Agreement Is Overrated

by Winn Griffin on November 2, 2015

You may be surprised to hear that if you attended Once A Month Church today you were worshiping with avid supporters of both Marco Rubio and Bernie Sanders? What if I told you that there were people sitting right next to you who were passionately pro choice or pro life? People who believe that being gay is a choice and people who believe gay is genetic harmonized as they sang songs to Jesus. What if you knew that people who were singing the same songs you were singing held theological views that were diametrically opposed to yours? And what if you knew that there were people there who don’t believe in Jesus or God at all?

Being one of the hosts of OAMC affords me the opportunity to know many peoples’ backstory. As I sang it occurred to me how incredibly different we all are from each other. Even those who agree politically have expansive social gaps between them. People who share theological certainties also share deep differences about what it means to “be in the world but not of it”. And people you would disagree with about almost everything would “take you to school” when it comes to making your faith practical and applicable in real life.

One of the central practices of OAMC is what we call “staying in the room with difference”. As you (or,if you) continue to interact with people in OAMC you will move from “not knowing” to “knowing”. These differences will not be theoretical. They will be felt. Learning how to “be unusually interested in others” (another of our central practices) will become a way of life.

Why do we advocate these practices?

Jesus entered a world of difference. It would have been shocking to his sensibilities as God to spend 10 seconds listening to a human being share their opinion about anything – but he did more than 10 seconds – he did 3 years of active and intentional engagement with people. He practiced being unusually interested in people and staying in the room with difference. His invitation to us to become his disciples – his assiduous followers – is captured in these practices.

How else can you explain the disparate group of followers he gathered and called his own. People from the political right and left, people from the top and bottom of the socio- economic order and people – men and women – who were pulled toward each other only by the undertow of Jesus love.

We live in a culture that is fixated on each of us “getting our rights”. It’s a ludicrous offer since compromise, acceptance and adaptation are the realities of living together as people. Followers of Jesus are not encumbered with this fight. We are challenged and invited to operate in an alternate “reality frame”. We hold our differences while simultaneously holding each other in esteem. We advocate for our issues but not without first considering why others thoughtfully disagree with us.

Jesus told to us love one another not agree with one another. It is a high and holy calling and one, which we can only commit to practice.

Today was the party – now the work and the fun begins.

 

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