With just two more weeks, our current series, “Taboo! Uncomfortable Topics in the Church, will be winding down” This Sunday, we will have John Mark Tittsworth bringing our seventh topic: “Let’s Talk About Understanding Yourself.” I know he will bring an insightful and challenging message and will lead us into further conversations on Wednesday night at our Table Conversations in the Conversation Café. The eighth and final topic will be on Sunday, November 22. We will have a panel discussion about why we do not like to talk about divorce and how to navigate those waters.
The Motivation Behind Taboo
Some have questioned the wisdom of addressing the eight uncomfortable topics of our “Taboo” series. One pastor friend described the series as, “courageous.” Another said it was foolish. One friend asked if I have started looking for a new job.
Why do we shy away from difficult subjects? Why do we think certain topics simply should not be discussed?
We avoid difficult subjects out of a fear of offending or being offended.
We should not take offense over the thoughts and perspectives of people with divergent views. We certainly should not break off relationship with anyone simply because he or she sees things differently or draws a different conclusion about a complicated subject.
We avoid difficult subjects because we don’t want our views or opinions (often unexamined) to be challenged.
We relate easiest with people who share our beliefs and convictions. Scripture should always guide our thinking, but equally sincere followers of Christ can arrive at different conclusions on many matters. The thoughts and opinions of others do not threaten our own. To be offended by a divergent view says more about my lack of confidence in my convictions than anything else.
We avoid difficult subjects out of fear of losing friends.
Relationships are strengthened, not damaged, through honest discussion. Conversation builds bridges, not walls. It is only when we dismiss, belittle, or disregard the thoughts and opinions of others that relationships are threatened.
We avoid difficult subjects because we mistakenly think unity and uniformity are synonymous.
Uniformity is not a prerequisite to serving Jesus. I can be united in call and purpose with people even when they hold to different interpretations and conclusions. I experience this reality every day. We serve within community best when we strive to understand and appreciate one another.
Many have expressed appreciation for this “Taboo” series, saying it has helped them experience growth through honest conversation. Different views on important subjects do not need to threaten our own perspective nor do they need to damage our relationships. Through our conversations, we should listen to one another, understand one anther, encourage one anther, and be kind to one another.
Let’s continue to engage in honest, open, and candid conversation over any and every subject that arises within our shared relationships.