Podcast: Play in new window | Download | Embed
Blair Hodges is host, producer, and editor of the Fireside podcast and works as a communications manager for a non profit in Salt Lake City. He served a mission in Wisconsin and earned a bachelor’s degree in communications (journalism) at the University of Utah and a master’s degree in religious studies at Georgetown University. Blair hosted the Maxwell Institute Podcast for eight years and has served many years as a Sunday School President and Sunday School instructor. He loves reading, family time, weekend napping, the Utah Jazz, and living in Salt Lake City.
9:00 Blair talks about being a liberal in a very conservative church.
12:00 How can leaders help everyone feel welcome despite having different views?
14:40 Leaders need to address tattletale culture. Instead of going to the bishop to complain, go directly to the person you have a problem with.
19:00 What is doctrine?
24:30 We all mingle the doctrine of men with scripture. We all see doctrine a little differently. We don’t have to be so rigid in our views but be open to new ways of thinking.
26:15 It’s a strength to hold space for uncertainty and let go of the need to be certain about everything.
31:15 Discussion of apologetics
46:30 The most important thing that a leader can do is provide a welcoming space for everyone. Give people space to disagree or to have questions. What matters is finding common ground. A leader can change the whole dynamic of their ward.
50:25 People become disaffected from the church. Meaning that many people come to feel unloved and disconnected. Feelings are the root of it all.
55:40 Our love and relationship with others shouldn’t be contingent on whether they stay in the church or not.
56:30 What does it look like to love someone without trying to change them?
56:45 Blair encourages leaders to get familiar with other resources and entities to help them get familiar with different situations. Examples: read a book from the Maxwell Institute, listen to podcasts, presentation from a FAIR Conference, BYU studies, read a couple of Dialogue articles, etc.
58:45 Even general authorities have different views on things. We don’t always have to agree. Some choose to defend their faith aggressively and others passively. The key is to be charitably peaceful.
Fireside with Blair Hodges
Maxwell Institute Podcast
Read the TRANSCRIPT of this podcast
Get 14-day access to the Core Leader Library
So much in this episode rang true and touched my heart. I loved Blair’s observation that apologetics of any kind require starting with charity, and that we must meet people where they are and let them feel heard before offering our own critiques.
I have been a very engaged member of the church for decades who also has liberal political and philosophical leanings. As such, I have learned a little bit about the concept of micro aggressions , and sometimes just simple thoughtless assumptions and comments. I have had to leave Sunday school classes or even sacrament meetings more than once because of politics being mingled with scripture or doctrine to an extent that the spirit is lost and I need to go elsewhere to find it again.
Case in point (I love you Kurt so I think I’m ok to point this out to you!): the opposite of “liberal” is not “orthodox”; it is “conservative”. The implication that conservative politics align with orthodox theology is an assumption (in my view an incorrect one). Orthodox theology can overlay many political viewpoints , and frankly exposes and condemns much of the politics that either party in the US espouses or practices. Being more careful with word choices allows everyone to feel welcome.
I am grateful when people leave their politics outside the chapel doors, and are considerate in their comments in church meetings. We all have a lot to learn in this area. As Blair said, we miss out on chances to exercise humility when we assume that we can’t be wrong. Myself included.