"CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, OH — Two large evergreens stand on either side of the white columns leading into Forest Hill Church, Presbyterian.I can relate to this -- I am a member of a congregation that spans not only the political divide, but the theological divide as well. Over most of the past 18 years that I have been a member, peace was kept by the fact that neither side insisted on forcing their views to the front of the line. Lately, though, that peace has become a bit tenuous, and many of us are looking for ways to restore the peace.
A white bell tower and steeple sit atop the brick Georgian Colonial building across from a park. Inside, wooden pews with red seat covers face the Communion table, a large wooden cross suspended above the table.
Who could disturb such a peaceful spiritual setting? Try President Bush and Sen. Hillary Clinton, for starters.
As in many other congregations and denominations in America, the liberal-conservative divide on some of the most contested issues of our time — gay rights, abortion, Iraq — and the politicians each side loves to hate has challenged the unity of Forest Hill."
The problems are great, but not insurmountable. What complicates this is the "winner take all" mentality that see only failure when one's opponents do not immediately see the plain good sense logic of one's arguments. Another complicating factor are profound differences in what sources of authority are employed, and how one uses such sources.
It's a tough job and one that we can only accomplish with God's help.