So… we sat down with Seventh Day Adventist Pastor Shawn Brace today for an almost three hour interview and It was good stuff. Shawn is confident in his faith AND open to being challenged… I respect that very much. For Shawn to go “on camera” with two individuals who are forming a documentary around questioning the validity of the faith they were raised with is a complete risk, as he is employed by the very church/religion we are questioning. Politics, fear of being misrepresented, misquoted, so on and so forth can very often prevent people from participating in this kind of thing. But…to me his actions speak louder than words that he would drive two hours to meet with us 7:30am. He chose to give of himself and take a risk for our potential benefit, not worrying as much about the potential pitfalls, consequences, perception or fall out from from the organization or nay sayers. His bravery and actions spoke volumes to me about the God he believes in and the personal, relational ministry that he is basing his life around. His actions alone give me confidence in the God he is connected to through his religion.
Our actions…isn’t that what we are supposed to use to share our beliefs and morals with others?
Thank you Shawn Brace
Then later on FB Peter Veitch & David Royer shared their justifiable concern of speaking with “religious” people as they worry that a religious person would approach a conversation without an open mind and only be stuck in their own opinion and hence be a useless conversation. My response to this was: I hear what you are saying and share your concern as to how an individual approaches a conversation as far as their openness to changing their own opinion. What I have come to understand though is that there are varying degrees of “truth”, some are relative and some are universal. With this in mind I have to approach a conversation with the intent of both sharing and listening and not necessarily needing to change the others involved in the conversation. I have to make the decision to not judge the other individuals motives or thought process (although my wife might not believe me on this one as her experience with me might lead her to believe my motives are different than stated here, she deserves a medal of honor 😉 I have to give the person with whom I’m speaking the space and respect to not need to change their opinion. That being said I believe Shawn Brace came to the conversation with an open mind and was open to sharing and listening, and thats all I would ask from anyone in a conversation. What they do with the information and opinion I would share is their own choice. If it were otherwise I might fall into the practice of “evangelizing” people to my opinion. Listen, share, respect and don’t Pre-judge, thats my new approach…at this time…for now.