At Tree of Life in Conroe and a few other places we are gathering to talk about how we talk to one another. The church is a community of moral deliberation. We cannot skirt important issues. We must engage them, with grace, honesty and kindness.

People of good will disagree about stuff. Such disagreements can lead to conflict or even contempt. In an imperfect world and an imperfect church, how can we talk to one another in ways that lead to reconciliation, a ministry to which the church is called.

All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation…

2 Corinthians 5:18

Some things to read in preparation:

Why Is It So Important to Be Right? By psychotherapist and marriage counselor Mel Schwartz in Psychology Today:

Our Culture of Contempt, New York Times article by public policy scholar and American Enterprise Institute president David C. Brooks:

1. March 13, 2018: Respectful Dialog
2. March 20, 2018: Common Ground
3. March 27, 2018: Racism
4. April 3, 2018: Immigration
5. April 10, 2018: Pulling It Together

In essentials, unity.

In non-essentials, liberty.

In all things, love.

Rupertus Meldenius

Some additional Scriptures

For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. (Ephesians 2:14)

You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; for your anger does not produce God’s righteousness. Therefore rid yourselves of all sordidness and rank growth of wickedness, and welcome with meekness the implanted word that has the power to save your souls. (James 1:19-21)

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. (Philippians 2:3-4)

Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:31-32)

Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. (Romans 12:16-18)

How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire. The tongue is placed among our members as a world of iniquity; it stains the whole body, sets on fire the cycle of nature, and is itself set on fire by hell. For every species of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by the human species, but no one can tame the tongue—a restless evil, full of deadly poison. (James 3:5b-8)

So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation… (2 Corinthians 5:17-18)

In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets. (Matthew 7:12)