Why I Need to Have Conversations With the Religious Right

I posted a blog yesterday (Why Can’t I Have Conversations With the Religious Right?) about the religious left and right engaging in conversation for the betterment of God’s mission and the church’s purpose within it. The responses to it were pretty much everywhere. My writing style can get a bit satirical, tongue-in-cheek, sarcastic, and irreverent. Some readers get that, some don’t. I think some responded to the title of the blog without actually reading it. Regardless, my hope was to help us all–right, left, in-between, non-labeled, other–to listen to one another, learn from one another, and seek expression to the unity that Jesus has already given to us.

My friend Chris has written a blog post that states what I was trying to say, but without the satirical edge. She tends to lean a bit left also, but there is no sense of trying to defend that position over against another one. I encourage you, if you desire growth that comes from understanding a different perspective outside your comfort zone, to click here and read a very well written post.

In the meantime, as  another friend, Natalie, suggests, take someone with an opposite perspective to coffee and listen. Here’s the challenge for us: hear the voice of God in the words of someone whose views on religion, theology, church, faith, God, or Christianity drive you absolutely bonkers.

I invite you to post your experiences with “the other” here! Let’s learn from one another.

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Categories: religious, spirituality | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “Why I Need to Have Conversations With the Religious Right

  1. Dena Williams

    Taking others to coffee and listening–a very inclusive effort!

    • Indeed, Dena. And sometimes it takes more patience and inclusivity than I’ve got in me. What really pisses me off, however, is when those whose views I can’t stomach speak with God’s voice. So, coffee seems like a decent, and inclusive, beginning.

  2. Thanks for the link, Rob. Maybe it was your plan all along to initiate a dialogue here, but I wonder if you haven’t succeeded beyond what you might have hoped. As much as I took the conversation in a different direction for my own purposes, I wholeheartedly agree that dialogue between competing ideological factions is something to strive for, most especially in the context of church. I still think that beginning with individuals in relationship with one another is critical. But what else do we do, do *I* do, that prevents dialogue, and what can I do to make myself more available for engagement? Listening with real openness and intention, which is hard. I confess to sharing the more or less universal propensity to want to listen to voices that affirm rather than challenge my personal status quo. In communications class in college we learned that we can only communicate from a place of commonality. So finding things in common is the place to begin. I remember a sermon I once heard you give, Rob, where you talked about the Holy Spirit as a tuning fork. I’ve never forgotten it. You said that if we’re all tuned to the Spirit, our divergent tones will together make beautiful music. I think that’s the idea.

    • Thanks, Chris, for your honest and sincere effort to enter into authentic dialogue with the whole body of Christ. The more we can do that, the more the chasm can be bridged and our witness be pointing to Christ rather than our differences.

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