By Andy Hale
I’ll be the first to admit that I was a bit skeptical when the publishers at Baker Books sent me an advanced reader copy of Kyle Idleman’s Don’t Give Up.
This is due to two major factors: 1) I am a cynic that tends to smirk judgmentally towards all cliché Christianese sayings; and 2) I have an inherent distrust with mega-church pastors. For both of these reasons, you can call me shallow or hypercritical. However, you would have to get in a long line of accusers, with me firmly planted at the front of the line.
This anecdote is setting us up for a big surprise. I was pleasantly and transformatively surprised by my reading of and conversation with the soon-to-be senior pastor of the fifth largest church in America. This encouraging and stimulating work challenges readers to not just look to their personal journey with Jesus during challenging chapters of life’s journey, but to the church for sojourners.
In a divided and polarizing religious landscape, we have become to accustomed to throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Our disdain for other’s contrary theological views have drawn a major line in the sand of who we will listen to and heed no words. Yes, I will throw in another cliché metaphor if it helps prove my point.
We have become too cynical—too jaded to everything that is not our brand of a worldview.
Yet as the great Oscar Wilde wrote in For Love Of The King, “A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything, and the value of nothing.”
What kind of impact would the loosening of our cynicism have on the Kingdom?
What would it look like for us to broaden our capacity to listen, process and gain from the wisdom of those we do not see eye-to-eye with?
What would happen if we intentionally invested time and openness with people that are on the other side of the theological battlefield?
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CBF’s podcast shares stories from across the Fellowship and innovative practices of those working to renew God’s world. The vision is to share ideas, stories, and innovations from ministers, authors, and practitioners.
Andy Hale created and hosts the podcast of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Hale is the senior pastor of University Baptist Church of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, following eight years as the founding pastor of Mosaic Church of Clayton and five years as CBF’s church start specialist. Follow on Twitter @haleandy