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The UNITY in commUNITY

by rj duncan – kansas city fellow 2016-17


I am from Tennessee. I’m not from around here.

One of the aspects of home I miss most are all of the social events that bring us together.

“Kansas City is a divided city.” These words transformed from what I perceived to be a cliché into swaths of tangible, unavoidable reality. Division has many faces.

Kansas and Missouri. Southern, Western, and Midwestern. Johnson County and Jackson County. K-State, KU, and MU. Jackstack, and Q39, and Gates, and Arthur Bryant’s, and Joe’s KC, and… etc

East and West of Troost. Townie or Outsider. Each neighborhood can feel like its own little city.

Several times, locals have shared, there are only three things that bring the city together:

The Royals, The Chiefs, and St. Patrick’s day.

This is the climate in which the twelve of us Fellows have lived life together.

I am convinced Jesus is the only reason we have not killed each other.

Typical Jesus. He was the only bond holding his twelve disciples together as well. Many were enemies before they followed Him. How else do Simon the Zealot and Matthew the Tax Collector share life, much less the same mission? Picture the tense interactions between the two. Yet each brought his own perspective. Each had to lay down all of the prejudice with which he perceived the other. James and John wanted to be the greatest above all the others (Mark 10). They even brought their mother into it to ask Jesus (Matthew 20). Some, like Nathaniel, held to petty regional politics, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” (John 1:46)


Living with the Fellows has sanded off many of each other’s rough spots. And “as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17). When two of our guys, one an MU and the other a KU grad share a bathroom, those sectarian sentiments dissolve into a shared human experience. While not always as extreme, we have each drawn closer together as Jesus leads.


Our Trinitarian God is equally diverse in form and unified in will. The Beauty of the Church is Her proclamation of Him in echoing the same. “How good and how pleasant it is when brothers dwell together in unity” (Psalm 133:1)

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