or another—spills over to the people who attend there. Within churches people congregate with others like them, specifically others who follow Jesus with the same spiritual paradigms and priorities as theirs.
They push away people who think and act differently, even if it’s by the smallest of degrees. This produces even smaller spiritual silos, where members of the same church withdraw from other members over the most trivial of issues.
Taken to an extreme a person completely retreats from church and any form of spiritual community to live an isolated life away from all other followers of Jesus. They create for themselves a spiritual silo of one.
Spiritual Silos Promote Disunity
As we associate with people who are precisely like us, we push aside all others. The result is we spend our time with people who think exactly as we do, believe exactly as we do, and act exactly as we do. We view our own thoughts, beliefs, and actions as best aligned with God.
The logical extension is that we view all others as misaligned.
But our spiritual silos are exactly what God doesn’t want. Jesus prayed for the unity of his followers, that we would be one just as he and Papa are one. Our divisions, denominations, and spiritual silos work against Jesus’s desire for us to get along and function as one (John 17:20-23).
And why does he want us to be one? It’s to maximize our witness to the world, so that they may know.
Read more in Peter’s new book, Living Water: 40 Reflections on Jesus’s Life and Love from the Gospel of John, available everywhere in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.