Saturday, March 07, 2009

THOSE PEOPLE

My church is under the consulting services of Tom Bandy this weekend. The church has been filling out survey after survey for the past few months, and it has come down to this weekend.

Church members, ex church members, and occasional attendees began various meetings with Tom this morning. I met with a group, and we were simply asked "What brought you to this church?" and "What keeps you here (if you are still attending)?"

I grew up with a very strong Southern Baptist background. After college, I was heavily influenced by the teachings of R.C. Sproul and Ligonier Ministries. I began to take an interest in matters of doctrine and theology, particularly relating to the Protestant Reformation.

After I was married, my wife and I began to look for a church where we had an identity as a couple. I told my wife that if I found a Sunday School class that I liked, I would consider joining. We visited Wesley UMC, I attended the Young Adult Class, and joined the church shortly thereafter.

I still have some Reformed beliefs, so it has been somewhat of a struggle at times in the Methodist Church. I've taken some grief from friends, and I think my family is a little disappointed. There are a lot of diverse beliefs that I don't share. So why do I stay?

I stay because I like the diversity, even though it causes me some heartburn at times. I have learned that people are people. There was a time when I really looked down upon those who didn't share my beliefs. I wouldn't admit it, and I would say that I loved people. I would say that I loved the sinner but hated the sin. And I believed it. However, in reality, I looked down upon those who didn't share my convictions. I can now have friendly relationships built on mutual respect that I could never have had before.

This became more apparent to me just this week. I was listening to American Family Radio in the car. I heard a term used over and over that stuck out. It was "Those People." I began counting, and heard it 3 times on my short drive to work. Who are "Those People" and "These People?" They are people. They are not less of a person because they have different convictions.

I am not saying that all convictions are equally true or equally valid. I am not saying that core issues of the gospel should be compromised. What I am saying is that until I can come to the point that I truly listen and understand the point of view of another person, I cannot expect them to listen to mine.

2 Comments:

  1. Kasue said...
    Brett: As always, this should be "Deep Thoughts" by Brett Royal. After my children's rotation in SS, I'd be willing to teach a Young Adult/College class with you?! You have great deep thoughts...
    gavin richardson said...
    that is great brett! i've gone to some other churches for the tom bandy stuff. pretty good, but i really don't know how transformative it is for a church.

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