Faith and fractures
By Bishop Gary Mueller
What a world! Terrorism rears its ugly head on a daily basis around the globe. Politics in the United States has devolved into a partisan shouting match that seems to be heating up on a monthly basis. And closer to home, there seems to be an increasing decline in men’s interest in faith.
So what do we do?
You need to begin by acknowledging that Christians address these issues from very different – and often diametrically opposed – perspectives. In fact, that person next to you in the pew this past Sunday could well hold very different opinions from you on these and many other matters.
It’s easy, and therefore very tempting, to believe there’s a single Christian answer to every issue, and that it can be easily discovered. Unfortunately, it’s just not that simple. That’s because Christians come at these issues from different cultural perspectives, life experiences, political leanings and personalities, in addition to their Christian faith.
That’s why it’s essential to understand that where you begin often determines where you end up. If you’ve had a particularly painful life experience, you may end up in one place. If you’ve been a staunch member of a political party for a number of years, you may end up in another. And if you’ve grown up in just one region of the country, you may end up at still another.
It’s time to do the obvious – begin with Jesus. This does not mean simply quoting those parts of Scripture about the Jesus you like. It’s much more about trusting Jesus to lead you by truly trying to see through Jesus’ eyes, listen with Jesus’ ears, think with Jesus’ mind, feel with Jesus’ heart and touch with Jesus’ hands as that is revealed in Scripture.
But beware. Beginning with Jesus will be a challenge. A big challenge. You’re going to need a good dose of humility. You’ll be dealing with difficult, even painful, issues. And you may end up with very different answers than you ever imagined possible.
Does this mean that anyone can predict where this will lead? No way. Does it mean that everyone will agree about everything? That’s ridiculous. Does it mean all Christians will come together to solve all our problems? Not in your lifetime.
But I trust Jesus. I trust you. And I think you’re ready to follow where Jesus leads.
Bishop Gary Mueller, vice president
General Commission on United Methodist Men