By Kathy Ross
If you missed Connection Point, you missed a great opportunity to hear from myriad RTB staff members, including visiting scholar Ken Keathley. My comments included personal reflections on the founding of RTB and on the gift that you, our RTB chapters, represent to us. But, I’d like to highlight something both Bryan and I touched upon that day: the value of discussion.
Even in the past few days, I’ve experienced again how talking about a spiritually significant topic with a fellow believer helps prepare me to recognize and seize an opportunity to discuss it with others. Although I’ve read about, understood, and embraced a certain truth, I can’t always articulate it coherently the first time it comes up in conversation.
One dramatic example (for me) of discussion’s value came from my conversation with Ken Samples about pluralism. As we talked, he helped me grasp the difference between sociocultural and philosophical pluralism. The next day, when I went to the gym, I stumbled into a conversation with one of the trainers that drew a small group around us. These young guys asserted that all faiths are essentially the same, and it doesn’t really matter which one you choose to believe in. I said, “You guys don’t really believe that, and I know you don’t.”
They seemed as much startled by my words as I did, but I had their attention, and God prompted me to keep going. I asked, “If I came into the gym to work on leg strength, I couldn’t choose whichever piece of equipment I happen to like best. I’d have to choose the equipment and exercises that focus on building leg muscles. If I picked up weights and started doing curls, you’d quickly and kindly redirect me, wouldn’t you?” They all nodded. This allowed me to affirm that although we are—and want to be—accepting of all people and cultures (a good kind of pluralist), we really are not pluralists when it comes to truth and facts. So, it’s important to pursue what’s true, not just what we prefer to believe.
As the group dispersed, one young man hung back to say, “I think I need to get back to reading the Bible.” I nodded and smiled and walked away thanking God for preparing me, through my discussion with Ken Samples, to jump into this opportunity. I know that advance conversation played a crucial role. And I’m guessing you can think of similar scenarios. So, I want to thank all of you for considering carefully how to keep—or raise—the emphasis on discussion, even role-playing, in your chapter gatherings.