Latter Dad Saint Blog: Interfaith Dialogue.

Howdy friends!!

I had the pleasure of having a long conversation over zoom this week with Amanda.

I hope that you all are having a great week.

It’s been a seesaw kind of week for us. We are scheduled to have many baseball games/practices. However, we do live in Missouri where the weather is about as predictable as March Madness. Pretty sure we’ve experienced winter, spring, and summer all in less than a week’s time.

I’m thankful for the rain but can’t help but curse the mud. I’d absolutely bottle up some of our excess rain and send it to my friends out west who are in dire need. Pray for rain friends!

Earlier this week, I took the opportunity of one of those wet and soggy days to hop on a podcast with my friend Amanda Radke.

Amanda and I talked ranching, mental health, podcasting, the importance of strong families in today’s world, and speaking up for issues that are close to our hearts… even when they bring controversy.

After we stopped the recording, Amanda and I began to chat about one another’s faith. Amanda, a Catholic, and myself, a Latter-Day Saint, have both found ourselves under scrutiny from other Christians about our beliefs. We found some solidarity in the fact that there are misconceptions about each of our faith from those outside of it.

For example, one of the common themes which Amanda hears is that Catholics worship the Virgin Mary. Amanda explained to me that it simply is not the case. That they revere Mary as she deserves as such being the Earthly mother of the Messiah… but only worship Jesus Christ.

Similarly, my faith is scrutinized for being a cult. We are often told we are not Christian and that we worship Joseph Smith, Mormon, and other prophets in our canon. But, as the name of our church says, the primary focus of our faith is Jesus Christ.

I believe both Amanda and myself came away from the conversation with a greater appreciation for one another. We learned a little something about the other’s faith and found that we have so much common ground. That the primary focus of each of our church’s is essentially the same. We just have some differences when it comes to playing out that focus.

We need to have more discussions like the one Amanda and I had this week. As Dr. Steven Covey’s 5th habit states we need to seek first to understand others, then to be understood. We need to know that, for the most part, people are kind and gentle in their heart and want the same things for their families as we do ourselves. Once we understand the other party, we then focus on ourselves BEING understood. I believe that if so many in the world just applied this basic concept to their conversations, that we would have more robust and vibrant conversations… even when we may disagree to an extent.

I do not believe this only applies to discussions within Christianity… or within people of faith at all. I have a close friend who I would probably classify as agnostic. He has no belief in Christ or any other divine entity to which he owes his salvation. However, once in a discussion, he classified himself as a non-practicing Christian. That he believed in the structure and values of Western, Judeo-Christian society, but rejected the idea of a Savior or God. I found this surprisingly refreshing. I’ve been taught all my life that atheism/agnosticism were dirty words and the people who practiced such were dangerous. How foolish. This friend has the same values as me. He is a family man who coaches ball teams and serves his community. We care about the same things. He simply does not have the same faith as me… and that’s ok. I respect his personal decision in this matter and he does mine.

As the 11th Article of Faith of my church declares We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

Be on the lookout for the podcast airing this coming week with Amanda and myself. She is an absolute treasure and am proud to call her a friend.

Leave a Reply