What God says we will accomplish by meeting His way
From SaveTheWorld - a project of The Partnership Machine, Inc. (Sponsor: Family Music Center)
but in the multitude of counsellors they are established (plans succeed).
First Monday of the Month <> Office: Family Music Center, 4110 SW 9th St - meeting locations varyPlease RSVP to Dave Leach, 515-244-3711, firstname.lastname@example.org
Neither American society, nor America’s churches, offer a forum where ordinary people like us can reason with each other about difficult, divisive issues. Like one brought up in our Iowa Caucus discussion Feb 3: how do we protect everyone’s right to Freedom of Religion, when some religions believe in destroying others? (Not that there are no answers, but answers that make sense are not widely understood or agreed upon.)
Because there is no such forum for most Americans, it is difficult to develop consensus about what we can do together to fix things. For example, even people who agree abortion is murder and must be outlawed, struggle to agree on what legislation to support that might accomplish that.
Churches generally discourage political discussion because it is “controversial”, while outside church, Americans have little faith that there is enough love available for people to reason with each other productively even when they disagree. So both inside and outside church, the extensive discussions necessary to strategize and develop consensus about effective group action have little support. There is no forum open to the public and ongoing, where new ideas, and differences of opinion about the most effective action, can be studied, discussed, and implemented if they pass scrutiny.
I doubt if I am the only American frustrated that solutions I see receive no hearing. I suspect there are many with much wisdom to contribute, but with little opportunity to present them where they will be scrutinized seriously. I suspect this is why so many Americans just shut down politically, becoming politically paralyzed with cynicism.
I believe an ongoing forum that is (1) open to all, (2) ongoing, (3) respectful, and (4) focused on things we can document and do something about, can make a difference way out of proportion to small numbers. I believe a forum, done right, without requiring any commitment from anyone to take any particular action, will spontaneously inspire individuals to voluntarily take action, as promising strategies naturally materialize.
I believe the essence of our meetings should be the essence of America: they should be governed by rules chosen by the group, that protect freedom of speech, of religion, and an equal voice for all. I believe all participants should be free to justify their positions and conclusions by citing the highest authorities they know, whether that is scientific research, the Bible, or both. Agreement with anything or anyone should not be a condition of participation, but honesty, fairness, willingness to reason, and willingness to acknowledge evidence that can't be refuted can be.
But what I believe is not what should bind any group, but rather what the group chooses.
Practical Steps to Accomplishing Good
Such a group could:
- invite campaign workers, who can explain the mechanics of winning elections, the apathy that drives activists to certain strategies, the intolerance for disagreement that requires careful targeting. Further understanding would come from actually volunteering, door to door, phones, etc.
- Invite single issue activists, let them explain the issue, public receptivity to it, what it will take to prevail.
- By studying an issue ourselves before the activist returns, if we have a particular point we would like him or her to understand or study, our consensus on the point which he may never have considered will pressure him to familiarize himself with it.
- Candidates will come to a small group. After the election, elected officials may not come to a group much smaller than 30, but before elections they will gladly meet with half a dozen. When candidates see support, they think differently. They feel less pressure to compromise with ignorance, if they find allies to put out truth.
- If we find a candidate who excites us, a small group willing to work can put even a poorly funded candidate over the top. At any rate working together we can acquire much experience with strategies, much experience with people. Much understanding of the obstacles ahead, spiritual and practical.
- When we find information we feel would contribute to others, we can post informational videos.
- We can forge ourselves into a think tank, we can practice reasoning with each other where we disagree, in order to develop our relationship skills for reasoning with others respectfully, whether our spouses, our children, our employers, our government, or unbelievers who need the Gospel. We can develop the patience with disagreement, the patient willingness to not give up or make excuses for quitting. We can prove it is possible, productive, and fills our lives with purpose.
- We can forge the kinds of friendships that only the fire of serving others together can purify. We can have Fellowship.
Invitation for Christians wanting Biblical validation of our purpose and formats
Jesus calls us to “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Mark 16:15. Please join us, and help us bring the Gospel to a nearby, critical, yet overlooked part of our world: those public forums in which voters decide whether to pattern our laws after the principles of Heaven or of Hell. Churches generally call this “getting involved in politics”, which they consider a bad thing; while Christian activists think it imprudent to shine the Light in those forums of what God actually says about voter-enabled abominations.
Although it is a common Christian experience to feel like we are alone against Hell, (1 Kings 19:10, 14, 18), God designed us to “move mountains” (Matthew 21:21-22) together. With your help, that is. The primary need is not your money, (James 2:5-7), but your advice, God says in Proverbs 15:22. God’s name for His support system for success is a “multitude of counsellors”. In other words, a “Saltshaker Forum”, or a “Holy Ghost Think Tank”, or a “Partnership Machine”, where Christians can strategize how to get their Light outside their Matthew 5:13-16 “bushel”, which requires reasoning together respectfully in love to resolve any disagreements that block their cooperation.
God likes to answer group prayers, of people studying, reasoning, praying, sacrificing out of love, and working together. His promises to answer prayer are made especially to groups. Especially groups which process the wisdom of “all”, 1 Corinthians 14:1, 5, 12, 24, 26, 31, 39, and which do not impose a narrow slot through which wisdom must squeeze, 1 Corinthians 14:3, 26.
Groups don’t have to be large to pull down “mountains”. They can be very effective if they have at least two, Matthew 18:18-20.
Let us, together, aim to become that kind of Biblical forum, discussing which mountains of evil we are going to pull down together, strategizing how to do it, and then doing it.
Is it possible for Christians to reason together respectfully, in love, even about important matters about which we don’t all already agree, about every detail? God says it is. God's Book is full of relationship rules designed to reach precisely that need.
Secular meetings are kept orderly and democratic by Robert's Rules of Order. Discussion rules based on the Bible should be able to keep Christian interaction not just orderly, but respectful and bathed in love and humility, helping Christians develop their love. God’s Guidelines for relationships are so universal that they are helpful for human interactions in groups of any size, from thousands to two. God’s rules are worth discussing and understanding, because they contain wisdom and love capable of not only saving the world, but saving our nation, our churches, our friendships, and our marriages.
A search for Bible Rules for Relationships that is pretty rough, but an honest start, is posted at Bible Rules for Relationships. It needs your input to become useful.
For lots of Bible study about principles guiding Christian meetings, see Bible Rules for Relationships.