That's right, I wrote Why Do I Believe, not What Do I Believe?
My best friend and I have been having some interesting conversations lately. It's been an interesting experience, because I feel less knowledgeable than most of my other friends when it comes to God's Word, so it's kind of fun to be the one who tries to answer the questions, instead of the one asking all the questions. She has been calling me, asking me about scripture, and what I believe, and why, and so many other questions. I have explained to her that I believe the Bible is the inerrant word of God Himself, and that I truly believe it is literal. She mostly agrees with me ... until we get to homosexuality. She has many gay friends, and she says she can't believe that God would send them to hell for 'being born that way.' I've told her that I don't know that they would go to hell for that, any more than someone who lives in adultery would go to hell, or someone who is very prideful and haughty, or someone who steals, or someone who is divorced, or someone who tells a lie, or someone who chooses not to honor his father and mother. It doesn't make it right, though.
It may be something we never agree on. There are plenty of other things we don't see eye to eye on, and I'm ok with that. We're able to have some crazy conversations, and get into some really deep stuff, and we have never hung up the phone mad at each other. We talk politics, love, money, theology, relationships, sex, food, books, music, movies, business, chickens, my wild kids, her crazy friends, and everything else, and we've always, always walked away from every conversation a little more enriched, and a little better friends.
I don't think it's healthy to only have friends who believe that exact same things that you believe. Where is your opportunity to learn and grow? One reason John (very strongly) encouraged me to stay in my book club, is all the different kinds of women that are involved. I'm definitely on one end of the spectrum, little Miss (Mrs) stay-at-home mom, homeschooler, belongs to a very conservative church, believes in Biblical submission to my husband, the only one with young kids (most women don't have any kids at all), only one who doesn't work outside the home, and know what?, politically I'm actually further to the right than the Republican party is. So there. On the other end, you've pretty much got the exact opposite of everything I've described. Feminists, liberals, no kids, atheists, agnostics, etc. And then there's everything in between. But know what? I love them all.
Any heated topics that are brought up are addressed respectfully, and (usually) no one yells, shouts, or is disrespectful. I am forced to think about why I believe a certain way, and then I'm forced to put my beliefs into words. It's all fine and well for me to say, 'I believe in small government,' but why? Can I articulately express the way I feel without sounding like a moron? It makes me look at my beliefs in a different light. Do I feel the same after hearing someone else's well-spoken, thoughtfully presented argument? If I feel differently, it usually means I haven't put that much thought into my positions, or that my position is wrong. If I feel the same, then the conversation usually serves to strengthen my belief or conviction.
There have been many times I have walked away from book club thinking. 'Wow, what a great night. I have a ton of research to do in the next few weeks, because I want to learn more. I don't feel like I know enough to accurately present my side of this topic!' or 'Hmm, I never thought of that subject in that way. This is some serious food for thought!'
I like being on strong footing when I speak with people. I love knowledge. I love learning. I pray that I never, ever grow complacent and stop seeking knowledge and truth. And there is a book (or seven!) for every topic under the sun, but there is one Book I always turn to first. It is my first, last, and final Authority. And it's a NKJV (I admit it, the KJV scares me. Please don't tell Mike Pearl!!).
This post has been inspired by this post, which has several very well-laid arguments, all of which are presented in a lovely, loving manner, and none of which are conventional in the least. May the Lord grant me the wisdom and meekness of spirit to always come across as politely and firmly and gracefully as she did!