Talking through (not around) touchy subjects

John and a group of men from his church decided last fall, that they needed to meet more regularly. Aside from a few interactions before and after their corporate worship gatherings, and a small group meeting here and there, the men came to the realization that they really didn’t know each other! And with a church culture excited about getting more involved on the mission of God in the New Year by sharing their faith with others, this group of men agreed: how would they be able to walk alongside and have spiritual conversations with those who believe differently if they didn’t even have regular spiritual conversations themselves?

They needed practice.

So, the men–young and more mature, both in age and in faith–committed to getting together every other Sunday evening.

After their most recent time together, John shared some interesting reflections:

“We had a good time! As always! But this was interesting: some of the guys said they wanted to try the cigars that Scott was talking about and this fostered some interesting discussions about the general advisability of drinking and smoking. After listening to the jovial banter of the group and various Biblical points of view, I asked this question: how does seeing our bodies as the Temple of the Holy Spirit impact this conversation? I knew I could lay it out there–we have managed to foster lots of trust over even the short time we’ve been getting together. And my question led us into a great discussion on what “freedom in Christ” actually means!

I am really glad to be in a group where we can exchange these ideas up front, respectfully, and honestly.

I mean, if we can’t do it amongst ourselves–how will we ever be able to do it with those who don’t believe what we do?”

“Believe it or not–we also had some good discussion about politics and Trump and stuff! I guess nowadays it’s hard
not to have the once taboo subject of politics come up! But–WOW! These guys! I really appreciate the opportunity to have discussions where we do not get into entrenched positions and close off communication by polarizing. It grieves my heart to see so many divisions–even in the church–and I am truly blessed by the political conversations our group has been able to have these past few months.

We are learning together how to air differences with love and keep the lines of communication open.

Again, if Christians can’t do it, we’ll be hard pressed to have conversations about the harder things with those who don’t even share the basic tenets of our faith.”

“Isn’t it so often the tendency of believers to fall into the error of the Pharisees?

This group has taught me about the importance of listening to other perspectives and learning more about the person who is sharing that perspective. Temperamental judgment, the invariable source of all our angst, is a blindness to the other side of the story. We don’t need to take our own dear selves so seriously! While we have a definite responsibility to follow God, there is a definite limit to how much responsibility we have to straighten each other out.”

The Holy Spirit
“I love that the Holy Spirit’s presence hovers over our group, mediates between us and encourages our mutual understanding.

I look forward to these discussions continuing. They are good practice for when God gives me the opportunity to share Him with those who don’t yet know Him as I do.”

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