I just got home from attending a Women's Conference at a local church.
The church's sign does not mention the denomination I serve.
I did not hear any speakers that would be familiar with John Wesley's Aldersgate experience.
In other words, the conference was not United Methodist. However this is the fifth year in a row I have attended and there were a half a dozen women from our congregation setting with me. And I am registered to go next year...along with many of those same women.
My main purpose or at least the one I give to rationalize my attendance is to "steal" ideas for our women's event in January. We have molded our event after their conference in many ways, while keeping our own flavor.
I know from good authority that this is one reason they have the event. So, the reason is all and good. Yet, at the same time we gained good ideas for "Simple Life 2013", I was fed spiritually.
Shhhh, don't tell anyone that I could actually be fed at THAT church and still be in love with an open communion table.
I heard the word of God spoken through the power of the Holy Spirit. I raised my voice and heard God through the music.
They do ministry well and the speakers spoke of God's love.
Did I agree theologically or doctrinally with everything spoken in those walls during the 48 hours of the event? No. And that is my point.
I went to a UM event a couple weeks ago and heard a pastor complaining because the speaker "probably" had a differing opinion about something than they did. They could not believe that the coordinators and leaders would bring in THAT KIND of speaker.
I had to leave the table before my mouth opened and something fell out.
Come on, people.
If we only drink from the well that we built are we really drinking the living water?
If you only read books that confirm what you already believe, why read the book?
If you only listen to speakers that have the same theological or doctrinal understanding as you, are you not limiting what God may have in store for you to hear?
I grow and learn because the Holy Spirit is moving, not because the church's, the speaker's or the author's articles of faith match my articles of faith.
Don't get me wrong, I cringe a little when something is said that may go against what I believe...and then I move on and usually am encouraged by the very next statement.
The reality is I am confident enough in how God is moving in me to not fear someone's differing view getting in the way of the Spirit moving overall.
Yes, I have been known to actually start to re-think my own views when I hear a differing view. God has been a part of all the processing. At this point in my life, I have never been brainwashed to believe something against my will (or God's will).
I think it is healthy for people to drink from other wells and I want to be the first in line.
No one has a exclusive market on God's annointed word.
When was the last time you allowed God to use something outside your doctrinal comfort zone by drinking from a different well?
Don't make me start quoting Scripture of God using wells in the OT to push people out of their comfort zones.
God annoints who God annoints and guess what? The person God is using may not have the exact beliefs as you do.
Get over yourself and listen.