Pastor’s Friday Comments (06.26.20)

When the staff writes our blogs for the monthly newsletter, you will see on the front page just a few lines (I assume to pique your interest) and a link you can click on to “read more.” What I hadn’t noticed until a friend on the other side of the country pointed it out last week was that, for my weekly “Friday Comments,” there are no beginning lines, just the link that says “Read More.”

My friend sent me this text: “I appreciate how your comments are simply to ‘read more.’ I agree. Haha.”

I know he meant it as a joke, but, ever on the lookout for material for this column, I’m taking him seriously. We should. Read more, that is.

We don’t need to be pontificating on the crucial social issues of our day unless and until we have read deeply on the subject, whatever that subject may be. And I mean read from credible, thoughtful sources, writers who deal in facts and figures, who may write passionately but with information to back up what they are saying.

We need to be reading stuff that’s hard, that can’t be digested in the time it takes to eat your breakfast, that presents views with which you may not agree, but that are carefully reasoned and clearly presented.

We need to be reading widely. Depending on any one source for your information means you will never know any more or anything different from what that person knows.

We need to be reading especially the people who have devoted themselves to an understanding of biblical, Christian principles and who apply them to the hardest questions of our day. But we can’t let them draw our conclusions for us. The Holy Spirit can speak to you as clearly in your reading as it did to the author in the writing.

We need to be reading more in the Bible specifically. Too many of us think we know what the Bible says about an issue, but there is a good chance we’re just repeating what someone else told us.

And when we feel the need to respond to something someone else has written, we need to do so respectfully, civilly, and only after putting as much effort and thought into the response as the writer did in the original writing. If you insist on doing your responding on social media, just know that the laziest, easiest thing you can do is “like” what someone else posted or repost their thoughts without deep reflection.

One of the most discouraging traits of humanity is our unwillingness to encounter information that is different from what we already think we know or believe. In conversations with people about subjects on which we disagree, I have almost given up suggesting something that they might read that could change their minds. The offer is almost always declined, even when I express my willingness to read something they might suggest in return.

Willful ignorance is not a spiritual gift. It is, however, one of the easiest ways to approach life. I don’t believe that it is a lack of intelligence that holds most people back; I think it is a lack of resolve. Reading difficult material is hard. Thinking deeply about complex subjects is hard. Considering all facets of an argument is both hard and time consuming. But I have good news for you. As a Christian, if you approach any issue with an open mind and a willingness to be led by the Holy Spirit, then God’s will for how you should deal with that subject will be revealed to you. It might be different from what you had hoped; it might be more difficult to put into practice than what you desired. But it will be what God wants from your life.

Read more.