At the staff meeting, we always spend time reflecting on the last sermon. Pastor Toph used a great word at the meeting that captures an essential aspect of the Lower the Volume Series — posture. When we say, “lower the volume,” we do not mean that we should turn the volume off. In other words, this series does not intend to stifle meaningful conversations across a spectrum of issues that will generate differences of opinion and interpretation on a matter. If the goal were to eliminate disagreements, differences of opinion, strong convictions on a topic, preferences, and various interpretations, then, to borrow a phrase from the Apostle Paul, we would need to go out of the world. Remember the subtitle of the series: How to live with other people’s conscience and yours. Stamping out differences of opinion and varieties of convictions is not how we live with one another. That’s how the world outside of the church operates. It ought not to be that case in the body of Christ. This is why the word “posture” is so important. The particular way we deal with each other in our differences of conscience is, if not more important, easily as important as what we disagree about. I’m going to go out on a limb and say it is more important. Correct me if I am wrong, but do so with a posture drenched in Christlike behavior. This is how we turn the volume down, not necessarily off.
Living in Christ and before Christ together,
P.S. Sit with this quote for a little bit this week — The frailty of human interpretation should give us pause from interpretive pride and theological arrogance. It should also remind us of our great need for God’s much greater grace in helping us understand the message of Scripture. Because we are recipients of God’s grace, we should extend the same courtesy to those with whom we disagree. Love and patience should characterize our interpretive disagreements as imperfect readers of the Bible.