For the first part of Cayden’s life (thanks to COVID) I was a stay at home dad, and it was some of the most fun I’ve ever had. These last few days I’ve had another little taste of it because he and I were both home sick.
Today, I was feeling a little better, but he was back to his old self, so he basically ran circles around me all day. Needless to say, I was ready for some relief when momma got home.
On her end, though, things were equally as crazy. Laura spent the day keeping kids calm who came off of a sugar high from Valentine’s Day and the were excited for the long weekend.
She needed some relief too.
So when she got home, two worlds collided. Two worlds of fatigue, frustration, and maybe even a little nausea.
Balancing that takes a lot of patience and understanding from both sides. It’s always a little messy, but we make it work.
The church is similar. Except instead of two worlds colliding, it’s dozens or hundreds.
Each person is a world of Bible study, tradition, customs, preferences, negotiables, and non-negotiables. Each soul has their vision for what the church can be, should be, or maybe should never be.
And when these worlds collide, things can get messy.
Patience, tolerance, understanding, and a whole lot of give and take are necessary. Congregational studies, conversations, and discussions need to replace monologues from one or two members, even esteemed leaders (unless, of course, they are infallible interpreters of the Bible and can confirm that with a miracle or two).
Those deemed more liberal or progressive need to understand the years of tradition that those deemed more conservative or traditional have. They need to know that, for many, rejection of a tradition might be seen as rejecting a beloved deceased member such as their father, mother, or dear friend.
Those who are more conservative or traditional need to also understand where the other members are coming from. How, while they respect the traditions, they may not see them as biblically mandated or necessary, and are willing to exchange or transform them into something they see as a more authentic way of expressing their faith.
While neither side can completely understand the complexity, the depth, and all the ins and outs of the other, at least attempting to start a dialogue of love (not debate) can go along way.
Just as Laura and I have to be open to listening to each other, helping each other out, and compromising at times, church members need to be similarly conscience about the world of their brothers and sisters.
Mistakes will be made. Feelings will be hurt. People will feel unheard. But a lot of this can be remedied by being quick to hear and slow to speak. This is not the responsibility of one or two members, one party or another; it is the responsibly of us all.