Deborah Tannen does not write as a Christian, but rather as a professional rhetorician. In her book, The Argument Culture, she recognizes the difficulty for Americans to appreciate societal benefits against a backdrop of individual rights and privileges:
“Perhaps the most fundamental [difference between American and Asian cultures] is the Western assumption that the individual self is in ongoing opposition to society. You can hear this in everyday conversations, as people talk about learning to be true to themselves by resisting society’s expectations. Donal Carbaugh listened to hours of talk on the Phil Donahue show and found that a conflict between society and the individual self was a pervasive theme running through the comments of guests and audience members. For example, one guest expressed the hope that women would learn to “make a decision all by themselves without regard to what society or somebody else says.” Society is seen as the individual’s enemy, imposing demands that conflict with actualizing your own self.”
“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:13).
This article was posted by Shawn Nichols on a Sermon Illustrations sharing site; I don’t know if it’s original with him – but I thought it was worth re-posting. I don’t think there is one if us who doesn’t struggle with this! Pastor Scott