Every political, social or economic issue has people on either side of the argument engaging in a tug of war to try to achieve their own aims and their own goals. Even people who claim to represent the same position argue and debate on what stands as the best idea or best solution- one look at the recent GOP presidential debates illustrates this point.
Christians are not immune to this kind of diversity when it comes to political, social or economic issues. Politically, Christians can use faith to justify extreme liberalism, extreme conservatism and everything in between. Socially, Christians find themselves on opposite side of almost every issue from marriage equality to health care reform to environmentalism to even whether or not to boycott Starbucks. I won’t even mention economic issues.
It can all be confusing for those of us who reside within the “Christian community” and extremely puzzling for those outside looking in. How do people who worship the same God and read the same Bible come to so many differing conclusions? Wouldn’t it be better if all Christians agreed on these issues? Isn’t that the only way to positively influence the society in which we live?
At first glace, we might be tempted to answer yes to these questions: it would be better if Christians agreed on social issues; agreeing on issues is the only way to positively influence society. But is that indeed the case?
Think about a rope. A rope is only useful if both ends of under some kind of tension. It’s rather hard to tie a knot without some kind of tension. In fact, a rope held by one tension point is a whip.
Debate and tension have the opportunity to create something useful while a singular voice can be used as a whip. I am not saying a whip is never needed, even Jesus made a whip. Some issues like slavery and human trafficking need to be handled with a whip. However, most issues need tension.
The question is: Will we use the tension as a tug of war to get our own way? Or will we use the tension like anchors that hold a tight rope and allow those who are brave enough to walk confidently into the space between and achieve something truly amazing?
Let’s use the tension to create tight ropes not as tug of war.
© Ryan Vanderland 2012