The phrase “Bold Love” perfectly describes my uncharted adventure, my journey into unknown territory that wound up changing me. From being an evangelical Christian pastor working with the government in Vietnam and learning to think philosophically to working with the Muslims in Afghanistan and learning to think theologically. Yes, I had all those classes in seminary. But, it’s a different ball game when you come to know REAL people that are different from you, that you become genuine friends with, and having a kind of relationship allows you the freedom to talk openly – to ask or be asked any question. It’s from a bold love that builds bridges like I would have never imagined.
You know, growing up as a pastor’s kid in a small town in East Texas, I got to learn so much about the Bible from my dad and other mentors. From an early age, I got to share my faith with others and preach sermons to youth and adults. I saw God work in incredible ways and felt God call me to ministry.
As I matured in my faith, I had strong theological opinions, but I realized I really didn’t know how to live it outside the church well. I knew how to debate or explain my faith, but I didn’t know how to love – truly love. It was after I started a church, and it grew to a decent size before I realized that I was pretty good at loving people in my church, but failing at loving my enemies as Jesus instructed. This requires Bold Love.
For me, my faith has ventured beyond my church, my tribe, my religion – into the world with people I never had a desire or reason to connect with before, and it has changed me as much or more than them. I learned to see people as beings made in the image of God – and that radically changed my mindset.
As I began to build friendships around the world with people different than me, I realized I had so much to learn about how building relationships was the key to better understanding, trust, and even sharing my faith! My theology didn’t change; my methodology did.
The concept of Bold Love, where theological or political conviction doesn’t put you in opposition. Where you can build friendships without compromising your beliefs. Where you can work together for a common goal of resilient communities while having deep theological differences. Best of all, I believe it makes God happy as we love our neighbors regardless.
The concept of Bold Love, where theological conviction doesn’t put you in opposition. Where you can build friendships without compromising your beliefs. Where you can work together for a common goal of resilient communities while… Click To Tweet
I had a very prominent businessman of another faith call me one day and wanted to talk. He asked me, “Bob, why are you so passionate about evangelicals and Muslims engaging?” I told him I want evangelicals to treat people the same regardless of faith – with respect. It is the height of hypocrisy for us as Christians to believe in Jesus, the Gospel for everyone, and yet hate or despise people of another tribe. If I truly believe the Great Commission, if I truly believe Jesus was who he said he was – I must respond to my city, my country, and the world as he would or I undercut the very message for why Jesus went to the cross.
But how do we love boldly? What does it look like to love your neighbor or even your enemies? What does a world look like where people of other religions hold on to their faith while engaging with people who have many different views of the world? What is the purpose of being a bridge builder or peacemaker? These questions have led me to have deep conversations with people from around the world, and I would love to share what I’ve learned along this uncommon path.
That is why I started the Bold Love podcast. It’s a reference everyone can use no matter where they are in the world in order to engage with people unlike themselves. Engaging through bold love provides a path for conservative believers to engage in without compromising their faith. Whether you’re a Christian, Muslim, Buddist or Atheist, we all can learn how to relate to those who are different than us – to love boldly.
Join me on this story-telling journey on the Bold Love podcast. It is a chance for us to learn from some of my friends to highlight the uncommon journeys of bridge builders and peacemakers that are living out their faith in the public square, pursuing peace by loving their neighbor and working together to build resilient communities around the globe. Trust me, I have no doubt there are going to be massive breakthroughs and understanding in your life. Listening to these conversations will make you rethink how to go through life and your faith in the public square – it’s time to have Bold Love.