Saturday, February 21, 2009


“And so we agree to disagree?” It can be unsettling when we hear two people struggle with differing points of view while sitting at the same table, or in the same pew or choir loft? Why are we more comfortable when we all agree? Is it because we can build on each other’s thoughts, finish each other’s sentences and even second-guess what others may be thinking. We sing songs like, “We are one in the Spirit” and expect the whole group to come out at the same gate. But, that doesn’t always happen. And if it did, I think it would be a bit boring.

Points of view and varying perspectives give texture and colour to the ordinary. I cherish the voice that risks the statement at Bible Study, “And have you thought of . . . “ Or the person who steps into the circle at a council challenging an overused tradition. Maybe it’s a child who states she is bored in church causing the elders to reflect on worship.

If it's easy to love one another in the body of Christ when we agree, we are called to love even more as we make ourselves a channel of God’s love to the one with whom we differ. Perhaps our greatest challenge is to gain unity-in-diversity without judgement or criticism. I’ve found the use of Holy Manners extremely helpful when people come to the table from different theological perspectives and faith traditions. It is the time when we can learn from each other and watch the Spirit move in our midst encouraging us to share our views.

It's always supportive to review Holy Manners and apply them to discussion and decision-making, particularly during church Annual and Council meetings and especially when considering provocative issues. I keep them in view even as I write emails and blogs.
 "keep God at the centre of everything we do
 separate people from problems
 allow for full and equitable participation
 listen carefully without interruption
 welcome the conflict of ideas
 honour the decisions of the body" (Dr. Marion Pardy).

And it is when you put another piece in the puzzle, that my picture appears greater.

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