Thursday, November 5, 2015

Forming Worldviews as a Christian: A Manifesto of Sorts

I miss the boat most of the time when it comes to current events. I know they are happening but I don't share about them here because by the time I've found a position and a good way to share it the internet has moved on to the next topic. 

Trending topics on Facebook don't tell you much. I don't even believe what I read on most news sources anymore so I like to read widely and discuss the events with a few close friends before I start talking about where I stand. 

If people are listening to my words (and someone is listening to you too) then it's worth the time and effort to be deliberate with what I say. I always want to clarify if I'm sharing my own opinion or the truth of the Bible as well. There's a big difference between "God says" and "Lisa thinks." 

Christianity must engage with culture. I don't get a pass because I want to be careful. That's only admirable as far as it doesn't take me out of the game. We must stand for what we believe. But the way we do it matters. 

As I thought through my process I realized that I have a manifesto of sorts about how I form worldviews and opinions and express those to people who don't agree with me. 

-I try to think long and write slow so that I can carefully craft what I'm saying. This is actually just in line with my personality. I'd rather you sent me an email so that I had time to think about a response rather than have to answer you on the spot. It's not that I don't want to talk to you; I just want to think about what I'm saying. 

-I try to look at the ramifications of the situation instead of just the one part that is black and white. That's like saying that abortion is wrong and never attempting to assist in the situations that lead to women choosing abortions. Of course it's wrong, but what are you doing to help? I don't want to just point out problems and never the solutions. 

-I try to present my viewpoint with intelligence and compassion to foster conversation and relationships with people disagree. There is never a place for name-calling. I don't need to have a superiority complex even if I'm standing on the truth of the Bible. It does not help the Christian position if we fly off with hot words- calling people names and never listening to what others are saying. 

-I want to always be able to admit that I'm wrong, that I changed my mind, that I don't know the answer, or that I'm not sure where I stand yet. Some things are hard to work through. They are multi-faceted and the answer might not be readily apparent. I do not have to have all the answers, even for myself. 

-I want to ask the hard questions. That's the only way to make progress even though it's uncomfortable. It's easy to just keep repeating the easy stuff and never delve into the issues that the lost want to discuss. Why should they be more intellectually sound than we are? 

-I want to stand my ground. Once I have a Bible-based opinion, I want to stand on it (again compassionately and intelligently) regardless of disagreement. 

-I want to avoid calling others names or presenting myself as an expert. Everyone can teach me something. 

-I want to recognize that we are each the product of our environments and education (and I don't just mean formal education) and that we are works-in-progress. As stated above, we should be able to change our minds and grow. We should disagree with some of our positions from five years ago (without compromising Biblical truth obviously). 

-I want to be able to disagree well. I will disagree with people I respect and that's ok. There are friends that I don't always agree with but I like their input. They always bring up something I hadn't considered before and push me to back up my position with something besides feelings. To not talk to them would be a loss to myself and my credibility. 

Some things I make myself write about and hit publish even though I feel like I could write another 1,000 words about the topic. I have to give you enough credit to believe that you understand where I'm coming from, especially if you've been reading here for a while. I'm always open for polite dialogue on post topics. I want you to be heard. 

Some things aren't for the internet, at least for me. There are many topics that I think are better suited for a face-to-face conversation where body language and tone come into play. It's a lot easier to speak the truth in love over coffee with someone you care about than it is to accurately represent your whole heart in text on a screen. 

What I don't want to do is just blather on all the time, foaming at the mouth about what the world's coming to. We Christians ruin our credibility when we leave our intelligence behind in considering and presenting our positions. Sometimes I'm not sure that our beliefs are as offensive as they seem. I think it's us. I think it's the careless way we wave the name of God over positions that we can't back from the Bible or if we can, we don't do in a way that represents the heart of Christ as well. 

We should challenge ourselves to a little more than that. After all, are we here to win the lost or are we trying to pick fights? We can't do both. 

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