I am probably the last person you would ask for relationship advice, but let me try:
Always understand the other person’s religion.
Religion, or the god that someone trusts could be money, personal success and fame, or power over other people. It is also possible to worship God.
But, beyond a formal religion, what is the greatest success that anyone could achieve? What kind of thinking dominates a person’s life?
What is your great success goal? What road is your life on? Are you obsessed with anything?
That is religion, or faith; the great hope.
The world is a very religious place; more than we know.
For example, there is now a run on orange hockey jerseys with a number nine on them. They represent Ivan Provorov, a Russian player with the Philadelphia Fliers.
The team had a special event when they celebrated “LGBTQ+ Pride Night” before a recent game. For the pre-game warm-up, players wore colorful jerseys and other equipment to show their support.
Ivan Provorov did not wear the colorful equipment and did not participate in the warm-up. He claimed that he was staying true to his Russian Orthodox religion.
“My choice is to stay true to myself and my religion,” he told reporters after the game.
So, what’s with those religious people? Are they intolerant?
It is easy to miss that this is a religious argument, on both sides.
We have used names like “Gay” to describe this group, but now the trend is to use a cover term like “”LGBTQ+.” The people who use that description are defining a movement, with a belief system.
Every religion has a theology, including a lost condition before joining, how to join or convert, and some paradise that membership in the movement will bring us to.
We have a Russian hockey player who stayed true to his faith and did not participate in a different movement with a different belief system. It was a clash of titans, more than a personal argument.
In our modern culture, we have many ideas that grow into movements, which can potentially dominate our society. The list could include Climate Change theory, Critical Race Theory, Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, Veganism, materialism, a political ideology, and any new ideas that emerge, as well as all the religions of the world.
If an idea becomes popular, it generates a belief system and collects members, and then tells us how the world should be organized.
The field is crowded.
We should know what is happening around us. Long ago, a man named Jesus started a movement, and He was clear about the starting point, how to join, and where the road would end.
When he sent his followers out to preach to the unconverted, he directed them: “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore, be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10: 16)
The competition was fierce. There were other movements out there.
In two thousand years, this has not changed. I think it’s good for us all to see a world filled with emerging and competing ‘religious’ movements that want to dominate.
Thinking about ideas can be good, but we need to know when we are being pulled into movements. They want new members.
It’s also important to know, all emerging movements have the same pattern; It’s always easier to join than to quit. It may be easy to buy in, but it may be impossible to drop out. Changing your mind someday may be an impossible dream.
Membership has no end date.
Imagine a mouse that is strongly attracted to a piece of cheese in a trap. It’s easy to step up, but impossible to walk away. The last sound that the mouse will hear is “snap!”
The Russian hockey player told us something important: Know who you are, and know the boundaries.
I am writing as a Christian, and I chose this road, and I choose to stay on it.
Starting in this faith allowed me to say no to other memberships. Of course, I am not a wealthy athlete who could lose everything. I don’t need courage at that level.
These words were given to us about three thousand years ago:
Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. (Joshua 24:14-15)