Pastor's Blog

Position vs. Posture

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Masks…Vaccines…Politics…Race…Climate…Guns…Social Justice…Immigration.

These are just a few of the polarizing issues of our day. Many people have strongly held positions on these matters and their positions are important to them…and rightfully so.

The church is no different. 

Given the diverse nature of a local congregation, it is inevitable that there is a diversity of opinion on these matters. But because we are united by a common core faith in Jesus, our posture towards one another is just as important, if not more important, as the positions we hold.

I enjoy listening to a podcast by Preston Sprinkle called “Theology in the Raw.” Recently he was interviewing a pastor from Charleston, South Carolina by the name of Dr. A. J. Sherrill.  You can listen to the podcast here.

In the interview, Dr. Sherrill noted that if Jesus and the Apostle’s Creed – the core elements of our faith – are at the center of what unites us, then we can have space for those who disagree with us on various topics. In fact, it is this very diversity that helps form us spiritually.

How so?

These diverse viewpoints cause us to consider “the other” and not just ourselves. It enables us to learn from each other and most important, how to love each other. That is what forms us spiritually. 

How we hold our positions is equally important, if not more important, to the positions we hold.

It is like holding a bird, Dr. Sherrill noted. You need to hold it with some conviction to keep it from flying away, but you can’t squeeze it too hard, or you will injure it.    

It is okay to have your convictions. Dr. Sherrill says, “But when you squeeze the life out of someone across the table who differs from you and has had a different life experience than you – and yet you share a love for Jesus, the Messiah, that is not the church.”

Our posture towards the one who differs from us is just as important, if not more important, than the position we take.

When Jesus put together his twelve disciples, he included Matthew the tax collector and Simon the Zealot. As a tax collector, Matthew sold out to Rome. As a Zealot, Simon was bent on overthrowing Rome. These were two very different “positions” brought together by Jesus. 

Take note, they were brought together by Jesus. No doubt, it took them awhile to learn how to “posture” themselves towards each other as followers of Jesus. 

So it is with the church. 

It is inevitable that we will hold different positions on various issues. But we have been brought together by Jesus. Therefore, our humble posture towards each other is how we show the love of Jesus, and it is a testimony to the world that Jesus is indeed the Son of God.

Our posture towards the one who differs from us is just as important, if not more important, than the position we take.

How is your posture?