Respect for beliefs

So I’ve spent a lot of time with my extended family recently and this has brought a lot of things to my mind. It’s certainly not a secret that my our family has had a sort of turmoil for several years since my immediate family and I decided to leave “The Church of Christ”. Now I don’t want to get into the specifics of why this happened, but since then our family has disagreed about almost everything when it comes to worship, God, Religion, Politics, etc… This certainly has not been easy on anyone, and whenever we come to visit our family, it’s much less fun than it use to be.

The issues that we are having a certainly not a one sided thing. Both sides have a problem and I think that problem is shared. I believe our biggest issue is that we don’t respect each others beliefs. My extended family doesn’t try to understand our beliefs and my immediate family and myself have lost respect for what they believe. (Jimmy – I hope you don’t take this offensively) Recently, my brother wrote a note about Christianity and I felt it showed a complete lack of respect for our family and everything they believe. On the other side, in my most recent trip to see my family, they never tried to respect the fact that I am a democrat…but rather, they just made me feel ridiculous and foolish for ever supporting Obama. Maybe this is just wishful thinking, but I believe if we just respect each others beliefs and agree that we are always going to disagree, our problems would disappear. I think our family could learn so much from John McCain and Joe Biden. They obviously make their friendship work. Why can’t we?

The statement below is something I wrote about a year ago when I was frustrated with this same kind of thing. I created a belief statement. Feel free to read the whole thing, but if you don’t want to, at least look at the very end of the statement…that’s where I talk about respecting each other for what we believe.

I believe in God.

I believe God is mysterious and is something I will never fully understand.

I believe God is a temporal God.

I do not believe in predestination.

I believe in free will.

I believe sin is a choice and that we can always choose not to sin.

I believe that even though I refer to God as a “he” that he is a gender neutral God.

I do not believe that men should be the leaders of the household.

I believe that the wife and the husband lead it together but in different ways.

I believe that women can and should be leaders in the church.

I do not believe in denominations.

I believe that Christians should live in community with one another and denominations only encourage segregation.

I do not believe that going to church is mandatory but I believe it is necessary to worship in community.

I believe that we should occasionally fall out of tradition so we don’t fall into the idea that there is only one way to have worship in a church.

I believe that unanswered questions are ok and that we can learn from them.

I believe that teachers and parents shouldn’t tell us answers but show us how to make our own decisions.

I do not believe that the bible has all the answers.

I do not believe that you have to be a Christian to go to heaven.

I believe we only believe so strongly in the bible because we were taught that from a young child.

I believe that everyone will go to heaven because God’s grace is endless and he forgives us just as he commands us to do.

I believe that no sin is greater than another and that we all sin.

I believe that it is not a sin to be a homosexual and I hate that it is such a big issue.

I do not believe that you have to be evangelical to be a good Christian.

I believe there is always a better alternative to war.

I do not believe that worship is only something that happens in church but we worship God all the time in how we live our lives.

I do not believe that the people who are always finding personal time with God are better Christians.

I do not believe God calls us to anything specific, but calls all of humanity to a more general idea.

I believe you can be a Christian whether liberal or conservative, democrat, republican, libertarian, etc…

I do not believe in an absolute truth.

I believe that everyone who reads this will disagree with at least one thing on my list.

I do not believe that I am right and they are wrong, but embrace that fact that you have found a different way of understanding God and our lives on earth.

I believe that we should strive to live in a community that embraces the differences between one another.

I believe that we all find different ways to lead a good life and no one’s way is right or wrong but rather is a gift from God.