The other day I was asked to sign a petition. It had to do with one of those burning “Christian” issues. At this point you need to know that I am not going to name her issue, as naming it would shift the focus of this blog to the issue. My standard response to petitions is that I am a Canadian and probably shouldn’t sign. Most people let me off the hook at this point. In this instance I was once again let off the hook, but before she went on to ask for more signatures she proceeded to lament to me about the state of Christian belief in this country.
“Why can’t people just believe what the bible teaches?” For her the Bible spoke clearly to her issue.
I have thought about her statement for a while now. Like her I believe that Bible is clear about some things. For me loving God and loving neighbors are at the top of the list, but once we get past these two subjects clarity quickly fades.
Think about all the things that divided Christians:
There are many believers who defend a literal six day creation. However, Christians were among the first to suggest that we need to understand the Genesis stories symbolically.
Christians are among the strongest supporters of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan and Christians are among the strongest opponents of these conflicts.
Think about the current debates over gay marriage and women’s right to choose. It is Christians who are the strongest supporters and opponents.
Then there is the healthcare debate. You can find committed followers of Christ across the “what should we do” spectrum.
Taking Jesus and Scripture seriously does not always provide clear-cut answers. It takes a tremendous amount of courage to accept people of faith who fundamentally disagree with you and your understanding of the truth. That said, authentic Christianity always allows for the possibility that my particular understanding of the issue might be wrong.