As a United Methodist I’m influenced by John Wesley’s quadrilateral. Ah-oh, that’s a fancy faith-muttering kind of word. But it’s inspired by Methodist founder Wesley’s belief that faith is discerned by four “tests”: scripture (always #1), tradition, reason, and experience. Most Methodists I know appreciate the open-mindedness this four-legged stand on faith encourages. I certainly do. After all, it affirms that my experiences with God, with Creation and Christ, may be different from yours, but should be honored. Listened to. Considered.
Here’s the toughie, though. As always, it works both ways. Arrggh! How hard it can be to realize another’s interpretation of scripture or another’s personal experience may be dramatically different than mine. Wouldn’t living out our faith be easier if you could easily identify who’s right (people that agree with me) and who’s wrong (people that don’t agree with me). Alas, faith is not easy, nor easily categorized. At least that’s been my personal experience.