Broadening my circle of friends and acquaintances has been the best.
At Center of Hope, I established relationships with inmates, people on the streets, and people of other cultures. They offered interesting perspectives, and I found new friends.
A notable friendship has been with someone opposed to belief in God. Some might call him an atheist but he doesn’t like labels. He has suggested insightful books, from which I have learned much. He has helped me sharpen my skills as a pastor and evangelist. We care about each other.
My job with New Roots Ministry has been rich, especially in meeting people of other countries, cultures and religions. Abdul is orthodox Muslim. I suppose I am “orthodox” Christian. He is always willing to teach me and others about his country—Somalia, and his religion. Maybe most special is our care about each other, shown through our mutual hope that the other becomes enlightened to what is understood as Truth. We acknowledge we wouldn’t be much as friends if we didn’t care about that.
But beware. Be anchored well-enough, like the builder described in Luke 6:48—“…like a man who builds a house. He digs down deep and sets it on solid rock. When a flood comes, the river rushes against the house. But the water can’t shake it. The house is well built.” A few years ago, as I wrote A Search for Common Ground: Let’s Talk, in order to learn other perspectives, I quickly digested information that was different from my beliefs, and I visited with people who had different worldviews than mine. I did that without balancing with a healthy intake of food from God, and prayer, and support from my family of God. And, I got spiritual-indigestion.
Go explore, as long as your footing is good!
Can you share examples of explorations in your life—experiences, friendships, perspectives? How were those for you?