It has been disheartening to watch friends loudly pronounce “facts” that are misleading or untruthful because they saw it somewhere online. We blindly follow groups of people and we state their truth because it’s similar to ours without considering their motivation and end game.
Discussions regarding racial justice, historical preservation, equal rights, fair taxation, healthcare, employment, minority empowerment, religious authority, commerce and constitutional interpretation are all honorable debates. They have been part of a healthy dialogue for centuries but when wars are started over them, you can bet that it’s not for their advancement. It is about power and profit that only a select few will benefit from.
Education doesn’t guarantee agreement but it does strengthen our ability to appreciate what makes governments and social structures work. It spurs debate, empowers citizenry and enables reconciliation.
The polar right and left are blinding us to reality. Without truth there is no law, no justice, no government, no education. A land without those things does not serve us, it makes someone else rich and powerful. We follow along on someone else’s path thinking that it is our own. The only way to make our own decisions and fight our own wars is through knowledge and education. Media talking points are not education. Social media is not where we find truth. Both are being manipulated by people with sinister agendas and we’re falling for it hook, line and sinker. We are being pitted against each other and we are the dogs being wagged.
We exhibit our faith through worship and works, but what that looks like is very different from person to person. In order to better fine tune our works and actions we look to religious leaders to point the way and ignite the spirit. What do we do when these leaders disagree and are in some cases diametrically opposed? The disagreement within the American church goes way deeper than evangelical vs. progressive and law vs. grace. My journey finds me in totally different places on those lines depending on the day.
Theologians have debated for centuries over our faith-based responsibility to interpret and encourage biblical ideals. That debate can be healthy and enlightening and their conclusions speak to believers in varying ways. Problems arise when theologians with differing views claim absolute authority on biblical knowledge. In reality, the only human that has that claim is Jesus Christ.
It is not business as usual within the church. Adjustments appear to be happening so that we get back to the debate and acknowledge that our ever-powerful God is the only one with the answers to our questions yet those answers aren’t packaged in a nice, easy to understand biblical box. He is showing us that lifting up religious leaders to the point of worship and blind trust is catastrophic to the human condition.
I do not think there should be less theologians. Quite the opposite, there should be more people willing to read, analyze and research scripture while having reasonable discussions with others (believers or not) about their discoveries. Agreement is not imperative. We serve God better when we all listen to each other. Learn, share, empathize, console, and on rare occasion, advise. Thoughtful discussion requires humility and opened mindedness NOT acquiescence. ~Heaven knows I struggle with that one and need occasional reminders. We have to stop beating each other up and questioning one another’s conviction. We can faithfully trust and worship what is bigger than us while still believing in US.
The Bride of Christ can thrive within discord only when we trust in God’s great love and stop warring with each other over dominance and perceived truth.
I find it hilariously relevant that my first blog post is on April Fools Day since I often think my ramblings are brilliant at 2AM while my 8AM self wonders why I indulge such a babbling fool.