The “dinner dialogues” the church is encouraging were part of Giamalva’s last “commandment”: “Thou shalt build bridges.” Don’t avoid conversations about politics and religion, he said. Instead, the pastor asked members to go out to dinner this week with people who have political views that are different from their own. Some Stateline Church members, said Giamalva, might need to learn from others who have different political opinions. Others might even need to apologize for their past behavior. “This might be completely radical for some of you,” he said. “You may need to ask for forgiveness…by the way you’ve talked about people of the opposite political party.”
Giamalva explained that, in addition to wanting to support local businesses, Stateline Church leaders believe these conversations are so important that they decided to financially invest in them. That is why the church raised and spent over $4,500 to give away gift cards so people could go out and have these discussions over dinner. “We just want to do something to help our restaurants and help you do this,” said the pastor. He emphasized that if Christians pursue love in how they talk about controversial topics, their example will say that “Jesus is real” to a world that does not know him.
“This is the best evangelism tool that we have,” said Giamalva. “I mean, what does this say to a lost world if all of a sudden people from a church are inviting people over to ask for forgiveness about the way they’ve talked about politics? What, who does that? People who believe in Jesus, that’s who.”