I am sitting in my parents' dining room. My sister and my sister-in-law (and her 2 kids) are here, as are my wife and our two kids. And, my parents and my grandmother. The only one not here is my brother who will join us briefly tomorrow before he and his family head to his wife's folk' place in the South. It is Thanksgiving week, and a week of family, food, football, and fun.
One of the highlights of my week home so far has been the initial theological conversations with my sister. Christy is a passionate, evangelical Christian, and her framework for her faith resides in the reformed tradition. I have unintentionally developed a rather sharp anti-reformed bias that I am now working through.
It's not that I want to become a Calvinist (reformed theology adherent). It's just that I want to celebrate the rich Christianity of Calvinists I love (like my sister). There is so much of God I see in the way she vibrantly lives her discipleship. I don't want to let useless prejudice against a belief system prevent me from enjoying and learning from the richness of Christy's faith.
And how silly is that anyway, to be predisposed to be negative toward someone because of their theological system? I suppose that some teachings are damaging (like those offered by the KKK or the Third Reich). But, many differences in theology among Christians who truly worship Jesus are minor when held in contrast with the essentials of the faith. By saying that theological differences are minor, I don't mean they are unimportant. I just mean that they should not prevent sweet fellowship in Jesus.
If that phrase "sweet fellowship in Jesus" sounds campy, I don't care. I need more of it. I enjoyed it while on a mission trip in Arkansas earlier this year, and I want more! After that trip, I said that if anyone in the church wanted to complain about something, they would be allowed to register their complaint after they had spent a week on a mission trip, serving the poor in Jesus' name.
Maybe the same criteria should stand for theological arguments. Before we argue predestination v. free-will, we have to go on a mission trip where we serve needy people out of our love for Jesus. If we do that then our hearts will be properly prepared to put theological nuance in its proper place.
This blog began as a reflection on the book of Job. The Bible studies on Job that I've been leading have come to an end. The blog will continue. I'll share my own walk with the Lord and what I learn from people; authors whose books I read, and thoughts from not-so-famous but extremely wonderful and smart people I know personally. Please continue to read along and give your comments.
Now, I am off to bed. I am looking forward to more enthralling conversations with my sister and sweet fellowship in Jesus with my family this week.