There's an ever present danger that many of us have been bitten by over the years.
It's something we're often tempted to adopt and many of us have nurtured over time but it has a tendency of taking us places that we don't want to go and costing us more than we'd like! It's not a furry friend, it's dogma.
So what are dogmas?
Anth defined dogmas as "Principles or rules that cannot be questioned. A belief or set of beliefs held by a group or organisation that others are expected to accept without argument."
Always a fan of Dad-jokes, Anth threw a few in, pointing out that whilst "A Dogma is for life, not just for Christmas." is a bit of a giggle, it's message rings true and many of our dogmas have their roots in our family conversation, maybe at Christmas, and can last a lifetime.
As we seek to understand and address the issues we face in our lives and in our world, it's easy to spend more energy protecting our perspective than we do continuing our quest for truth, as Anth said: "If you have a dogma, you will spend most of your life feeding and walking it."
Dogmas can have a massive impact on our relationships as we can care more about being right than we do about being loving, as the relationships we enter are governed by the statement "Love me, love my dogma!"
We all have different experiences and opinions on everything from politics, general elections and Brexit, to the ongoing conversation around race following the death of George Floyd and the attention brought to the Black Lives Matter organisation.
Whatever our perspectives and ideas we have to move the world forward, Anth explained that "It's not our ideas and opinions that divide us, it's dogma that divides us. Dogma always divides."
Dogma fuels the binary thinking and dualism that Anth has been warning us of over the past month and he reminded us of the importance of understanding one another before we leap to conclusions, saying "If you're not prepared to familiarise yourself with a person's story don't presume yourself qualified to judge their actions."
Binary thinking is like sitting on a two-legged stool, it's so hard to find balance and part of moving beyond binary thinking is embracing the trinitarian idea that there is a third element, an extra dimension to all of the issues of our life. Jesus was driven by this dimension when he said things like
"Love your enemies!"
"Do not judge!"
"Forgive seventy times seven!"
"Love one another as I have loved you!"
The apostle Paul continued this legacy when he embraced the non-binary, non-dogmatic spirit, saying
"In Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, Slave nor Free, Male nor Female, for all are one in Christ."
As we continue our quest together, we need to get free of dogma because as Anth said
"Acting from a binary perspective only ever shifts who holds the power, rather than dissolving the power into loving union."
In the 18th Century the philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau wrote :
"Man is born free, yet everywhere is in chains."
As you listen to Anth's message, may you find a freedom beyond the chains of binary thinking, dualism and dogma!