Our small town in Columbus, Montana has a population of 1800, with about 25% of souls attending church on a Sunday morning (nearly 50% attend on Christmas and Easter). We have more dogs/cats than addresses. There are 9 churches in our town, with nearly the same number of casinos. More people attend our Friday night high school football game than all 9 churches on Sunday combined.
I would like to relate this week’s writing by Haidt in The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided By Politics And Religion  to the following two experiences from pastoring here for the past 15 years:
- My first month after arriving, I started a “Minister’s Association” and invited all local Pastors to attend. I was kinda surprised they were not already meeting.
- My family and some friends recently knocked on every door in our community to invite folks to any of our 9 churches on an Easter, which interestingly took 10 people 21 hours to accomplish.
Our author started out his introduction with the phrase, “Can we all get along” from Rodney King in 1992.  Using my two examples from above, I would respond, “Hardly!” When he uses chapter titles like, “Elephants Rule”, “Why Are We So Groupish?” and “Religion Is A Team Sport”, I knew he would be hitting my exposed nerves.
Let me explain: Of the nine churches in our town, 3 are Baptist, but those good folks won’t talk to each other. The Free Will Baptist pastor heard we might use other versions of the Bible at our Minister’s Association, so he excluded himself because he was King James only. When the “Independent” Baptist church figured out the Southern Baptist pastor would be there, he excluded himself because his church was made up of folks who had broke off.
It gets worse. The Southern Baptist pastor excluded himself from “fellowshipping” with us because the female pastor from the Congregational Church was invited and he could not sit at the table with someone who possibly believed Muslims and Christians served the same God. This did not make our female Lutheran pastor happy, because she thought he was a misogynist. Our Catholic priest was convinced his was the only right church, so he conveniently found a reason to not attend every month. Two of our clergy did not live in our town, and only came in on Sunday mornings, so they bowed out, as well. Most preached DIVERSITY on the week-ends, but aparantly refused to live it out during the week.
At the first meeting, we had 3 attenders–me, the AG pastor, and our reluctant Lutheran “vicar”. The Congregational gal showed up a half hour late with a scowl, saying “I’m glad there’s another female present.” I was very discouraged, and ridiculously idealistic (thank you Hunter in To Change The World)  This was not going to be easy. Little did I know!
I decided we needed something to unify us. So why not try to do a Easter sunrise service together? They agreed, and the service was going so well, with each pastor taking a little part on a bitter cold Resurrection Sunday. They agreed since I was the newest, I should do the sermon. Fine with me, Oh naive one. What could go wrong, right?
I shared with all my heart, gave a chance for folks to respond to the Gospel, and that’s when things exploded. The Lutherans mumbled about us “born againers” while the Congregationalists questioned where “social action” fit into the message. I was elated several non-church attenders gave their hearts to Christ, but was confused with the nasty letter from another who wrote IN ALL CAPS asking for a “response” was not the way we do things around here. Now I fully understood Haidt saying, “Morality binds and blinds” us into good people who form teams that fight each other “as though the fate of the world depended on our side winning each battle.” 
Now, fast forward to my family knocking on each door, inviting folks to any church. (Yes, if they said they did not go to church, we invited them to ours, but if they identified themselves with a church, we asked them to attend their own). By the way, if everyone who said they were Lutheran actually went to the Lutheran church, they would have been the largest church in our town. (grin)
The Baptists accused me of “stealing sheep” while the Catholics said I was “proselytizing”. The Lutherans slammed their vicar by saying, “She should have thought of doing this” as if only the minister does the work in their church. The Congregationalists again asked, “Where’s the social action in this?” Some residents thought we were selling something, others thought we were door knocking Jehovah Witnesses. I honestly thought to myself, “How could anyone have a problem with someone trying to do this?” Again, I am so naive!
I am thankful a former minister in my town put medicine on my wounds by telling me something he called Paradoxal Commandments , “People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered. Love them anyway. If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Do good anyway.”
So this is where I understood our authors assertion of PLURALISM, being a plurality of ideals, cultures and temperaments.  I believe the key to getting folks unified in spite of their plurality is to do what Adler suggested in How To Read A Book , first seek to understand. The problem is, we are so self-righteous (and selfish). Our book title should have been “The SELF Righteous Mind”…
In closing, I would have liked to have heard more ideas from Haidt of how to fix all this mess, as it was he really only suggested his last two paragraphs . Now I understand why two reviewers, Hugo Mercier and Dan Sperber, stated Haidt did not go far enough into resolving the issues he raised, and he might have done better to further explain “argumentative theory”  as a way to understand solutions.
 Haidt, Jonathan. The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion. Kindle Edition. New York: Vintage Books, 2013.
 Ibid., Loc 42.
 Ibid., p. 61.
 Ibid., p. 219.
 Ibid., p. 285.
 Hunter, James Davison. To Change the World the Irony, Tragedy, and Possibility of Christianity in the Late Modern World. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010. p. 24
 Haidt. p. 366.
 Keith, Kent M. “The Paradoxical Commandments.” theparadoxicalcommandments.com. January 1, 1999. Accessed April 04, 2018. http://www.kentmkeith.com/commandments.html.
 Haidt. p.367.
 Adler, Mortimer Jerome, and Charles Van Doren. How to Read a Book. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2014. Loc. 15.
 Haidt. p. 367.
 Mercier, Hugo, and Dan Sperber. “Why Do Humans Reason? Arguments for an Argumentative Theory.” Behavioral and Brain Sciences 34, no. 2 (2011): 57–74. doi:10.1017/S0140525X10000968.