Take a Risk
JR. Forasteros - September 7, 2014
Take a Risk
From Series: "Branches"
No matter how much we enjoy the weekend worship experience, sooner or later, we stop growing. That's because we need more than great music and an engaging message. We need to connect with other people who are on the same journey as us. Learning we're not alone as we try to follow Jesus changes everything, and that's what Branches is all about. In a Branches group, you'll find people who've been where you are, who know the joys and pains of building relationships, work and figuring out your calling, raising a family, leaving a lasting legacy. They're people you can join with in figuring out exactly how the new life Jesus offers us changes our whole world. If that sounds too good to be true, it's not. Becoming part of a small group is the single best way to pursue a thriving, life-changing relationship with God. This is Branches. And big things happen in small groups.
More From "Branches"
How many of you have ever been nervous to join something new because you just aren’t sure who else is going to be there? There’s the obvious new people anxiety we all feel to some degree, but there’s a deeper fear too – a fear of being with people who are different from us. It’s tough to be around people who don’t share our views on life, and when you join a new circle, a new group, you just don’t know who you’re going to get.
Our culture doesn’t help – we live in a world of increasing differences. A culture of polarization. Left and right. Democrat and Republican. Fox News vs. CNN. Batman vs. Superman. When a divisive, complicate issue arises – like the recent conflict between Israel and Gaza or Michael Brown’s shooting in Ferguson, the news is increasingly polarized. If you collect 20 news stories, you can sort them into two piles, two opinions, two viewpoints. And if the issue is divisive enough, you’d almost think you’re looking at two completely separate events.
We’re still about a year away from the next presidential election, but that means any time now, primaries and commercials and all that’s going to kick back into high gear. And we all know it’s stupid. We’re all tired of the constant arguing and mud-slinging and the ever-deepening feeling that no one is actually listening to anyone else.
But we’re not sure what to do about it. How do we convince them that we’re right?
Because that’s the goal at the bottom of our longing, right? That if only they could see the world like we do, if only we could somehow effectively communicate our perspective, then they’d agree with us. We’d be done with these pesky divisions.
So what do we do? We talk louder. We reemphasize our points.
And yet it still doesn’t work. The differences persist. Both sides get louder, angrier, tenser.
This morning, I’d like to call a Time Out and suggest we’re going about this all wrong. That rather than build defenses and hone weapons and entrench positions, we’d do better to use our energies to build bridges, to create conversations and to listen.
Because here’s a secret neither side wants to acknowledge: we need the differences. We need each other. The differences actually make us better, stronger and smarter. The very worst thing we can do for ourselves, for our souls, is to wall ourselves off with people who only think like us. Good, strong, healthy spirituality, vibrant personhood, is found mostly in joining with people not like us and allowing the relationship that flourishes between us to change and shape us both.