My wife and I live just north of Towanda, KS. The drive into the church here in South Wichita is right at 35 minutes, no matter which route I take. I have found it to be a great time to listen to audiobooks and have gone through around 30 of them since September of last year (2018). This morning, instead of a book, I was listening to the radio as I drove to the church. The talk-radio program discussed how we often tend to listen only to sources of news and information which validate what we already believe. If we are conservative-leaning, we tune into mostly conservative programs. If we are more liberal, we watch and listen to liberal programs. When we do this, we never get the story as told from the other perspective. We never get to understand where the other side is coming from. We create for ourselves a world which has no other perspective. So, when we meet our neighbors who have entirely different views of the same situation, we have no way of understanding why. The cultural divide grows wider and wider. As a nation that seems to become more and more divided, this “one-viewpoint reality” only amplifies the divisions. We need to make a point to try to understand the other side of issues. We need to tune into programs and people with whom we don’t agree. We need to learn why people believe or think in ways foreign to us. Many times, it can be compared to learning the language of our neighbors; both literally and figuratively. I think we all will find that the divide is not as big as it appears to be. Those differences will become very grey and less so black and white.
My thought for your week: Find someone with whom you disagree politically, theologically, socially and find out what they listen to, watch, or read. Tune in to the conversation on their side of the fence. Get to understanding your neighbor. You’ll find them much easier to love.
Right now, I have on my desk, a smartphone and a computer. At any moment, I can look up just about anything I could dream off. I could pick up the phone a call someone 10,000 miles away and talk to that person like they were here in the office with me. (It would be the middle of the night for them so, the conversation would probably not be a pleasant one.) We are the most connected group of people history has ever seen, and yet, we are becoming more and more isolated. As a world, the number of lonesome and depressed people is on the rise. We can spend our entire day living inside our telephones. My wife, who is a large animal vet, can go out on a house call and pull up to the wrong house. She will ask the people who live there if they have heard of the people she is trying to find, and they will say, “No.” – Most of the time, the people she’s looking for live right next door! Many of us don’t even know our own neighbors! Jesus got out and spent his entire ministry with his neighbors! He would go out in search of new neighbors! As a Church, we’ve got to get outside our sanctuaries and get to know the people who live right next door! Church leaders should know the names of the families who live just down the street. Even if those people never walk into the church! Christians, you should know your neighbors and show them the love of Jesus; even if they don’t look, smell, sound, or love like you do!
My Thought for Your Week: Make a list of people whom you know you really should get to know. Pick up your smartphone and figure out a way to get to know them. Show them the love of Jesus.