I don’t typically quote facebook. It seems lame, to be honest. But I saw this and it applied perfectly to what’s been brewing in my head all week. I did about two minutes of research on this quote, and found it’s written by an author of a book about relationships. I know nothing of the book other than this quote and it’s description on Amazon. But I don’t have to. I just like what it says. And that’s my point.
Recently, a Christian band named Gungor has been at the center of some controversy over lead singer Michael Gungor’s views on whether the creation story in the Bible is to be read as literal. Churches have cancelled concerts, a large Christian bookstore chain has stopped selling their music, and the internet has, of course, allowed the free flow of opinions about Michael Gungor’s opinions to spread far and wide.
I’m here to add yet another opinion: people are allowed to have them.
I don’t have to agree with everything someone says to continue liking him. Or to enjoy his art, to worship along with him, to go to his house, be his friend. Or most anything else. I don’t agree with everything my mother thinks, but I love her, I enjoy her, I learn from her constantly. Even if she had what I thought was a whacky idea about something in the Bible, I wouldn’t ban her, or boycott her, or not sell her stuff in my bookstore if I owned one. “Well, yes, but that’s your mother,” you might say. And she isn’t influencing thousands of people with her music, and by accepting your mom you aren’t aligning yourself publicly with a certain viewpoint. But that just negates other people’s freedom to decide what they think. That Gungor’s listeners have brains to be used and aren’t going to fall into a trance of agreement with anything the lead singer says in a blog post, if they even know about it.
I understand that some Christians might think Michael Gungor’s thoughts are blasphemous. But if you listen to any of Gungor’s lyrics, you won’t find a single line that says “And Genesis is an allegory, not a literal depiction of events, la la.” They say wonderful stuff like
I pray your glory shines
Through this doubting heart of mine
So my world would know that you
You are my strength
You are you alone
You and you alone
Keep bringing me back home
At the start there was love
And life began in Him
Creation falls, Creator gives
The promise of a better day
We are not there yet
Let it come, let it come in
Love is here, Love is coming
Heaven is breaking open
It’s hard for a Christian to disagree with that. The members of the band might be thinking thoughts you wouldn’t have as they walk down the street or express them on their blog, but if you buy their cd you aren’t necessarily agreeing with them in full. Just as I don’t agree with everything Beyonce thinks but I like Single Girls. That song is damn good. And you don’t have to agree.
“In the essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, love.” Another quote, this time from Rupertus Meldenius or St. Augustine, depending on who you ask, which also makes a lot of sense to me. About Christians worrying about the essentials of the faith (Jesus) and letting the rest be up for discussion. And for those who aren’t Christians, we just skip to the liberty and love part. Because arguing about Jesus being the messiah with an “I’m right and you’re wrong” attitude does no good. It just fosters more of the same, unless people actually calm down, listen and contemplate, and in the end either agree or let the other person have his opinion without hating him for it. The connection above the argument. Whether Christian or not. These are good words to live by.
Everybody just needs to chill out. Have discussions instead of arguments. Even heated ones, if done in love, can do a lot of good. I don’t typically write on controversial subjects, but I just can’t shake this one loose so I’m letting it fly. Feel free to disagree with me. I won’t hate you for it.