Can we all just get along?
E Pluribus Unum: “Out of many, one.” This motto is emblazoned on the Great Seal of the United States, but it could be the church's model, too. Unfortunately, the daily experience of many Christians and churches feels like the opposite: out of one, many. We are increasingly aware of what makes us different from others, and it is hurting the church and its witness.
All Together Different will help readers understand why we find it so difficult “to just get along.” Drawing from research on personal and group identity, it equips readers to navigate a culture that often pays lip service to the value of diversity, but struggles to foster constructive dialogue and mutual respect. With clear writing and real-life stories, All Together Different translates social identity theory for pastors, church leaders, and ministry practitioners, exposing it to the light of biblical and theological reflection.
Church conflict is painful, but inevitable. At some point, a person or group in a congregation feels overlooked or mistreated, and the seeds of discord are sown. All Together Different will help church leaders understand how identity plays a role in these conflicts. Tucker and Koessler are scholars with pastors' hearts. They've written a wise book explaining how we can take our individual differences seriously while upholding the unity of the church.
Billy Graham Chair of Church, Mission, and Evangelism at Wheaton College
All Together Different is a substantial yet practical book that points the way forward toward a more unified experience of the body of Christ. In these pages, you'll find deep reflection and actionable suggestions for developing and maintaining a culture in your church that prioritizes unity in essentials, liberty in nonessentials, and charity in all things. Too many churches divide over secondary and even tertiary issues. Read this book. More importantly, heed its message. I highly recommended it!
Senior Pastor, Calvary Memorial Church, Oak Park, Illinois
Are you battle-weary from all of the arguments on national disunity, racism, and identity? Western culture has been drowning in bickering and bitterness for a long time. Who's right and who's wrong? Hope of resolving our differences seem to be slipping further away. Now we seem to be arguing for arguing's sake. We listen not to discover a resolution but to find an opening to launch our own salvo to further our agenda. If you would like to find a portal to discuss unity in an intelligent, meaningful, and substantive conversation again, read All Together Different. It will give you a path to finding a solution to the problem of understanding our personal and corporate identities. It will also show us believers how we can rediscover hope for unity and even invite others into this community of acceptance. I enjoyed this read. It was informative, stimulating, and biblically challenging.
Dean of Dallas Theological Seminary–Houston and Professor of Pastoral Ministries
Gender, race, age, sexuality, theological persuasion—all of these issues highlight our differences. In the midst of this, Christ-followers are called to live in genuine unity while not erasing our human distinctions. Through careful research, cultural analysis, and biblical insights, Brian Tucker and John Koessler encourage us to dive into the messiness of being all together yet different. To my knowledge, nothing quite like this has been written for evangelicals. I have no question it will move the ball downfield in this important discussion.
Mark S. Mitchell
Lead Pastor, Central Peninsula Church, Foster City, California
In a fragmented world confused by various identities, Brian Tucker and John Koessler provide a great introduction to the meaning of identity, race, gender, and community, and what they mean from a Christian perspective. This is a great volume on how faith shapes our identity as followers of Jesus. A much needed book in an age of identity politics.
Michael F. Bird
Lecturer in Theology at Ridley College, Melbourne, Australia
Identity is at the heart of the human experience. The challenge for Christianity is identity's fluid and divisive nature. In All Together Different, Tucker and Koessler bring us a biblically rich and theologically hopeful vision for the way we understand identity. They remind us that our individual identities and differences make sense only in light of our shared identity as God's children, who are tethered together in the person and work of Jesus Christ. This is a significant book for challenging times.
Matthew D. Kim
Associate professor of preaching and ministry, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and author of Preaching with Cultural Intelligence
How should we then live in an age when nationalism, hate groups, and political fights seem to be showing up everywhere? John Koessler and Brian Tucker have some answers and they go well beyond simplistic platitudes of respect and tolerance. Instead, they offer us a set of ideas and practices that strike at the core of who we are. Understanding our identity and the identities of others is the first step toward building cultural intelligence, so I highly recommend this book for helping Christians in that quest.
Leader, Cultural Intelligence Center, East Lasing, Michigan
Simply terrific! I need a book's worth of words to describe how much this volume has helped me as a follower of Jesus and as a pastor. Tucker and Koessler present a rich biblical vision for how identity in the body of Christ serves as our “master identity,” helping us negotiate the challenges of racial, sexual, and generational division. Their insights have better equipped me to pursue the Spirit's gift of unity in the church and to view the church as a people who are all together different—not altogether different.
Steven D. Mathewson
Senior Pastor, CrossLife Evangelical Free Church, Libertyville, Illinois
Our world is filled with racial conflict, church fights, identity confusion, and ethnic and generational tensions. Into this mix, Tucker and Koessler provide a biblical understanding of how unity and community are possible. All Together Different is readable, challenging, and refreshing. This should be required reading for all church leaders who dare to go beyond shallow answers to find biblical hope for true unity and community. As a pastor, All Together Different was the book I needed to lead my church to true unity and community so we can be light in a broken and divided world.
Senior Pastor, Woodside Bible Church, Troy, Michigan