I’ve been thinking a lot about cultural divides lately. I want to be able to have positive relationships with people with whom I disagree, even if I disagree on fundamentals of faith or right/wrong.
I heard a radio preacher on my last road trip (on the only station that had reception at the time) basically preaching against postmodernism. He said that relationships must be built on truth, or else they are meaningless.
I couldn’t disagree more. I think that truth can come from relationships, but rarely, if at all, can relationships come via “truth.” If I have to get someone to agree with me to become my friend, I’m not going to have very many friends, and I’m not going to have meaningful influence on anyone.
We meet people where they are. A relationship involves two-way conversation, give and take, listening to their opinions and taking their ideas seriously. That doesn’t change the truth, but it does make me less belligerent.
Anyway, it got me thinking about the “culture wars.” I am interested in a true ecumenism. As the Nicene Creed states, “We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church.” I want to connect and network with other churches for the sake of positive cultural change. But what does that look like when the definition of that may differ from one church to the next? There has to be a better solution than the least-common-denominator method that has been employed in the past.
It would be nice to have a space for open dialogue on issues of faith, theology and ethics. But I think that some groups would be underrepresented. I guess there’s just a human tendency to be intolerant, to place one’s own values in a higher position than another person’s.
Maybe I just need to put some action into it and give it a try – have a little faith in others, instead of torturing myself with worry over others’ reactions. I don’t even know what I am proposing, because there is nothing concrete behind what I am saying.
I just want to continue to pursue a “third way” and transcend the left vs. right, christian vs. secular, traditional vs. contemporary, modern vs. postmodern mentality that divides people.
Is this possible?