Thursday, March 20, 2008

This week's Sabbath School lesson: sharing the call

[Jesus said to his disciples,] "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age" -- Matthew 28:18-20, NIV.
Most religions are like the Portland Trailblazers: they're a local thing.

That's why you don't see the Hopi going door to door, inviting their Navajo neighbors to forsake the Hero Twins for the worship of Kokopelli. No, this would be like 'Blazer fans proselytizing in Seattle; it goes against the popular assumption that "to each his own" -- and just so long as the Lakers don't make it into the playoffs, then everybody is cool with that.

Likewise, most of your class members have found some way to accommodate the differing beliefs of their friends, neighbors, and co-workers. "It's not what I believe," they'll say in effect, "but it seems to work for them. So . . . it's all good."

And yes, that certainly seems tolerant and open-minded.

The trouble comes when we run into someone whose indigenous beliefs are intolerable -- someone who has been raised to believe there is nothing wrong with slavery. Or child marriage. Or female circumcision.

(And if you don't believe such people exist, then you need to get out more!)

It's these people who test the limits of our tolerance -- and it's these people who lead us to believe there are some things that everyone, everywhere, should believe and practice at all times.

That's what you'll discuss in today's lesson -- the question of when you let it slide, and when you take a stand.

No, just because you're a fan of the 'Blazers, that doesn't mean everybody has to be a fan of the 'Blazers.

But when it comes to rooting for the Lakers . . . then sometimes, you need to draw a line.

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