written by Rev Gary Heard
You can often discover important things about people by listening for the topics of conversation which are never raised. We are much more vulnerable to those matters which are off our radar or never considered. They have a more significant impact than we often realise.
Many of us have been in church for much of our lives and are there well-positioned to consider the things which are rarely if ever discussed, rarely addressed in sermons, or bible studies. Think for a moment… what topics readily come to mind?
I can count the number of sermons I have heard about sexuality and spirituality; economics from a biblical perspective; God’s perspective on politics; christians and the environment; faith in the work place; and God’s perspective on money and saving without having to leave my left hand. I wonder if there are others which readily come to mind for you?
The consequence is that we are often left with the impression that God doesn’t care about such matters, and our lifestyle choices in areas such as these are unimportant to the work of the kingdom. A further consequence is that we are left to our own devices, unsure of whether we should ask, and if so whom, when we have questions in such areas. I am sure that the silence in relation to our sexuality has much to do with the levels of abuse which have been uncovered across the global church in recent years.
Ignorance often breeds licence – if we do not know about something, we often act as if we have freedom to do as we please. Ignorance also breeds uncertainty, which contributes to a sense of isolation, particularly when we are concerned about being judged. In areas where a community has failed to provide leadership by engaging in dialogue about key issues related to living out our faith, we have also contributed to our fragmentation as a community.
Nobody expects perfection. Most of us are beyond expecting simple answers to complex problems. Neither do we find straight answers to the complex problems of twenty-first century living. We do, however, yearn for a chance to check ourselves, to learn from one another, and to grow in our understanding of what it means to live life as a follower of Jesus in inner Melbourne.
The thing about these blind spots is that we fail to recognise them until someone speaks up. May God enable the freedom within our community to raise the questions we need to ask amongst one another, and the courage to allow us to explore together.
July 27, 2008