Connect with us through your favorite social media avenues


7 x 3 Things to Make Ourselves and Our World Better in 2018 by Jason Edwards

Unity without uniformity. This is one thing I have long cherished about our church. There is a diversity of personal perspective in theology, politics and all manner of other subjects, but there are also numerous friendships that cross these lines of belief. These kinds of relationships don’t seem prevalent in our country and, honestly, they have seemed more difficult to maintain within our own church over the last year. Partisanship has intensified, and people want to huddle in groups where the disparity in belief is small.

We have never needed to learn to like people who are unlike us more than we do right now.

With that in mind, I asked our friend Ed Chasteen to distill some guidance for how we might do a better job learning from people who are unlike us in the coming year. Ed was a professor of sociology at William Jewell College, the founder and longtime leader of Hatebusters, and has been the Second Baptist Church Ambassador to other faith communities since the 80’s. Getting people to learn from and love people who are unlike them is his specialty.

In short, Ed says when we encounter people who are different from us (in perspective, culture, religion, race, etc.), we should first choose to believe these things seven things:

  1. Their ways make as much sense as mine
  2. But for my circumstances, I could be them
  3. “Who’s right?” is the wrong question
  4. I may never agree with them, but I can relate to them
  5. They are as attached to their way as I am to mine
  6. The world would be a poorer place if they did not exist
  7. Only by understanding them do I come to understand myself

Next, we should think about these seven things:

  1. What are the basic differences between us?
  2. How and when did our differences start?
  3. How am I like them?
  4. Are they as uncertain about how to relate to me?
  5. What is really happening in my encounter with them?
  6. How will my children and theirs relate to each other?
  7. What does knowing those who are not like me tell me about myself?

Finally, if we want to go NEXT LEVEL, we should consider doing these seven things to learn from and like people who are REALLY unlike us:

  1. Learn another language
  2. Visit ethnic communities; attend their place of worship
  3. Eat their foods
  4. Study other cultures
  5. Put yourself in uncomfortable situations
  6. Feel good about not trying to change them
  7. Don't pretend to understand

One of the points, of course, is that people who are unlike us are really much more like us than we think.

Just a little food for thought, as you consider how to make yourself and our world better in 2018.

Posted by Jason Edwards at 6:00 AM