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Oh my, what is The Times up to? Few ministers ever agree on all matters of faith and everyone knows it. So what could be news, or even simply new, in the recent Terry Walton-Tom Smiley "building bridges" debate on Muslims and Christians?
I guess some local readers may be curious because both these are known to be good men, proven leaders from larger churches we pass frequently. Some of us Christians may look on anxiously, wishing that our public disagreements didn't so easily mask the truths we hold in common. Too many of us will choose a champion, and take sides. More than I care to imagine may think "there those Christians go again," and turn away another time from faith.
For myself, reading our local ministers theological points is interesting, but not satisfying. That's not their fault. In my Bible, even the clearest truth still leaves many questions unanswered.
I admire my colleagues' courage and calling to speak out as they see fit. But when talking about God, I wish we hesitated long enough to heed the words of Job to God: "Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know."
I hope none of us ever hears God's words to one of Jobs overconfident friends: "I am angry with you because you have not spoken of me what is right."
If God, even as revealed in Jesus, still is too much to fathom, perhaps the best path for us is to never become so sure we are right that we stop listening for truth in someone else's point of view. Maybe that's the spirit The Times is after, after all?
The Rev. Kent Murphey
Minister of Administration, First Baptist Church of Gainesville, Flowery Branch