Week three reflection I read the article Talking about Religion at Harvard and the importance of religious dialogue. I appreciate his call for a dialogue. Interesting to me that Harvard was founded by Puritans as place to train clergy, a fact not mentioned on the Harvard website. The difficulty for me and I am sure many others is that we are passionate about our beliefs, religious, political, musical, athletic or otherwise. I want to convince you of the truth. You want to convince me of a contrary truth. It is hard not to attack or feel attacked. So for me the answer was often retreating from the great commission and focusing on the great commandments. It is fleshed out for me currently in the gay marriage issue. I see both sides and both claim the authority of scripture. In short, God’s plan is for a man to marry a woman … or … God is accepting of all and love is love. I find it best to be silent in my opposing worlds…interfaith chaplaincy where I accept all people and try to hear their story and offer love and acceptance and in my conservative Episcopal diocese where I have to agree that gay marriage is wrong (which is my leaning) but I keep silent as I can. It’s not a do or die issue for me. People have free will and a message of Jesus is repent and receive the gospel. I believe people know their own sin best. I did a lot of heterosexual sinning as a teen before I met Jesus. It was all selfish. Through His help, I was able to gain some self control, maturity and selflessness–all parts of a healthy sexuality. But I don’t feel free to share either position in the opposite culture.
So I hold my hypocrisy in check and trust kindness and compassion. Dialogue gets more complicated if we start talking salvation. I have had good conversations where I can start out by saying as I Christian I believe in the divinity of Jesus and He is the source of my salvation. Please tell me what you believe.. a mutual respect is established and sometimes even joking about it. But if I take it a step further and shake the dust (a good non violent response) or another step further into Paul’s world, sparks might fly.
End of ramble.