Happy Anniversary: A reflection of 2 years of Agreeing or Disagreeing
I didn't know what I was doing.
I think it was a Friday. I was walking to the mall near my work for lunch. At the time, it was my Friday tradition. I went to this place and ordered my lunch. She was a very friendly lady who knows what I want. I place my order, which follows with a payment. I'm fairly regular at this place and paid numerous times. But this time after I hit the Ok button on the debit machine, there was the next question.
Add Tip? This is fast food. "What tip is worthy of this project?" I ask myself. It's not like they are bringing this to the table. I will be carrying this to the table. Why should I give a tip? Does everyone get a tip?
I decided to take this to Facebook. Because Facebook has answers. Facebook is like Google, but different. This is what I ask:
‘Agree or Disagree: You should give a tip for service’.
There was a bunch of comments. I was really surprised.
This is fun, I thought. Let’s try this again. I can't remember the second topic, but I know I started it with an Agree or Disagree.
A bunch more comments.
I started doing this every day. People kept commenting. People from different perspectives were talking to people they normally would not talk to. Usually, we are in our own bubbles with like-minded people. This was different. Christians from more of a conservative mindset, discussed with Liberals. And then others who would subscribe to something different or quite frankly didn't care, chimed in. Often there were has been debates, discussions. But people started talking.
And still are.
That was two years ago. The truth is, I don't have the exact date of when Agree or Disagree started, but in that time, there has been much that I have learned and observed from this process. I'd like to take the time to share about what I have observed.
For those who don't know, I live in a city called Calgary. You probably are familiar with the Calgary Stampede. We have about a million people. It would be accurate to call this city a conservative city. Yes, there is money here. Generally, people are doing well. There aren’t a lot of waves to rock here. It's comfortable. In my time specifically being involved in the Christian Community, I would generally say the Christianity mirrors the feeling of the city. Comfortable. However, I always think it's good to look under the surface. There is what you see, and what you might miss if you look too quickly.
One of the first things I noticed is that I think that there are some real presumptions that many Christians have made about the "world" or the "secular". The presumption at times is the "Non-Christians" have low morals or low values. Some Christians have went so far as to call them God-hating. I think from what I can see, these are dangerous presumptions. Having a faith or subscribing to a religion or not does not automatically assumes morals and values. It's very clear that this is not the case.
At the same time, I think the same can be said by those who do not subscribe to a faith that those who do have not thought that their faith, values, and convictions through. You may not fully agree with some of the thoughts, but I think that generally there has been much thought and pondering on what they think. I can say that from the perspective, not just from the Christians, you read comments from. I have had a number of years of being involved with the church in Calgary, and I do think many have thought deeply about their view.
My experience with the church, particularly in Calgary, but in other places as well, leads to some comments I would like to make to Christians. I must admit part of this comes from a question that I was asked about my spiritual questions I have asked over time.
There is a real sense in Calgary that many Christians have readily accepted the teachings of the pulpit speaker without challenging or questioning. We have places that are very "hyped" with their worship. At times, it comes across like a cheerleading group that encourages people to be more happy than real. And what has followed is this has led to some accepting Bible messages or theories that are based on what everyone thinks. I have a practical example to share.
There was a service I was at a number of months ago where it appeared that they were trying to grow limbs. How the speaker explained it was that most people had one part of their body shorter than the other.
After a long few minutes of his talk, he called people up to have this happen. Now maybe it's my stand back nature, but this did not seem right to me. It was quite unsettling. Yet, they came up. Now I'm sure that someone felt that they had a miracle that night. I wouldn't take that away. But in the back of my mind, I wondered how many people went up, because they wanted to be a part of the group. Or feel holy.
Yet, in the same breath, are the understated and the undercurrent of the church in Calgary. That is there has been some that have been deeply hurt by the church. And perhaps some have been hurt by people in a position of authority in the Church. When I say authority, I think of pastors, or spiritual leaders that some have felt they’ve taken advantage of their position. It has resulted in some deep hurt,resentment, and questions. It feels like people know, but are afraid to say it. They have sat in the pew, or have heard a message. Something tells them it isn't right. But there was a fear to challenge. But you can feel the move of change where that fear of feeling "right" is moving to question whether it is.
And this has moved the conversation to a place where people can be open. Find people who think the same way as they do.
And I'm sensing it's not only happening with the post, but it seems to be going forward. I'm hoping people are actually sitting down and talking with their friends and family. Maybe you won't comment on this, but you will talk with them about what you think of this.
I would like to just end this by saying Thank you. Whether you only read this once and said this wasn't your cup of coffee. Or you pop in every once in a while. Or you are eagerly awaiting whatever I'm going to post. I want to say thank you for the time you have taken to read. It truly is humbling and surprising in many ways, that people read this.