Liberty and sibling disagreement

This is a tale with deux raisons d’etre (two reasons for being).  First, it is about how to disagree with a fellow Christian.  Second, it amounts to a sort of primer on my “take” on the relationship of human government and Christianity.

Toward two ends, then, I offer the following transcript of pertinent lines from e-mails between a nearby brother and me.  I mainly want to display my friend Joe’s gracious attitude, and to present our interchanges as constituting a pretty good example of how to disagree with a Christian brother or sister.  Having messed up more such communications in the past than I care to think about, I was so relieved as this particular conversation progressed.  The communication took more time than I had last week, but it was worth it, and Joe was not only a good sparring partner, but also a good example of how to close the conversation gently and lovingly.  I appreciate him for this and other things.

Below are the pertinent portions of our six-part interchange:

One

(From Joe to me and others)

> *Dear brothers & sisters,*
>
> Please take 12-minutes and listen to one of the most courageous
> brothers I’ve ever heard.
>
> Then ask God what He wants you to do with this.
>
> Very respectfully,
>
> *Joe *
>
> This link below of a pastor sharing his heart at the national press
> club in DC is a courageous portrayal of where our country is and
> includes challenges to the body that I think is worth our attention
> (12 minutes no notes, all heart for Christ and passion for our
> nation)  ……

———————————-

TWO

(From me)

Joe, good to hear from you.   Always nice to be reminded of you and your group’s warmth toward us.

[snip]

P.S. I pick up that we probably disagree somewhat about the relationship of country and Christian, but that’s OK — whichever one of us is off-base will surely be taken care of by grace.  🙂  Personally, I don’t think we have any good options for president, and I’m not sure which is less desirable.  But the Kingdom is forever — praise Him!

———————————-

THREE

Brian, great to hear from you and all the blessings God is surrounding you with.

Do you know who ________  is?  He is a theologian and excellent Bible teacher. One of my favorite texts other than the Bible itself is ______________  by ____________ .  He has recently written a new book on Politics and the Bible and he has also put together a 4 page summary of the book’s content. His intent is to compare what he calls the conservative view with the liberal view.  I was amazed at his clarity and the accuracy of his presentation.

While you are completely correct that neither man running for President is a great choice, the platforms of the parties have never been more divergent.  It seems to me that we need to do all we can to know the truth, teach the truth, and to let people know the different ideas that are being promoted and the likely direction they will lead.

[snipped scripture used as proof-text 🙂   ]

You are a dear friend and I don’t ask you to consider this to annoy or frustrate you in any way.

Thank you for your consideration & prayers about this important topic.

By His Grace,
Joe

———————————-

FOUR

Joe,

I can’t be sure exactly why I had the impulse to write you that P.S.  It probably wasn’t a good idea, I think the “annoyance” factor actually runs in the other direction.  Thank you for sharing your heart, and I apologize for spiritually perturbing you!

There are areas in which I know I am in a minority, and this is one of them.  I am a conscientious non-participant in government (and am a conscientious objector terms of military service).   In other words, it is not laziness that keeps me out of the process; it is biblically based conscience.  This area of government/Christian is a strange one for me — it is simultaneously a) very important and b) fairly easily seen as non-essential.  By that, I mean that it’s pretty easy for me to be charitable in my heart towards you and the many others who don’t see this as I do (even though the issue is very important to “both sides”).  I do understand the inclination to be concerned for the choices of our political nation.  I would ask for your charity, as well, though:  since you seem passionate about the need to listen and act politically, please know that I am genuinely convicted otherwise and do not take these things lightly or apathetically.

On most moral/social issues, I would probably be more closely aligned with Gov. Romney’s positions than with Pres. Obama’s.  Yet my worldview relegates the political to the temporal, i.e., the non-eternal.  This amounts to a message of hope for me — maybe especially when the options are not good in this life!  I sincerely hope you can appreciate my position here, although I do not expect you to change any more than I expect to change. . . .

His above all,

Brian

———————————-

FIVE

Brian,

I wish I was in front of you as I’d love to give you a big hug and tell you face to face how much I love you and respect your position.  It is clear that you are a ‘thinker’ and have arrived at your position from years of thought and prayer – and as a result I will happily agree to disagree with you on this.

10,000 years from now our differences won’t matter when we bump into each other worshipping our creator together.

By His Grace,

Joe

———————————-

SIX

I’m grateful for your reply, Joe.  Thank you so much for your charity.  This was not easy for either of us!  [snip]

———————————-

In my next post, I’ll offer a little more detail and opinion, post-conversation. . . .

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