So, Who’s Right?

I found myself in an interesting and frustrating conversation last night. I was meeting with a group of friends and had reserved a room via the internet at a particular location. Another friend who works at that location was there and insisted the room I booked had not been booked. He said he saw the webpage of bookings and we weren’t on it. I was frustrated because I’d just checked that same day and had seen that booking and others that I’ve made for other dates. I was uncertain because it’s a fairly sad little engine that is used by the website to book the rooms.

Coming away from that experience though I wasn’t thinking about the webpage or the booking process or the room, I was thinking about who was right.

And here’s the thing, my friend who works there is absolutely confident that he was right. He had seen it with his own eyes. At the same time, I was sure I was right because I’d seen it with my own eyes too. If he’s blogging today, he’s writing about that exchange with complete confidence that I was making my booking up, after all, he knows I didn’t book the room, he saw the page himself earlier that day.

It reminds me of a few weeks ago when my daughter was possibly not going to get exempted from her final exams because she had an assignment that hadn’t been ‘turned in’ via data transfer over an intranet system at her school. She swore she’d turned it in, she promised, she was prepared to make whatever promise necessary to convince us, and her teacher, that she turned in her work. However, her teacher told her that it wasn’t in the folder it was supposed to be in. They were both adamant in their version.

When I first became a Christian I was taught that, when it comes to the Bible, there is a right understanding and wrong understandings. A book we read for one class explained why people don’t all see the Bible alike (like US, it meant). The reasons were basically: sin or stupid. Truthfully, I still have friends in ministry who see it this way. Everything is black and white with the Bible for some, simple to understand, simple to know how to apply it to life.

Reading, continuing to learn and to ask questions since I graduated from my “education”, talking with others and developing relationships with people who clearly love Jesus but still come to different conclusions than I do about the text, force me to reconsider what I believe about simple. For me this means approaching the search for and discussion about ‘truth’ with grace and humility.

Because of all this I’ve got friends who think of me now as a “liberal” when it comes to my theology and my view of the Bible. Oddly, from my perspective, I believe I’ve taken a more biblical approach to Scripture than they have and hence, become more conservative. Things that were so obvious to me when I walked down the aisle at my graduation from Bible College have become mystery and many mysteries of that day have become my personal experience with God.

When I got home last night the first thing I did was get on the computer and check that booking reservation for the room we used.


About brianmpei

Stumbling towards what comes next.
This entry was posted in Bible, bible college, Christianity, Church, denial, faith, Meaning, ministry, perception, reality, theology, truth. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to So, Who’s Right?

  1. Lisa says:

    LOL. … and were you right?

  2. Yves says:

    I feel as though I am being held in a realm of pure suspense…

    Great article Brian.

  3. Well. Uh, nobody else showed up in the room – right? er, correct?
    So everything worked out all right – er – okay – in the end, …. (grin)

    That whole concept of “right” comes from the hand of blessing and cursing. The right hand was the hand of favor, the left was one of “less favor” – as in the blessing of Joseph’s boys by Jacob (in Genesis). So it is a constant struggle to be the favorite. Right back to sibling rivalry… which goes on a lot in the church, but that’s another bunny trail.

    Funny how that desire to be right carries into the most mundane of things as well as the life-altering things! A lot of folks in the denomination I grew up in, still sit around on their blessed assurances being “right” (and sometimes I’m one of them…) while outside the doors, folks who are hurting dare not approach because they wouldn’t be accepted.

    What kind of “right” is that?

  4. Michelle says:

    You know, I’ve never considered you a liberal Christian but I can see why others do. And I’d guess that CCC attracts a larger percentage of liberals than most churches in town. I suppose it’s because you aren’t jamming your version of “right” down everybody else’s throat. You let people be where they are at with God, the Bible, etc. and just focus on the relationship, the experience and the principles. Pretty good things to focus on if you ask me.

    I’m so liberal I’m barely a Christian. I tried my darndest not to be a Christian but Jesus had other plans for me. I love the Bible but not in the same way most Christians do. I find just about any agenda can be supported in it’s complex text. And yet, the hunt for the “right” interpretation (that which supports my personal beliefs and experience) continues for me as well. Ultimately, it seems we usually find what we are looking for. And two people can have different perspective and both be right. I suppose that makes me a relativist.

    And, for the record, I think you were right -that you did have the room booked, because if not, then you would be humble enough to admit your wrong and we’d be reading a different post… Or, maybe that’s what you want us to think in which case you didn’t have the room booked… Inconceivable!

    • brianmpei says:

      “barely a Christian”…well, by some standard I suppose, and that’s how I feel when I read some stuff and engage in some conversations with other believers.

      I think both people being right is just part of the human experience and if we were more influenced by Hebrew thought than be Greek thought we wouldn’t even worry about it.

      As to your last paragraph: we’ll have to change your nickname from C.S. to Sherlock!

      • Michelle says:

        Just to clarify, just because I don’t consider you liberal doesn’t mean I consider you conservative. I think you are in No man’s land! (Wiki says, “no man’s land is land that is unoccupied or is under dispute between parties that leave it unoccupied due to fear or uncertainty”)

  5. Nathan says:

    As a constant student of the word, this subject intrigues me. Biblical interpretation is a contentious but important discipline. Despite the contention, it still deserves good discussion.

    Exegesis and hermeneutics aren’t exact sciences. And top that off with the fact that on a number of topics, we’re pretty shy on data / evidence and have to construct a ‘most probable’ case.

    A solid method is more likely to render a better result than a poor one. But of course, without the guidance of the Holy Spirit illuminating the text, we’re likely to miss it.

    The best anyone can do is put forth their case with their methodology and evidence. Stealing great ideas from others (err… research) never hurts too.

    In the end, however, I suspect the main things that Jesus will be looking for will be faith and faithfulness as evidenced by a life lived in accordance with the will of the Father. I doubt he’ll question me on my views on baptism or the eucharist.

    But I could be a heretic and wrong about that too.

  6. I have always thought of you as a heretic, so no surprise there. From one heretic to another… love you

  7. Rein Vented says:

    Great thoughts bro, you and I shared a conservative christian view once upon a time. I think many people would fall off their chair and chip a tooth if they knew what I think scripture teaches as compared to some years ago.

    Like when I said to friend a few years back that I wouldn’t have difficulty breaking bread with a catholic believer, or that Peter really isn’t talking of a physical earth in his epistle…

    Oops, i forgot to Capitalize Christian, and Scripture in the above text…

  8. Cheryl says:

    Great post. LOL.. I want to read the other guy’s blog now!

    When I first went to your church I definitely would have pigeon-holed you as liberal, if only because you didn’t stone me. (I watch too many movies.) I found your style much more welcoming than what I’d been used to and I think I associated that with liberal views. But – surprise! – it had nothing to do with you and everything to do with me. Something new. 🙂

    Who’s right? What a great question. You know, that’s likely what keeps me leery of church yet continues to bring me back. What are is my motivation for being here? What do I believe? What don’t I believe? What’s right? Wait, if I accept the type of God they’re all talking about, then I’d be dismissing my old one.. and what if the old one is the right one? Who or what is right?

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