Some highlights from the article and what we learned:
One of Sarah’s favorite parts: “A person’s sources of authority and the accumulation of lifelong experiences influence how they think about and interact with the world. It’s interesting to consider that if you had the same experiences, you might think the same way.”
Surprisingly, the main source of conflict wasn’t so much creationism vs. evolution, but how much the issue of origins actually matters. “We had a lot of, ‘Why are we even talking about this?’ discussions in the beginning,” Brenda Kronemeijer-Heyink said. “For most people, this isn’t a salvation issue … but that’s a clear point of tension with someone who has spent much of their time studying evolutionary biology, or someone whose belief about how the earth came into being has ostracized them from their church. There are direct implications for how you live on this planet with how you believe God brought the world into being.”
However, that tension led directly to a moment both Brenda and Sarah describe as a highlight. During an exercise where group members were asked to line themselves up on the basis of how much they thought this issue mattered, two people who were at opposite extremes (one strongly for six-day Creation, the other for evolution) found themselves standing in the same spot, united by their belief that this issue mattered a lot.
“Seeing that was really powerful,” Sarah said. “We saw them look at each other and realize, ‘Even though we disagree, we both feel so strongly about this.’ Without that, I think they would have been so exasperated that they could hardly have understood each other.”
Sarah and I were not the only ones who recognized that last moment as being unique. Too often in the church we divide because of where people stand on an issue, instead of recognizing that sometimes how much we care about an issue is what has the power to bring us together as brothers and sisters in Christ.