Boys in the Boat is the thrilling true story of the 1936 University of Washington crew team. The team went from obscurity to a gold medal at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. They didn’t have the pedigree of crews from Yale, Harvard, and Princeton. They were kids raised on farms and near shipyards. A ragtag team that had a sense of unity in the middle of diversity. Daniel James Brown explains how eight individuals of varying statures, physiques, and personalities capitalized on their diversity: “[Races] are won by crews, and great crews are carefully balanced blends of both physical abilities and personality types … A crew composed entirely of eight amped-up, overtly aggressive oarsmen will often degenerate into a dysfunctional brawl in a boat or exhaust itself in the first leg of a long race. Similarly, a boatload of quiet but strong introverts may never find the common core of fiery resolve that causes the boat to explode past its competitors when all seems lost. Good crews are good blends of personalities…Somehow all this must mesh. That's the steepest challenge. Even after the right mixture is found, each man or woman in the boat must recognize his or her place in the fabric of the crew, accept it, and accept the others as they are. It is an exquisite thing when it all comes together in just the right way.”
Be together, not the same. This is the theme constantly driven home in the New Testament about the church. The church is not a homogeneous group of look-alikes. It is not a little enclave where everyone is a clone of everyone else. In fact, the church is marked by diversity. The variety in the body of Christ is what gives it strength. In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul uses the metaphor of the body for the church. He insists that the genius of the body is in the fact that all the different parts are complementary to each other. No part is more important than another. Each part contributes to the function of the body. No one should disparage a members of the body. Each one should cherish and treasure and look out for the other members of the body.
No members of the body can exist without others. That’s why connection is so crucial to your spiritual health. A few years ago, Tom Hanks starred in the movie Castaway. Alone on an island after surviving a plane crash, his being cut off from people nearly drove him insane. Apart from the body of Christ, we can never be spiritually healthy.
Be together, not the same.