A few years back I would have breakfast with a friend every Wednesday. He is one of the most intelligent and Godly people I know. Yet every week we would disagree about a point of belief. We couldn’t agree. In fact, we simply don’t have the same view theologically on some issues. We are great friends and yet we are profoundly different.
So why did we do this every Wednesday morning? Why did we put ourselves through this every week? Did we love a good argument? Were we trying to convince the other to our point of view? No, but we shared a desire to know God better.
Our friendship was simply not based on whether we always agreed. We have plenty in common, we shared a respect for one another, a love a of God and our friendship was not conditional on complete agreement on everything.
There was another dynamic at play. We stretched each others thinking. Hearing a view or position which is different to your own causes you to think. To be honest, at times it can be uncomfortable, but more often than not the end result is worth it. In dialogue with my friend, I had to consider his position and in this I had to critique my own. It produced a more robust and well thought through faith. This would never have happened if we always agreed on everything.
Don’t just have the same old conversations with people who agree with you. Don’t simply read the same authors who agree with all you believe. Pick up the book of an author who holds a different view to you. Pursue conversations which will stretch you. Try something that you are not completely comfortable with. But engage your mind. Question. Listen. It may strengthen your faith.
If you give this a go, don’t forget to critique. Not everything that is written is true. Even your most respected friend can get it wrong from time to time. Even the best thinkers are fallible, as are we. We are not always right. Perhaps we don’t need to be. Perhaps it is better to engage a path that will help us find the truth, or develop a more robust confidence in what we hold to be true.