Monday, June 30, 2008

practice "tolerance"

Kyle had an awesome sermon on Sunday. In the second of a three-sermon series on "bumper sticker beliefs", he tackled society's overarching obsession with tolerance. I encourage you to listen to it, but will list some key take-aways here...

Some miscellaneous stuff from the opening:
-Tolerance is a core value, but most people can't define it (at least in a coherent manner).
-He has a funny line about a Christian approach to "alternative lifestyles".
-He wrestles with the traditional and new definitions of tolerance-- from recognize and respect (accepting) to seeing all as equally valid/true (approving).
-He asserted that Matthew 7:1 is now the world's most popular verse (although most people in the world read it like a stereotypical "fundamentalist"-- without appropriate context!).
-As an aside, one should read the entire passage and note the extent to which judgment is common and crucial to the passage!

Kyle posed five questions in determining whether one should "tolerate" something or not (under the new definition of tolerance):

1.) Is there sin in my life that I haven't dealt with? Obviously this is a red herring if taken to any extreme (no one could judge anything), but rampant, pre-meditated, unaddressed sin-- especially in the same arena in which one is trying to critique others-- is ridiculous.

2.) Is the person a Christian or non-Christian? Here, Kyle used the huge text in I Corinthians 5. Often, we reverse the Biblical injunction and spend the most time/energy in critiquing the world, then the Church, then ourselves.

3.) Have I dealt with this situation personally? Instead, the common response is often gossip. Or in the case of a community of faith that practices “church discipline”—to let the elders take of it. But the Biblical injunction, in Matthew 18:15-17, is to take care of business mano-y-mano. This is quite difficult to do—not just to correct but to restore. See: Galatians 6:1.

4.) Is this a “disputable thing” (a la Romans 14:1)? If so, leave it alone!

5.) Is love my motivation in approaching this situation? If not, check your heart!

Kyle used a quote from Josh McDowell to underline this point:

Tolerance says, "You must approve of what I do."
Love responds, "I must do something harder; I will love you, even when your behavior offends me."

Tolerance says, "You must agree with me."
Love responds, "I must do something harder; I will tell you the truth, because I am convinced 'the truth will set you free.' "

Tolerance says, "You must allow me to have my way."
Love responds, "I must do something harder; I will plead with you to follow the right way, because I believe you are worth the risk."

Tolerance seeks to be inoffensive; love takes risks. Tolerance glorifies division; love seeks unity. Tolerance costs nothing; love costs everything.


At July 3, 2008 at 4:19 PM , Blogger chip8989 said...

How do you take the Matthew 7:1 verse?

What does this mean to you?

Also, why do you have faith? I see faith as belief that doesn't use logical proof or have material evidence.

Please don't publish my comments. I voted for you in your last run, agree with much of your philosophy and I just wanted to hear from you.


At July 5, 2008 at 8:57 AM , Blogger Eric Schansberg said...

Chip, I couldn't figure out to reply to you off-line. But if you want me to get rid of your comment, let me know...

I think Kyle's sermon covers Mt 7:1 nicely. If you read the entire passage, it's obvious that one must judge in one sense, but must not judge in another sense. Laying those out is not completely clear-cut, but not all that complicated either.

Faith is in an arena where proof is not available or not embraced. Faith is the gap between evidence and inference. (Sometimes, faith is without evidence-- "blind faith".)

Thanks for your support! Spread the word and if you want a yard sign, bumper sticker, etc., let us know.

Grace to you...eric


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