(Ben Gosden is an Associate Pastor at Mulberry Street United Methodist Church in Macon, GA and a prolific blogger on his blog, Covered in the Master’s Dust).
As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:12-15, 17)
We live in a world that puts a high price on expressing one’s opinions. The evening news that used to report the facts of the day is now geared around a 24-hour machine churning our facts slanted by bias opinion. Hot button issues of our day—homosexuality, abortion, war, etc.—can’t seem to be discussed without some sense of emotional baggage being attached. It’s so easy to get caught in the echo chamber of our own opinions that we forget the fact that edifying dialogue is an art.
John Wesley believed holy conferencing—Christians conferring together for the sake of peace and truth seeking—was a “means of grace.” The question before us as the Church is this: What kind of world do we want to live in? Will we accept living in a world of Babel—where opinions are shouted so loudly no one can hear or understanding one another (Gen 11)? Or will we seek to live into the world of Pentecost—where the grace of God empowers us to celebrate diverse voices in the formation of the Kingdom of God (Acts 2)?