Take a Risk

 In Sermons, Teachings

JR. Forasteros - September 7, 2014

Take a Risk

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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.

Join us Sunday as we investigate why we need people who aren’t like us in our circles.

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