A few years ago, I, a very liberal Democrat, joined a Free Evangelical Church in Knoxville, TN. I was attracted to the church initially by the music (surprisingly, a very talented rock band that played for 30 minutes during the service) and I found the sermons of the very tolerant, intellectual pastor most compelling. During a one-on-one discussion with the pastor, I admitted that the last thing in the world I wanted to be was an evangelical Christian! I totally disagreed with their position on gays, on a woman's right to choose, on politics, etc. He laughed and told me to just go with my heart, my search for God, and to leave the rest behind. I followed his wise advice and found much to love in the church: their commitment to serving the poor of the city, their sense of community and care for each other, and eventually their acceptance of me -- as I was, with my strong political views, but also with my honest desire to grow in my understanding and love of God. Our spiritual quest gave us a common ground and I have to say that I have never felt more love, respect, and acceptance than with that caring group of people. I have since moved away, but I count the people in that church as friends for life and our acceptance of one another, which at first seemed so impossible, one of the greatest learning experiences of my life.
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