Helping People to Meet God • Make Friends • Grow in Faith

The other point of view

I regularly read a blog, which provides really good insights on some topics and reinforces my own opinions. But on other topics…well, let’s just say I disagree quite vehemently with the author. In our society we may work quite closely with some people in some areas of life, share a similar outlook and similar goals, and yet on other issues we think totally differently. To a certain extent that’s a sign of a healthy society. When I lived in the United States I experienced it very often that if anyone stated an opinion on one subject his or her opinions on all other issues were also assumed. And often that assumption was correct. Opinions were often shaped along party lines. Sometimes I found the worldviews not internally consistent, but rather a reaction to whatever the other side suggested.

In that regard, a variety of viewpoints is probably healthier for society, but maybe not so easy to deal with personally. When we think someone to be a nice and reasonable person and then hear of their actions or thoughts in some areas, we wonder how far that reasonableness goes. Still, it’s good to persist with that relationship, particularly based on the things in which we can work together. Sometimes some topics may just have to be left unspoken.

Church is a place where we follow Jesus together and worship God together. We are in agreement and united on some of the most important matters. In church we hear and talk about issues of life and death, of purpose and meaning, of hope and vulnerability. That binds us together. And yet, in Church there is also disagreement about issues of faith and meaning, about Biblical interpretation and faithful practice, let alone about the colour of the carpet and the position of the pews. In addition, we also know that many of our brothers and sisters in Christ think quite differently about the right approach to some issues we face as a society—our politics vary. We may try to understand each other and respect each other, even though we may disagree vehemently on specific issues. While, of course, I would prefer others to have the same profound insight into politics that I have ;-), I can also be thankful that people of various backgrounds and opinions do come together to praise God. It is important that we are linked together with people that are somewhat different from ourselves. Indeed, some commentators have suggested that it is exactly because people do no longer mingle so much in places such as churches and sports clubs that some of the polarisation in society increases. Maybe it is good to first of all be thankful that others are also here with us before we raise our eyebrows about their wrong opinions.