Friday, November 9

Why Do I Believe?, edited 11/17

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!

6 comments:

Lora K. said...

Brea,
Thank you so much for your kind words! I love your post and had to laugh the whole time when describing your group of friends. Austin's city slogan kept going through my head.... "Keep Austin Weird"! Things are much more conservative over here in Katy (as I'm sure you know).

I noticed you don't have Rick Saenz of Dry Creek Chronicles ( http://cumberlandbooks.com/blog ) {Sorry I couldn't code that... Lindsay isn't around right now to tell me how ;-)} in your blogroll... from what you said in your article, you would probably like him. We have been having conversations about purposely not choosing a church that has all like-minded people and some of the pitfalls of that.

I look forward to reading more of your posts. BTW, my jealousies lie with anyone who has a piece of land and chickens. {Referring to your tagline on Ree} You don't have guineas too do you... that would almost be too much ;-)

Sarah said...

I remember a time when my best friend wasn't a believer....and I thank God every day for the person she is now. Really great post Ash. Love you tons.

MacCárthaigh Family said...

I have friends who live here in Ireland and they are American missionaries. Jeff told me once that relationships with non believers can be a bit like pots on a stove.

Sometimes God encourages you to have a lot of contact with one person (this would be a pot on the front of the stove that would be cooking away and needs lots of stirring and watching.

Then you have little contact with other people and they would be the pots on the back of the stove that simmer away quietly and only need a glance every now and again!

Sometimes the pots get switched around and you spend more time with one person than another...

I like the way he explains this whole idea of spending time with non believers and it helps me not to get impatient with them and God and myself...

Maybe your friend is a slow boiler, and you may have to spend many many hours with her and see no fruit, but you know, with man things are impossible but with God, all things are possible! Keep up the good work sister.

Amy E said...

Normally, I don't advocate having too many friends that are non-believers, but I have had a few in mylife time...just a bit of encouragement regarding your friend.

I met my friend Lucy in 1992, she was not a Christian, was raised Catholic, then her entire family (except her) converted to being Jehovah's Witness. She was very confused, and wasn't sure what she should believe. She asked me dozens of questions about my beliefs, and I shared with her for years! In 1997, I left that job, and only say her periodically. Well in 2004 out of the blue she called me and said she really needed to meet with me, it was urgent. We met for lunch at Applebee's. As soon as she sat down she blurted out that she and her husband and recently accepted Christ and were attending a local non-denominational congregation in San Antonio. I was so surprised and excited I started crying. I was so happy. It had been 12 years since our first talks!
The seeds were planted in those early talks, and that was my job. There is only one Holy Spirit and I am not He. It was not my job to convict her to accept Christ that is the Holy Spirit's job.

So be patient, answer her questions, talk about your faith and relationship with Christ, and be unashamed, and she may surprise you one day.

Lyndsey said...

It may seem like a great analogy, but people are not pots.

Amy E said...

????? I don't understand the analogy....