General Posts

Does Stage 4 Faith have a ‘Hill to Die On’

Originally I wrote this as a possible guest-submission to Dave Schmelzer’s Blog, but silly-me, I had forgotten that a similar topic had been covered in a couple previous posts around September-October time-frame. So, in the future, Lauren may submit something as a guest-blog over there that extends upon this idea and proposes some other questions that are related. This had accidentally appeared once on LJ while still in draft status, due to a mistake in how I handled the cross-posting plugin, so I’m deleting a few old comments (sorry Rob and Bob), and opening this up for new comments because after editing the post took a different tone than originally was planned.

Please share your thoughts, I’d love to hear what some of my friends who don’t frequent Dave’s blog think about this topic.

Every year for my wife’s birthday she has a movie marathon and shows 6 of her favorite movies throughout the day. A perennial favorite has been Iron Jawed Angels, a movie about Alice Paul fighting for women’s suffrage.

Hilary Swank depicts Alice Paul in the movie and she has a quote that got the gears in my head spinning a little.

“When you’re alone, you can make any choice you want. But when someone loves you, you lose that right. I won’t give anything away ’til we have it all. I can’t.”

What strikes me is that women’s suffrage was Alice Paul’s hill to die. In other words, everything and everyone else is less important than her issue. She would fight giving whatever it took until she saw it through or died.

Now I can think of more than a few worthy causes, but I’m most interested in what causes I should and should not stand up for in light of what I call the ‘Ethanol effect’.

This is something I started thinking more about last year I was reading my regular news outlets and I saw this quote from the UN’s independent expert on the right to food:

“It’s a crime against humanity to convert agricultural productive soil into soil … which will be burned into biofuel,”

I found the quote a little jarring. I grew up in a rural town in IL where most of my friends were farmers’ kids, so we had always thought that ethanol was a win-win for our community. But I had missed the long-term effects, the ones that touched the global community outside of my small town.

Today some would suggest the topics of abortion and gay marriage have been hills to die on for Christians, and perhaps in some ways still are.

But like ethanol I can’t help but wonder if we somehow missed the mark and unintentionally said that these issues were more important than relationships with the people who disagree on the topic.

Some might suggest that Christians’ new hills should be the sex-slave trade, extreme poverty, racial inequality, genocide, environmental stewardship, or something else that sounds just as good.

But, again, I become concerned about which relationships will be damaged by these cause. And that leads me to ask if there are any ‘hill to die on’ issues for people exploring stage 4 faith. Can a person focusing on relational faith seriously pick a hill to die on at all? What are some of your personal end-all and be-all issues? What are some of the concerns you have about the future of those issues? Who might you alienate by taking those stands?