Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Posing a question

I have been tossing and turning, flipping and flopping, and trying to see this topic from every angle. I am curious what you think about it.

My question is:

Where is the line between walking on eggshells around a person and being sensitive to another's weaknesses/opinions etc? Is there a line?

This comes from several places. Posing the question to you guys is a result of hearing a friend of mine say that she couldn't take her son to her old church while away on vacation b/c he had a friend with him and she didn't know if his parents would approve their son attending a non-baptist church for one Sunday. She flippantly stated that you don't want to offend anyone in those situations. I can't shake my sense of confusion. What about going to a non-baptist church would be so offensive? Why couldn't you discuss any questions your child might have about it when they got home? I felt bad for my friend because she was being respectful but the result was not attending church b/c someone else might not agree with where they went. She didn't cross the invisible line.

I read in THE GREAT BIG BOOK OF EVERYTHING the other day 1 Corinthians 10:23-33 that talks about this very subject. Here is the Message version of a verse from that section.

1 Corinthians 10:29 "Except for these special cases, I'm not going to walk around on eggshells worrying about what small-minded people might say; I'm going to stride free and easy, knowing what our large minded Master already said."

Ok besides eating food sacrificed to idols, the Bible doesn't reference any other "special cases" before this statement is made. Yet there seems to be an unspoken protocol for when you dance on the remains of a certain chicken hatching cocoon and when it's ok not too.

Any guesses/ pointers/ comments?


bonnie said...

It can be a hard decision. When it comes to children outside your own family, it would be wise to ask the parents of the little friend. Parents have different views of what they want their children exposed to. So don't walk on "eggshells" and even be afraid to ask.........

MOM said...

I come from the school that exposing children to church is always a good thing and inviting questions for discussion helps them to formulate their own beliefs. You want them to make their belief their own and build their own relationship with God so they have to question in order to do that. But, I know that not all parents feel that way and it is probably best to ask beforehand. You have to respect parental policies even if you don't agree with them.........

Orval Osborne said...

Donna is right, I would say. Best to ask the parents in advance. In this age of cell phones, this should be easy. However, as a Unitarian Universalist, I would hope this is a great topic for conversation. If you are friends, then you care about each other. So at the least you should be excited to share about these things, about your values, about your strategies with coping in this world. (I like the term used by Rastafarians: "Babylon" because it expresses the materialism of the mass culture created by corporations for their own ends.)
I think Christians in general have done a good job overlooking the relatively small differences between the 600 denominations, and emphasizing what you all agree on. Of course there are differences. I remember my father's books on these great debates, such as are musical instruments allowed in church, or only singing?
Since I am not offended by much, especially by microscopic doctrinal differences, I am probably not a great help in this area. But it is a great interpsersonal question, about relationships with people you care about.

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