Argue

The Christian Dilemma of Disagreement

Do you remember your first time? I do. A bet a lot of Christians do. There’s nothing like the first time, the one where you expose everything and… share a theological stance when—worst case scenario—the ear on the other side of the table disagrees with you.

Disagrees? Can Christians do that? Should Christians do that?

My First Time

I’ve gotten better, since my first time that is. I remember it well. I was in youth group, in high school, and the hot topic of teenage dating came up. I argued for it; he argued against it. I hated him. Well no, but he was the type of Christian who always seemed to think the opposite of what I was thinking. I’ve grown to cherish people like this—because, well, it seems that everyone disagrees with me these days—but back then, I couldn’t really handle it.

I remember feeling so caught off guard, I didn’t know what to do. One of us is right, I would think, which means God is against one of us—obviously, not me. 

Processing disagreement has less to do with spirituality and more to do with maturity. At some point we become adults and our emotions dwindle down a bit. We learn to listen and smile—even when we feel like calling someone Mr. Poopy Pants.

For some reason though, spiritual arguments exist on a different level. Our beliefs are very special to us. We’re allowed to have political arguments, sports arguments, American Idol arguments, but when we disagree over spiritual arguments, we take real offense.

Offense/Defense

The reason we take great offense to spiritual disagreements is because we associate God with our beliefs. If I’m wrong then God is wrong then there is no God. I would argue that this is not healthy; however, we have all done it.

I’ve had to learn this lesson many times over. I remember singing along to the mewithoutYou classic song, “Four Part Letter Pt. 2” where the singer yells, “We don’t want our beliefs, God of peace, we want you.” I would sing along and think I knew what that meant. Then I would get into an argument over salvation and walk away with my faith shaken.

If we are one body, if there is one God, if there is one truth, why are we disagreeing so much? 

Our beliefs are not God, but we associate God with our beliefs.

A Dull Stab

Since I chose (yes chose) the route of becoming a slightly left leaning, emergent apologetic Christian—I’m only labeling myself, which I hate doing, for the sake of this blog post—I’ve signed up for my fair share of disagreements. To make things worse, I also dislike the majority of whatever the church does these days. There are other things, but you get the point. I’ve signed myself up for a lot flak.

I’ve grown a pretty thick skin, and I’ve also matured a bit. At the end of the day, regarding our spirituality, we are all just taking stabs. Some use a duller knife than others, yes. But we are all just taking stabs.

There are few things the Bible maps out for us very clearly. Most topics in scripture, however, are meant for a life of meditation, reflection, conversation, and argumentation. We are not meant to have the answer to every question in our pocket, not yet at least.

Is there predestination? Are homosexuals allowed in Heaven? Is there even a Hell—in regards to how we currently think of it? Is church suppose to be how it currently is? And yes, have we made a mess of worship?

We may get the answer in Heaven; we may not care when we get there. What I’ve learned is that it’s okay to ask; it’s okay to argue; we should expect disagreement from one another. Argument proceeds understanding and develops our faith.

Listen, learn, and share what’s in your heart! Be mindful and understand that God speaks to other people as well. Also, you are allowed to be wrong. I do it all the time.

Questions to Argue

1. Have you ever had a spiritual argument that shook your faith?

2. Is there danger in equating God with beliefs (denomination, translation, political views, etc.)? Or should they be one in the same? Is that even possible?

3. If we learn to disagree—to listen and respond in grace—could the Body build a tighter bond?

5 Reasons to Stay a Christian

I fell upon a christian radio station today.

I’ll usually stay away from these shows altogether. If I want to hear talk, I’ll go AM; FM is for music. Leave me alone.

Feeling a bit curious, I let the station keep. What’s a Monday without a little risk? Historically, I’m the type to keep to myself; whatever meat mainstream christians collectively chew and spit at, I try to leave alone and let them be.

Today though, I thought I’d feel the pulse for a bit.

Gay marriage. Of course. As if it’s the only thing to talk about. As if we don’t believe in anything else. As if Christians couldn’t differ on the issue. As if. (I’m doing my best Alicia Silverstone here).

Are we wrong, are they right? I’m not sure. All I know is that this stupid fight we’ve picked is getting the best of us.

Instead of serving the world, we’re trying to rule it. We’ve become obsessed with winning arguments and asserting political agendas; personally, I’m convinced the Kingdom of God is more than just a lobbying group in Washington. It has to be.

It has to be in the streets. It has to be in our homes. It has to be living and breathing love.

Otherwise, I can live without it.

5 Reasons to Stay A Christian
(For frustrated Christians like me)

1. Jesus, Moses, God, Paul, all instruct us to love our neighbors. No agenda. Staying in community keeps us focused on this goal.

2. There are worthy causes to fight for. How do we know which is which? In peaceful protest, Jesus died for his cause. If it’s not worth your life, is it worth fighting for? Will it save another’s if you do?

3. Agreement isn’t the point; what we need is your voice. Mainstream radio, TV, and mega-churches expect us to vote, argue and tolerate what and how they do. The Family is beautiful in it’s diversity, not sameness.

4. Leaving doesn’t make the statement you think it does. Weakness is not meekness. Doors will shut, ears will close, communication will halt. Change takes time; speak as one who loves and listens.

5. Your tithe can change the world. I used to think tithing was a cop out, but money is a faithful way to serve when you can’t otherwise. These people could use your money (and time and energy as well): Potter’s House, Restore International, World Vision, The Mentoring Project, just to name a few.

I’d love to hear some feedback on this. Can arguments (like gay marriage) distract the purpose and hinder our reach? Or are they worth fighting for?