A community church in North Andover, Massachusetts

Deep Dives

Articles by Pastor Jeff Snyder that go into depth on a topic

Crossing Lines – Article 3

This is the final article in the series on bridging the divide with others in this highly polarized society. There is a great deal more in this book than we have covered here, but this should allow us to get started.

There are times when people are tempted to direct God to do our bidding. However, God will not be manipulated and instead calls us to follow where God would lead. We are challenged to set aside our personal wants and desires and instead pick up God’s wants and desires and make them our own. God longs to have people united, not scattered in feuding factions. We often best experience God and God’s influence in community with others.

Crossing Lines – Article 2

Last month we explored how much faith is required to help us reach across the lines we draw to contact other people, especially those who are generally overlooked or viewed with suspicion by society. It is risky business, reaching out like that, especially in a wildly polarized society. Author Matthew Tenant says Peter attempting to walk on water to Jesus is an excellent example of risk taking on our faith journey. Peter did fine until he was distracted by the surrounding storm and took his eyes off Jesus. Today, Mr. Tenant says, opposing viewpoints and angry rhetoric act like the storm, distracting us from reaching out toward others in friendship and faith.

Crossing Lines – Article 1

When I was a young teenager, one of my best friends showed me a little red book from his denomination, a denomination which was different from mine. That book dated back to the 1950s. My friend was gleeful about what this little book told him (although, thankfully, he didn’t believe it). That book said people outside of his particular faith were basically heretics and nobody of his faith should associate with them. While he found that amusing, it stung me. I tried not to let it show, but it was one of my first encounters with being on the “enemies” side of a dividing line thrown up to separating people into different camps, those who were “in” and people who were “out,” friends vs. enemies.