We are living in a time of increasingly toxic conflict, exacerbated by not one but two social upheavals: the pandemic and racial tension boiling over. Uncommon Ground: Living Faithfully in a World of Difference, by Tim Keller and John Inazu, shows believers how to reach faithfully across deep and painful differences. Besides Keller and Inazu, 10 leaders—including LeCrae, Tom Lin, and Christian Reformed Church member Shirley Hoogstra—share their stories to help answer the question “How do we love one another even when we radically disagree?”
Former Madison Square CRC member Rudy Carrasco, who contributed the chapter “The Entrepreneur,” shares his vision of living in a way that is “faithfully present” even in conflict.
What is your definition of entrepreneur?
Entrepreneurship is simply creating something new where there was nothing. Right now, with two social earthquakes going on, is the perfect moment for this kind of response. Think of any city with problems. You can step into those problems with entrepreneurial solutions and be part of shalom in this moment. God has this. God will empower you. I worked for many years with [civil rights activist and community developer] John Perkins, whom people think of as a theologian and racial reconciler. But he has this enormous entrepreneurial side. I watched the business side of him respond to social problems in the community.
How does the concept of “things fall apart” give you comfort?
Things will fall apart. All businesspeople do all day is solve problems. It’s important to remember this when we go into a situation where we don’t have maximum control. It’s part of the nature of things. It’s a simple fact that you can’t control everything. I line up with Reformed theology—we are all depraved. The idea that things fall apart gives me breathing space and grace when I encounter fresh brokenness. But it’s also true that this is not the final word.
We are called to be salt and light. How can “salt” be entrepreneurial?
[Religion professor] Anthony Bradley says that salt was sometimes understood in the ancient world as a fertilizer, not just a preserver. Christians are called to go where nothing is growing and help bring new life and growth. We can go in with a sense of hope even if we feel hopeless. God has already set us up to be impactful. We can fertilize the world and bring life to places and situations that need it.
We are facing challenging, divisive issues. How can we work together to be “faithfully present”?
Relating to people is hard and getting harder. Jesus told us it would be hard. The path forward will require more of us. It may be so difficult and painful. But Jesus modeled how to spiritually approach divisions. Now we are going to have to follow that. It’s about staying at the table even if we don’t agree. Christ-followers are called to that. It will take patience with people on journeys different from our own. But we can rest knowing God will make a way for us that brings life.