I got into Portland last night, just a few minutes before midnight. It was a long, turbulent flight, and my rowmate was a Christian pastor who believes that the Bible is the infallible word of God. That’s not the perspective I espouse and so we spent more than two hours telling each other what we believed. He did more of the talking, but I give him much credit for listening to me and not dismissing me.
Heading into the conversation, my heart pounded and I felt a rush of fear and adrenaline, fueled by worry that I wouldn’t be able to hold my own and would be flattened by the power of his righteous conviction. It’s not that I doubt my own belief system, but I don’t have a text of ‘evidence’ backing me up like he has with the Bible. But as we talked, I tried to keep my thoughts buoyed by love, which made a significant difference in the peacefulness and grace of our words. It was the most interesting and successful exchange I’ve ever had with someone about faith and theology when our positions were so drastically divergent.