63 min
By: 3ncl3ad3rs

Episode 20: Stop Taking Sides: An Interview with Adam Mabry

A new book called “Stop Taking Sides” by Adam Mabry is now available and in this podcast we had the privilege of interviewing the author to tell us what this book is all about.

Play on:

1:34 “Stop Taking Sides” by Adam Mabry

“Embrace the surprisingly simple solution to the division, anxiety, and fear that plague our discussions from politics to theology. Stop taking sides.”

This book will help us to deal with truths that tempt us to choose one side over another. Do we prioritize politics in this world or building the kingdom of God? Do we prioritize God’s sovereignty or human responsibility? Questions that human beings, and often Christians fight over and if we are not careful we become people that take sides and alienate others instead of being the missional leaders that God has called us to be. 

In this book by Adam Mabry, it’s not just a call to neutrality, or to not think or engage, but he is encouraging the readers to be even more engaged. It makes us face the reality that the problem in taking a side is not that you don’t engage, it’s that you only engage one side.  

11:04 Adam Mabry shared how most of what is in his book was rooted in his personal stories and actual relationships that he has.

13:43 “There are matters about which we must totally take sides. Some have taken the title as a categorical imperative like you should never take sides, which was addressed in the first parts of the book. I think the point of the Bible telling us something is not to get us to take sides on things but for us to actually form virtuousness, which is much harder than just picking a team.” 

15:21 QUOTE: “Not everything is a hill upon which to die. There are certainly moments when we must echo Martin Luther’s “Here I stand, I can do no other” – but there are simply far more moments when we must think harder, pray longer, and draw closer, especially to those with whom we disagree. Not all who disagree with us are heretics. In fact, they probably have wisdom we should hear and maybe even a position we should embrace.” (Stop Taking Sides by Adam Mabry)

16:12 Adam explained, biologically speaking, we are built or conditioned to be tribal. He is not saying that side-taking or allegiance to a team is a bad thing. It’s just a thing that we could not escape. It becomes bad when this deep biological impulse becomes the way we do everything—when there’s no reflection or cognition, only reactions.

In order to develop our character, God requires us not to do that about everything. 

20:45 The way we sometimes interpret the Bible is with that reactive thing and not with actually the part that differentiates us from the rest of the animals: the God-given ability to reflect, like asking the question “Is this the right thing to do?”

There are certain items, either in policy or in leadership, that when we encounter them we feel this deep, innate, powerful urge to react. Adam is suggesting in this book that God has put this reactive little land mines in the Bible itself, to get us to not to be reactive and to teach us to know that side-taking is not the correct response, but tension-building. And as we work hard to hold them, we develop virtues like patience, kindness, justice, or love.

23:33 QUOTE: “To stop sublimating some biblical teachings to others that we prefer, and to start listening to how the Bible is teaching… holding truth in tension not only brings us more in line with God’s word, but it frees us from the anxiety and outrage that threaten to destroy us.(Stop Taking Sides by Adam Mabry)

25:43 (Referring to the diversity among Jesus’ disciples) Adam explained it can’t simply be about being right or wrong. There must be intentionality in the way God built human beings in such a way that their perspectives, their differences, and their extremities are needed in order to arrive at godliness. 

“So, we have to decide whether we want to be right or we want to be godly.”

26:20 As leaders, this is an invitation to a higher level of contemplation, of thinking, and of acting. 

27:04 A quick preview on some of the chapters like “Chapter 5: Victory and Suffering” and “Chapter 7: Politics and Kingdom”

Chapter 5 is almost like an autobiography of Adam Mabry as it refers to most of his personal stories and experiences of both victories and sufferings occurring at the same time. There is real tension between these two, like questions of “Why am I suffering? And yet God also had a promise of this and that…” 

36:24 QUOTE: “In victory, remember suffering. In suffering, remember the victory.” (Stop Taking Sides by Adam Mabry)

40:23 Adam shared some examples of how the Bible does things inside of us. He even said that the Bible wants to mess with us, which was exactly what Joe felt after reading Adam’s book and made him love the Scripture even more. 

43:55 About Chapter 7: Politics and the Kingdom, Adam shared how he addressed this controversial topic by answering some questions that he has encountered.

“The Bible is not okay with our assumption that politics is the way the kingdom is gonna be brought to the world.”

48:24 Book Recommendation: “Dominion” by Tom Holland

51:10 Here are questions that Adam Mabry included in this chapter as he seeks to engage politics faithfully: 

  1. Is a false promise of progress that only Jesus can bring about being made?
  2. What’s the prize I am being offered? Is it a false freedom to do what I want? Or a true freedom to love and serve God and our neighbor?

52:07 Book Recommendation: “Reappearing Church” by Mark Sayers

52:35 Ptr. Joe and Adam Mabry wrapped up this interview and shared how there is a real struggle of wanting to take sides. If he would be letting his flesh take over and just snap with that temptation of proving others they are wrong. But he shared how he would always go back to how Jesus treated him and how he should treat others the same.

Application:

  1. Have you experienced that temptation to take sides on certain issues? What do you usually do?
  2. What are some things that you would want to change in yourself with regards to taking sides?

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