i’ve had more than a handful of conversations in which folks have attempted to pin me down to a particular set of beliefs – ranging from hot topics like who ‘goes’ to heaven and who ‘goes’ to hell, to infant baptism, to the myriad of questions that arise within the context of the church when talking about homosexuality.
i rarely give the answer they want – even when they suspect they ‘know’ my theological or philosophical position. i find myself (more often than not) leaning toward nuanced language and avoiding drawing clear lines in the sand. our western addiction to dualistic, binary, yes/no || true/false thinking leads conversations to demands for clarity.
answer me! why won’t you answer me?!?!
here’s a brilliant bit of insight concerning the work of reconciliation and bridge-buliding from my friend, andrew marin ::
‘Don’t answer yes/no questions because the people asking them (whether friends or enemies) are just trying to pin you down into a ‘my team’ ‘their team’ scenario. Bridges can’t be built from only one side! The problem with close-ended questions is that in a one word response three things happen :: I know who you are, I know what you believe, and (this is the big one) I know how I should treat you based on that one word. None of that seems peaceful and productive to me surrounding the most divisive topic in our culture today. That is why I don’t answer yes/no questions, whether to friends I love and trust or to those who don’t like me so much.‘
we would do well to follow the example of jesus – using wisdom in our every interaction for the greater purpose of being an ambassador of reconciliation for the kingdom.
when we value reconciliation over being ‘right,’ i suspect we’ll spend a lot less time arguing over where we stand and a lot more time loving those around us. that inevitably will open doors and conversations that will allow us greater opportunity to ‘practice what we preach’ in standing in solidarity with those previously pushed to the margins.
learn more about the work andrew is doing here, or explore what he believes it means to live in the tension of the cultural, political and theological polarization of the gay community in his award-winning book, ‘Love is An Orientation‘