Outside the Walls   Leave a comment

St Ethelburga-the-Virgin within Bishopsgate In...

Today I was reminded how important it is for us to take our faith outside the walls of a church building.  Recently I have found myself engaged more and more in conversations that end up leading to faith discussions.  The really cool thing about these conversations is that they are not occurring within the walls of the church building but in various locations throughout the community.

For many years, Christians have been told that there are two topics that should never be discussed in public settings:  politics and religion.  I would question this statement and agree with one aspect of this statement.  First, I believe that it is vital for United States citizens to discuss politics in public settings.  One of the key components of democracy is for citizens to discuss what is occurring in government with one another.  This does not condone the personal attacks upon other’s viewpoints or the refusal to listen to a views that are different from our own.  However, public discourse is vital to our democratic approach to government.

The second topic is similar in some aspects.  I would agree that religion should rarely be discussed in a public forum.  The reason is that religion is just the practices and beliefs agreed upon by a group of people.  However, I believe that faith can be discussed in a public forum.  I would throw a word of caution in here to state that discussing faith should be done as part of a dialogue and not a monologue.  There needs to be mutual respect and a commitment to listen, again, even if the views of another are different from your own.  Through such dialogues, each person’s faith and understanding of beliefs grow.

More believers need to have more sincere discussions outside the walls of the church building.  I have been enriched in my conversations with others, especially when they have a different understanding of God.  I have had an opportunity to share my understandings as I listen to others.  I know that I have grown in my faith because of these dialogues.  If more believers were to respectfully engage in dialogue, I think we would see some profound movement in faith.

If you choose to take on this challenge, let me remind you:  DIALOGUE AND NOT MONOLOGUE.  I believe that the best way to follow this approach is to remember that I do not have all the answers, I am not always right, and I can learn as much as I may ever be able to teach.


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