But after you determine whether or not you agree with Rob it then becomes about what your definition of essentials are. Even if you disagree with him, can Rob still be a Christian with those views? Can he still be someone that we listen to? If not, why?
I recently heard a terrific message that my friend Hal Shrader gave at his church. Hal is part of the Mennonite community and offers a unique historical perspective to this discussion as well. One of the best lines from his message is that “everybody is somebody’s heretic.” I know that I’ve certainly found that to be true in my own life.
I’d encourage you to spend 30 minutes and click here to listen to it.
Hal referenced the smugness that certain pastors have when addressing issues of faith and God. For example, with the recent disaster in Japan some pastors were quick (and quite certain) what God was doing behind it all. Hal quoted a poem from Rachel Held Evans in response to the picture below from the disaster.
“Some people have pastors who explain these things
but I donâ€™t
know why she sits alone amidst the bodies that the water left behindâ€”
bodies of houses, bodies of cars, bodies of boats, bodies of peopleâ€”
arms clasped beneath bare thighs,
held together by the stiff embrace of a sob,
or why the earth shook,
or why the water came,
or why she has taken off her boots,
or why she sits alone amidst the bodies that the water left behind;
I only know that I donâ€™t
want a pastor who explains these things.”
Are you so certain about your faith and the conclusions you can draw from it? How much room is there for you to learn from people that have differing opinions to you? Be slow to use labels to stereotype and demean those with different viewpoints than your own. They may be doing the same thing to you.
At the end of the day, the word heretic is a pretty subjective term. I pray we become a unified Church that’s passionately following Jesus and building His Kingdom while leveraging the value of our diversity.