Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Pastor's Journal:From Southern Baptist to Non-Denominational

Traveling across a religious spectrum has provided some unique challenges. This journey has included being born into a Southern Baptist home, studying religion at a state university, going to seminary at a Presbyterian school, being ordained through the Baptist General Conference, planting a church under my ordaining denomination, and serving as pastor of a non denominational church. Many lessons have been learned, some of which I hope to share through this journal in the future.

So many labels exist for Christians. Many are helpful, and many are destructive. They include: evangelical, fundamentalist, liberal, parachurch, literalist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist, Bible thumper, spirit-filled, charismatic, Pentecostal, reformed, Calvinist, Arminian, etc. It is one thing to be labeled, and it is another thing entirely to look through their lens at the surrounding world. A lot of the religious conflicts that I have caused, mediated, or observed have stemmed from a lack of understanding from other points of view. One person was labeling while looking through a lens, and another was defensive while looking through a completely different lens. Who was right? Who was wrong? How does anyone attempt to sort through it?

That lack of understanding has expressed itself in pride, ignorance, disrespect, and division. Maybe through my journey you can confront such attitudes in your own life as you read the way I am confronting mine. Let's take a thoughtful and considerate walk through this maze. It will be important for us to establish common ground from the outset.

To be continued...

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