by Greg Taylor, Managing Editor
January – April, 2006

Most of us are conditioned to think of unity in both abstract and narrow terms. To illustrate, close your eyes and imagine unity? Getting any mental images? Do you think of unity only in terms of church?
Unity is a vast and underdeveloped concept and practice in our world today. Unity is the focus in 2006 for a group of cousins by church heritage who split in 1906: Christian Churches, Disciples of Christ, and Churches of Christ. Our spiritual forbears started a unity movement two hundred years ago, split one hundred years ago, and many in the movement want to unite again today. So this year family reunions are planned, including the North American Christian Convention, the Tulsa Soul Winning Workshop, and the Abilene Christian University Lectures, which will also host the Restoration Forum, an ongoing dialogue between the three branches of the Stone-Campbell Movement.
This gives New Wineskins a great occasion for both joining in and impacting the discussion on unity. From January to April 2006, New Wineskins will explore unity through dozens of creative and insightful essays and dialogues, excerpts, audio, and your interaction through blogs, forums, and e-mails.
New Wineskins wants to help prepare us for these meetings, to expand our thinking beyond the scope of some of these meetings, to broaden the discussion so that the word “unity”—its beauty and power and relationship to the One God—is rescued from narrow and abstract thinking and given new shape and practice in our lives. We’ll bring you an excerpt from Gene Shelburne’s book, The quest for unity: an appeal for unity among all believers in Christ to help us move the discussion beyond only Stone-Campbell churches but into the body of all believers in Christ.
We’ve asked Gary Holloway, theologian, author, and professor at Lipscomb University, to bring us more on the roots of unity in this movement in his article, “Circle of Fire: Barton Stone and a Spiritual Model of Unity” (January 16).
We’ve also asked several theologians to help ground us in the incredible unity of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, to understand the mystery of how the redeemed can be one with the Redeemer so that Christ can call us his brothers and sisters (Hebrews 2:10-12). We are one with Jesus Christ. We’ll explore this mystery in-depth and look at how we live out this calling to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:3). Through these articles, we’ll move closer to the “full stature of Christ,” toward greater unity in God in Christ, in one another as we discover what this means for life on earth and the unity that is to come only in the end times.
We’ll reach out to one another, to conceive of unity in more concrete terms and practices like perhaps we’ve never spoken of before.
Today, David Fleer brings us an essay on “White Apathy” that takes us inward to our racial assumptions and apathy, then to turn outward to a concrete practice of unity in inter-racial relationships.
Greg Taylor
managing editorNew Wineskins

Greg TaylorGreg Taylor is managing editor of New Wineskins, a former missionary in Uganda, and now an associate minister for spiritual formation, outreach and small groups at Garnett Road Church of Christ in Tulsa. He is married to Jill and they have three children. [Journey With Greg Taylor Blog]. E-mail him at

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