Space

Last week I met with a group of church leaders. Near the end of our time together, I asked the following question, “What do you do well?”

One person immediately responded, “We provide breathing space. This is what we do well.”

At first I wasn’t sure how to respond. I didn’t get what was being said. What does breathing space mean?

Luckily I didn’t have to wait long for clarification. Other folks quickly jumped into the conversation.

“I have felt the freedom to be me.”

“People have been patient with me as I have struggled with God’s call on my life.”

“I could be angry with God and wasn’t condemned for feeling this way.”

Hearing stories of how people were given the space to work through their faith without manipulation and condemnation was powerful. Allowing people to truly walk their own faith journey is a rare event in our culture.

We often ask, “But what happens if they come to different conclusions and understandings than me? Or think, “It is important that Christians know the truth and that truth better line up with my truth!”

This is why we have confessions of faith. It gets everyone on the same page. It creates unity.

But I cannot help but wonder if we sometimes confuse uniformity and unity. Do we all have to agree before we can be unified or does something powerful happen when we give people breathing space?

Read Acts 10. Who gets converted: Peter or the Centurion? Maybe conversion is what happens when two people come together, share their faith journeys, and both end up in a place they never expected.