Your speech must always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person. Colossians 4:6 NASB
Hey guys welcome back to the songs of God podcast! This is your host Ree. We're on season 5—whopping #5! I cannot believe it's been 5 years. For those who have been around for the long haul, or even for a half a haul, or just one really messed up season 4… Thank you for being here! I am grateful that you've been listening to me talk all these years, and I hope that you will enjoy this new season. And if you are new, welcome for the first time. I hope that you enjoy the content feel free to leave me a comment on whatever platform you're listening on or to find me over on Instagram psalms_to_god, and I'll be happy to hear from you.
That being said we're going into season 5 and I've been trying to figure out what we're going to talk about. I have been going back and forth, back and forth. I'm still praying about it to be honest. There's a part of me that wants to go super heavy, which means that we would have less episodes because I'd have to study a whole lot more to get the content for the episodes—but there's a part of me that wants to have super detailed, deep episodes on history, archeology, and prophecy, or something.
And there are other parts of me that want to keep it light because it's easier to record, but also there are parts of me that… I don't even know how to phrase this. So for the past year (or maybe more than a year, I don't know) I've been struggling with something. I've been watching tons and tons of other people. I've been struggling to find content that I feel like is feeding the Spirit, and I started to realize that one of the things that was irritating me is that there was so much focus on the granular details.
So for instance, I've been you know studying the debate going on with people about whether or not it's appropriate to use Jesus or not—which is an interesting discussion, particularly since you've got a billion and one pronunciations going around for his actual Hebrew name. You got the people saying Yeshua, the people saying Yahoshua, the people saying Yahushua, there's a whole other group saying Yahawashi… I don’t know where they got that one from, but there's that debate.
And then you have other people—I saw one video they were talking about syncopation being evil, which was interesting because the start of that video came with a disclaimer that the person didn't know anything about music. As somebody who plays three instruments, I know a little bit about music; and syncopation is in almost every genre. So, yeah… That was a very interesting video.
But, nonetheless, a lot of that is popping up there and frankly, I don't think it's horrible to have those discussions. I think they're valid discussions. It's valid to to see something and to explore what's there. That's how we learn; that's how we grow. There were times that I thought something was okay, and then the Holy Spirit convicted me that it was not, and I realized it wasn't okay. And there are times where I thought things were not okay, and the Holy Spirit is convicted me and I found out maybe it just wasn't okay for me.
There's so many things that we’re taught. If you grow up in the church and you grow up in a particular denomination you're taught from the lens of that denomination but other denominations have other views, and you don't really get the full picture until you start studying more broadly—and what I mean by studying more broadly is reading for yourself. But sometimes it does help to have something pointed out to you, and when you find out, “Hey, somebody else believes something completely different concerning this topic!” it makes you want to have a closer relationship with the Father and with the Holy Spirit, so that you can discern the information for yourself.
Quite honestly I think if I were to start talking about some of the more controversial topics, I probably would get more followers and probably hate comments. I probably would get upset really quick because I have a short temper, and that would probably just be bad. So there's a part of me that just stays away from controversial topics for my own…my own safety, right? Not to put a stumbling block in front of myself.
But the other part of me notices that for all of these discussions we're having that are supposed to be helping us rid ourselves of worldly distractions and get rid of worldly traditions or pagan traditions, there is not a whole lot of discussion about:
- how we behave
- how we move in this society
- how we talk to each other
- how we treat each other
There's a lot about whether or not you're celebrating pagan holidays; whether or not you're dressing modestly; whether or not you are drinking alcohol; or not whether you're cursing or not. All of these little things… But how are you treating your neighbor? How do you talk to people? When you and I disagree, how do you handle that disagreement? From what I can see we don't handle it well. Like I'm not about to stand here and try to be a saint and be like, “I always respond to people in love and in grace.” No I’ve said some things to people I had no business saying, but I've been trying not to do that. In fact I read the book Crucial Conversations—a great book. I read it this past year and I think that's been part of this kind of unraveling of what's been bothering me in the Christian content discussion, because these differences that we have in interpreting the Bible, in Doctrine, they are in fact crucial conversations. It's very important that we handle them well, and what's interesting is the way we handle these conversations actually kind of seeps out into how we talk to people, in general.
I've seen people who are said to be Christian be so blunt and so rude to people of a different opinion that I am embarrassed, because I just… Who would want to serve a god that that person represents? Like if your god behaves that way, I want nothing to do with him. Which, of course we know—at least we should know—that we human beings are flawed; no human that you interact with is actually going to accurately portray the love of God. That's unfortunate because we do him a disservice, but at the same time we're supposed to be trying. I don't see a whole lot of people talking about that; instead I see people being arrogant and being condescending. You know, there are people who are so-called-Christians you'll see them commenting, and they'll call other Christians stupid; they will call them all kinds of names… And I'm like…
I mean our faith is a journey. Everyone starts somewhere, and I know it it may not be the best analogy in terms of how it feels—because you could be a grown adult and be a baby Christian and that feels a little unsettling—but the truth is, it's just like growing up as a human being. You have baby Christians, you have children, you have teenagers, you have young adults, and you have full grown adults. We each are in our own season of learning, and when you encounter another believer—even someone who's not a believer yet—then you have a different role.
The Parable of Being a Plant
Going on with the The Parables that Christ set forth: sometimes you're there to plant the seed.
I am actually a farmer so I actually really appreciate the Parables that are given in the New Testament. For those of you who are not Farmers, you may not enjoy this quite as well, but just to try to make it make sense for those of you who never had any experience with farming… It is so rewarding!
So you plant the seed. You put it in the dirt, and every time I have planted things I have worried afterwards. Did I plant it too deep? Did I plant it too shallow? If you plan it too deep it can't get to the sun, right.It's going to start growing, but at a certain point it needs to get the sunlight and it's going to be stifled. It's like buried alive, and it won't break to the surface in time enough to start getting the sunlight and the heat, and all of the things that it needs to thrive. But if you plan it too shallow, a bird might come and take it away or you know just anything could happen.So you have this time where you worry. Then there's also like the question of, did I plan it too early? Did I plant it too late? Right? There's all of this worry about whether or not you planted it at the right time or not.
After you've planted it then you have to water it, and one thing that I think a lot of people don't know is that you can't just pour a stream of water on seeds, because it'll disturb them from this perfect place that you've put it. You have to sprinkle the water on it. Basically you want to mimic how rain comes down. So you have to get the special pitcher with the things that lets you sprinkle the water. You can't just pour water and drown it, right. You have to give it water in moderation, but you have to make sure that you water it enough. There's there's a happy medium in there.
Once you start that, you'll start to see it cultivate. It'll start to break up into the surface; you'll start to see green. Quite frankly, they all look the same. I got so confused last fall, because the the tags that I put down washed away in the rain. Apparently I didn't use waterproof ink, and when everything started popping up it all looked exactly the same. I could not tell the difference: radishes, broccoli, mustards, spinach, kale; it all looked the same. For a while it's really really fragile, and as it grows, it grows a root system. Guys if you knew how roots work! Most of the time the roots are deeper than the plants. I have pulled up plants that are like 3 inches tall that will have like a 4 foot root. It's amazing. That's what helps it to stand up. Things that have a great root system are the things that survive searing heat; those are the plants that survive piercing cold. They're the ones that survive droughts. The stronger the root system, the healthier the plant, but until the until the root is fully formed you have to babysit it. You have to coddle it. You have to be gentle with it.
And once the root system forms, the plant is more self-sufficient. That's the point when it will start to blossom, and when it starts to blossom, the bees will come pollinate it. The butterflies will come pollinate it, and then it will bear fruit and you can start the cycle all over again. That's the beauty of all of the the metaphors and the parables that are given in the New Testament.
It's a wonderful thing to watch. If you've never planted anything, I highly recommend you go out and get some seeds and plant it. Even if you don't want to eat it, even if it's just like a flower, I highly recommend. Go out, get something. If you don't have like a yard space, you know, get something you can plant in a cup or a pot and keep it in your house. Totally worthwhile experience!
Treating People Like Plants
I completely just digressed and in to a wholly different topic, but back to my point: human beings are the plants, and we're each in a different stage. When you interact with someone they may be a seedling. They may be something that just sprouted that needs to be handled with care, that needs sprinkles of water. They're not ready for a down pour. A lot of times we really don't know, particularly if we've just met a person. We don't know their history; we don't know anything about them. To be honest, sometimes we don't know ourselves! There are a lot of people walking around that think that they are fully grown spiritually mature plants bearing good fruit and they are actually seedlings—I have interacted with people like that before.
What happens is people think that they are right or they're so convicted that they start to push on people who are not where they are. They are could be 100% right; they could be 100% wrong, or could be somewhere in between—it's hard to say, right (each situation is different). But they're not there yet! The way that you see people interacting is not gentle; it's not graceful. It's not loving, and that's detrimental. I think that says a whole lot more about us than it does about the person we're talking to.
If I have been convicted of something by the Holy Spirit and my way of sharing that with you is abrasive, then I'm not convicted by the by the Holy Spirit. I know that sounds bad but I don't think that's how the Holy Spirit operates. I think when I'm truly listening to the Holy Spirit, then I can talk to you in grace and the Holy Spirit knows where you are. The Holy Spirit knows if you are a seed, a seedling, an almost full-grown plant, or a full grown plant. The Holy Spirit knows how I should convey this message to you in love and so that you will receive it.
Of course some people are just not going to receive it; let's be honest, some people are just not going to receive it. For some it's not their time, and for some it's never going to be their time. That's just how the cookie crumbles, but we are still responsible for us. We're responsible… I am responsible for not sounding arrogant and presumptuous and rude and whatever negative traits you can think of when I'm trying to express things to you. And I don't think that we as Christians do that well. So what happens is we create a lot of church hurt, a lot of bad experiences; so that even when we are neutral, it comes off rude because people have had so many bad experiences that they just automatically assume it's going to be a bad experience. That's not a good look.
So that's what's been weighing on my heart this past year as I've been trying to figure out what are we going to talk about. There's a whole host of topics and theology and history that I think would be fun to dive in to, but there's also a lot of problems within the church. There's a lot of problems with how we behave as believers and that kind of makes me want to do a like a book club type of a thing with the book Crucial Conversations and talk about these hard conversations.
So we're going to see how the next couple of weeks of preparation go. I'd like to hear from you guys: if you would be interested in talking about how we talk to each other about these different interpretations these different beliefs and how we communicate with non-believers and with believers, or if you guys have topics you'd rather hear or if you want to explore you know a particular topic the way we did for instance the Fruit of the Spirit or the history of the church? I'm all ears I'm going to link a poll in the description box so that you can vote. You can also just comment if that's easier for you, and I'll see you when the podcast officially starts see you guys soon. Bye.
References and Footnotes
- When I say other people, I mean other Christian content creators
- I do want to discuss this but it’s likely to be a blog post and not a podcast episode—I’ll add it to the poll which y’all would prefer
- Midnight Cry Media. “Has Gospel Music Gone Too Far? | Sound Poof - Part 1”. YouTube. September 30, 2022
- Valid discussions in the sense that it is valid to research and discuss these views; not necessarily valid in the sense that I agree with the side mentioned.
- Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, Al Switzler, and Kerry Patterson. Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High. August 2013
- Deeper than the plants are tall, I mean
- They being the person the information is being pushed on
- The Sabbath after I recorded this we my Sabbath school class had a great discussion that summarized the heart of what I was trying to get at in this episode. The host reminded us that sometimes we get so tied in to the mental part, the academics of God that we never transfer it to the heart, which is where it really matters. You can view the Sabbath school class in it’s entirety on Facebook; the part I’m talking about starts about an hour and ten minutes in.
- Poll: https://forms.gle/2HEtvG1vYvnda2Na8