Recognize that title? It's a popular slogan in Android ads, a not-so-subtle dig at Apple iPhones and their lack of customization and modification. While I'm an Apple guy for the most part, I love the sentiment of the ad. What does "together, not the same" mean? Why should we care? How is it relevant to us?
For those who aren't tech-savvy, the slogan references the differences between Android phones (essentially any smartphone that's not an iPhone) and iPhones. Whereas iPhones all use one operating system (iOS) with very little room for modification, Android phones use a variety of different operating systems with lots of modification options.
Android phones are "together" in their not-Apple-ness, but they're not the same. They can utilize a variety of different operating systems, programs, physical makeups, etc., but they're still united under the Android banner. Their differences do not divide them. In fact, their differences are the very things that unite them.
Now I'll admit, I'm an iPhone guy myself. But I do love the "together, not the same" marketing campaign. Not only is it instantly recognizable and memorable, as all good marketing campaigns are, but the sentiment it holds is applicable to life as a whole. Perhaps now, more than ever, we should take a cue from Android.
I've written some blog posts about the divisiveness of current American culture before, and I'd venture to say we've all experienced it in some way by now. Just open up Twitter, and you'll see a variety of people shouting about two diametrically opposed points of view equally loudly. It's exhausting!
This has never been a politically motivated blog, nor will it ever be. This is a Catholic blog that espouses Catholic values. Values like universality, the dignity of each person, and compassion. These values are good for all to practice, but they're our sworn duty as Catholics.
One of the most unfortunate bits of disunity I've seen over the past few years is the "I disagree with you, so I shouldn't have to hear you" fallacy. As painful or frustrating as it may be to hear, we all have the right to express our opinions. Trying to strip others of that right by silencing, belittling, or insulting them is not the way of Christ.
Last week, we inaugurated a new President. In President Biden's Inaugural Address, he said the following: "Let us listen to one another. Hear one another. See one another. Show respect to one another. Politics need not be a raging fire destroying everything in its path. Every disagreement doesn't have to be a cause for total war."
However you feel about President Biden, President Trump, or any other politician, these are words worth heeding. We should listen to each other. We should respect one another. And it is absolutely correct to say that every disagreement need not cause a violent conflict, verbal or otherwise.
There was a Facebook post that made the rounds in the days following the November election that I think is worth revisiting. It began, "And they'll know we are Christians by our," followed by a number of things that had been crossed out. Some of the crossed out terms may sound a bit familiar.
The crossed out terms were "Political Put Downs, Insulting Memes, Spiteful Name Calling, and Divisive Satire." None of those are what Christ asks of us. Of course, the word that came after the crossed out terms was Love. "And they'll know we are Christians by our love."
That phrase comes from a hymn that we've all heard sung at Mass before. Love is what identifies us as followers of Christ, what brings us together. Not any of those other crossed out terms. The temperature in our political culture is really high right now, and it sometimes feels like there's no room for disagreement. We can fix that!
Just like in that Android slogan from the beginning of this piece, Christians are called to be "Together, not the same." Love, the Lord, and the Holy Spirit are what bring us together. What makes us not the same? Literally everything else! Humanity is an incredibly diverse and varied species.
If someone thinks differently than you, has a different political opinion than you, or chose to vote for someone you didn't vote for, that's okay. Matter of fact, that's good. We should disagree, debate, and discuss with each other. That's what it is to be human. That's what it is to be together, not the same.
Let's remember to listen to each other and treat each other with respect as we move forward in this new year together. It's what Christ would do, and that's what should matter to each and every one of us. I pray that you will embrace and uplift the unique characteristics and opinions of both yourself and others.
May God bless you,