Do opinions really matter? If I have one on any given matter, then my answer would be something along the lines of “Yes, would you like to hear it?” But in all honesty, I may not be interested in someone else’s opinion if I feel like my own opinion is pretty solid or unshakeable. Perhaps the thought of someone else’s opinion making good sense, when that opinion is different from my own, causes me to be anxious when my life is already filled with enough anxiety or discomfort that it just seems easier to block out the “other’s” opinion. It’s just easier when someone is in agreement. And it’s just more comforting if others would just share my opinion and be more like me.
Do you see what is happening with this thought and where this can lead? As Christians, we don’t lose or give up on the notion of having opinions about things or people. In fact, as Christians our opinions are invited to swell with love. Not just with words of love for God and love of self, or love for those who have opinions like our own or who live and behave like us, but to swell with the perfect love of God, whose opinions about our own sinfulness should rightfully exclude us from that very love that is working to sanctify us. We are invited to share in this love that makes room for the opinions of others, even when they are different from our own. It’s the pattern established by God and seen powerfully in Jesus’ story of the Good Samaritan and when he eats with tax collectors or teaches the Beatitudes with the crowds that have gathered. God cares for us all and we are called to do the same, even when opinions differ.
This summer, we are taking a step forward to create a time of discussion, grounded in Christian understanding (more specifically in Wesleyan thought), so that we can experience what it means to actually have conversation about topics that are impacting the lives of people we know, as well as those whom we have not yet met. We all have opinions about some of these topics, but maybe we have not stretched ourselves yet to hear or see through someone else’s place in life or through the lens of Christian faith. We are calling this series of conversations “Faith Discussions – Methodists in Dialog.”
So on the last Sunday evenings of the summer months (June, July, and August), you are invited to Asbury Hall at the MAC at 5:00 p.m. for informal discussions about a few topics. I (and Pastor Ricky when he is available) will moderate these informal discussions and offer Wesleyan thought to assist in guiding the discussions so we might grow in understanding of one another. On Sunday, June 24, the topic of discussion will be “immigration.” On Sunday, July 29, the topic will be “human sexuality.” The topic for the last gathering on August 26 will be the “ism’s” (such as racism, sexism, militarism, ageism, etc.).
See you in worship!