Opinion: Building the body of Christ

One thing of many I have learned during my time here at Calvin College is that in order for a muscle to grow, it tears and rebuilds itself stronger than before. Believe it or not, this seems to fit well with community development. Not that communities literally need to tear each other apart, but in order to grow, sometimes they need to break apart and expand.

Recently and not for the first time, an opinion contradictory to the CRC beliefs has stirred up some commotion. It is not the opinion but the reactions of the broader community that I am curious about.

As Christians, especially as Christians at Calvin College, we are called to be a part of a community that is intentional, engaged and caring, among other virtues. In a recent discussion with fellow student Jalen Bouma, we shared the belief that some people were missing an opportunity to have a conversation about these virtues.

He believes that learning occurs when you see things through a different lens. “People ought to try to get out of their comfort zone. It can be as simple as reading an article containing views from an opposing political party.”

This is where the problem lies. Many times, there is a common problem but people see different solutions. Some solutions might be reasonable while others may not. The overarching question is how should the body of Christ go about engaging these situations?

Pastor Mary is a great example of a leader who approaches challenging situations with grace and understanding. Every LOFT sermon is prepared with great attention to detail and involves dealing with issues in many facets of life. In her opinion we should engage in conversation that demonstrates wisdom and builds community.

Pastor Mary also said that community conversations should be about listening. “If my goal in a conversation is to understand you more, I’m going to have a good conversation. If my goal is to convince you of everything I believe, I’m not going to have a good conversation. In order to have a good conversation, you have to have a posture of listening. This person can teach me something; how do I pay attention?”

In the end, the goal is not to be the one with the most wisdom or the one with the most right answers. The mission of the body of Christ is to love and serve the world. Let us build the community together by breaking down ideas and expanding them.

This is an opinion piece and does not necessarily represent the views of Calvin Chimes or Calvin College.