A while back, The Christian Leader interviewed me in conjunction with Shane Hipps's visit to Fresno Pacific University. Shane spent a day with us thinking about how we view God. Chief among his examples was the use of glasses as a metaphor for understanding our creator. For those of us who wear glasses, we know that our eyes change over time, and as they do, we need to update our prescription with a new set of lenses. Hipps says that our experience with theology works in the same way: as we grow in our walk with God, we see and understand him in new ways. New experiences lead to new views of God.
In her article "God's Phoropter," Kathy Heinrichs Wiest picks up on this theme and discusses how disagreement actually helps sharpen our image of God. Living with and and talking to those we don't always agree with theologically opens us to learn something about God we didn't previously know. Conversely, only dialoging with those we agree with eliminates the opportunity to learn and reinforces--sometimes blindly--what we already believe.
Wiest's article is a good reminder that we all need a healthy dose of humility and self-reflection.
We... often find it unsettling to listen to viewpoints different than our own—to look through an unfamiliar set of lenses. Hearing a person diverge from what we consider an orthodox way of thinking about faith or Scripture puts us on the defensive, ready to fight for what we know to be right. But is vigorously defending my way of thinking the best approach? Could my unwillingness to listen to someone else mean that I miss the opportunity to see God in a new and wonderful way?
Read the full article here.