Ever been in an argument? Who hasn’t? I’ve had a few in life. People locked at odds on opposite sides of an issue. Unwilling to compromise, the discussion turns heated. I have seen friendships dissolve over arguments that went on without resolve. Some people have rules in their home to avoid arguments. They will not talk about religion or politics. Theoretically, that may be a very good rule; however I am about to broach both.
I am an Episcopal Priest. My friend, Steve Brown who is a pastor, calls himself a professional religious person. I feel that way sometimes. Fairly regularly I get into theological debates and most of the time they are productive. There is a lot to discuss. Religious arguments are nothing new. They’ve happened for centuries and sadly wars have even been the outcome of some of these debates. There is room to agree to disagree. However too often both sides don’t find that place of peace.
Jesus prayed for the church to be one. In the world encyclopedia of Religion it says there are 38,000+ different denominations in the world. I was driving through rural North Georgia a few years back and I swear I past these two signs about a mile a part. In front of the first church the sign read: Missionary, Evangelical, Biblical, Congregational Christian Church. The second sign read: Missionary, Evangelical, Biblical, Congregational Christian Church REFORMED. I bet someone from the first church got in an argument and left and started their own version of church up the road.
Last year on Facebook I rather innocently got into a heated debate over the confederate flag. How naive to think I could make a post from a religious perspective on a hot-button issue and it go unnoticed. 150 comments later it finally ended.
Debate and argument is good. It stretches our minds. We consider new ideas and possibilities in a healthy argument. Vigorous debate takes respect and consideration. So much pain and discord could be avoided if we would simply respect one another when we differ on opinions.
Religion can be a place of fierce emotions, a place of heated debate. Religion has been used to justify violence, war and murder. It can cycle down producing animosity, tension and destroy community.
Maybe it’s a good idea not to talk about religion at home. I don’t think so, because we should be able to “talk” about anything without it being destructive. Jesus must weep over the church because his central message of love is often overshadowed by theological positions and doctrines. Home should be a place of healthy, fruitful, discussions that move us forward and make us better. Part of what makes home such a great place is the comfort and security of knowing we can discuss anything, have heated, passionate discussion and debate, but still be loved and accepted despite our differing opinions and beliefs.
(On to politics tomorrow)
Holiday Wild Game Dinner
Saturday December 17th 5pm-8pm
At Canterbury Retreat & Conference Center we have established a Holiday tradition in The Holiday Wild Game Dinner and Christmas Concert with David Teems. Join us for a celebration of the season with great food, warm moments of fellowship, great conversation, delicious desserts and thrilling entertainment.
It is a little early to know the exact menu but in years past we’ve serve venison, elk, wild boar, bison, game birds and more. All this surrounded with traditional holiday favorites, fresh baked breads and amazing appetizers. Plan now and make reservations for this unique and wonderful moment. Make this your office Christmas party, treat your staff or your neighbors and spread the Christmas Spirit!
The best dessert of all is an evening concert with David Teems. David is a gifted singer, songwriter and musician. He is also an author and poet. You’ll be amazed at his talent and his fluid ability as a performer and troubadour.
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(Canterbury Retreat and Conference Center is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Your contribution is tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. All donors will receive an itemized tax receipt.)