Some thoughts from this weekend...
The pastor at the shoutin' Presbyterian church (oh, the irony) we attended on Sunday preached on unity, and, despite diaper blowouts and hungry babies, we managed to get the gist of his message. (I think it helped that there were two of us.)
He spent a lot of time telling us what unity should not look like. He said that we should not pursue spiritual unity simply because unity feels good (and is all the rage), attempting to unify ourselves with those who disagree with us on important doctrinal issues. For example, a group in my college town wanted all the churches, temples, worship centers, etc., along with their pastors, preachers, elders, and rabbis to come together and form a unified "faith community". Biblically, that's a bad idea. If I believe that Jesus is the only way to Heaven, and you believe that He isn't, then I shouldn't just shut up for the sake of unity, because I would be watching you go to Hell, and that's not very loving, now is it? (Neither should I beat you over the head with my Bible. Again, not very loving.)
This does not mean that I can't understand, respect, or befriend those who believe radically different things from me, just that I can't be unified with these people. As Mark Driscoll is fond of saying, "we're not going to wear matching sweatshirts and ride a tandem bike". My best and closest friends are always going to be those with whom I agree on big, important issues (like why we're here, who God is, what has value in this life, etc.). As long as those fall into place, we can disagree about all kinds of things and still have a close, unified relationship.
This weekend was an exercise in this kind of relationship. The friend I stayed with and I disagree about infant baptism, the miraculous gifts of the Spirit, church government, attachment parenting, on-demand feeding... and that's the short list. I'm sure we could come up with a lot more if you gave us some time. Yet, I can and did experience unity and fellowship this weekend, made possible because we agree on the most important thing: the gospel. We agree about who Jesus is and who we are. And, really, that's all that's necessary for unity.