Don was a good-ole-boy, had taken early retirement from the mill, and a deacon in the church I served as pastor. I was a young man ready to share opinions about everything. He and I disagreed on the matter of labor unions. To me it was but a subject of energetic conversation and the exploring of ideas. But apparently to him it was a test of relationship. And from that point on, his attitude was different toward me. He was combative with church matters and his wife became unkind. My service suffered because he readily shared his dislike with the rest of the congregation. Interestingly, the faults he stated about me had nothing to do with labor unions. But, then again, they did! Now a proper logic can be presented that someone who would break fellowship with you over a matter of political difference is not much of a friend to start with. And I agree. If you really want to be my friend, then you are going to have to allow me to be my true self, which includes some opinions different from yours. But Don and I were not close friends. We went to church together, but we hardly knew each other. Now given time, we could have forged a bond of true friendship through all the things that happen in a church family- time together, prayer, ministry, help, etc. But because of labor unions, it did not happen.
I’ve grown up, somewhat, since then. If I am your pastor, I will work hard to keep our relationship open so we can work together for the Kingdom of God and you will be open to me when I am needed for ministry. Hopefully I can get to know you and discover you are mature enough that we can differ on non-essential matters and still enjoy each other? But if not, or if I just do not know you well enough, then probably I will simply stay quiet.
Now some things are worth speaking up about. They are just too important to the church, and the Kingdom of God. Besides, a man with no opinions is weak, or trying to be a politician! I have well thought-out and prayed-over opinions about the many social and religious issues of our day. And I hope you do, too.
Here are some:
Abortion - I’m against it
Those struggling with it - Love ‘em
Homosexuality - Unnatural
Gays - Love ‘em
Bioethics - Science is going too far, too fast
Illegal Entry to US - I’m against it
Those already here - mercy, love ‘em
The Poor - Love ‘em, help ‘em
Education - For it, but the system is a mess
And we can go on and on! There is a spiritual element to every one of these matters. And smart and thoughtful people can, and do, see things differently.
One more thing: I try not to preach this stuff. Opinions come out, sometimes. But I try to focus like a laser on the Bible and Jesus Christ. To motivate a person to love and serve Jesus is infinitely more important than to debate his politics. I’ve yet to argue a single person into the Kingdom of God.
So, what is my opinion about labor unions? I’ll just keep that to myself!