Over the past few weeks there seems to have been an increase in sightings of demons, apostates, war-mongers, idiots and other such people who are the sole reason for the downfall of the Presbyterian Church (USA). Also . . . apparently there are only two kinds of people in our church, liberals and conservatives.
I am not going to name names, but we all read them. Blogs that seems to make the issues simple. With ire and contempt we read . . .
Those conservatives are . . .
Those liberals are . . .
READ: if they would just get it right, all would be good.
I was reading one blog today about the "Liberal tactics of . . . ." Anyone who has been keeping up with the debates about the particular issue that was being debated, knows full well that the very same "tactic" was used by a traditionally conservative movement earlier in the year. When it is bad it is a "tactic" and when it is good it is a "strategy"? And it goes both ways. Left to right, right to left, up and down, inside and out 😉
For those new to blogs, it does make sense. Blogs are places where we can vent a little, try out some thoughts, enter into conversations, etc. Understood. Some people are pretty angry and need a place to work that out. Others just want to let us know what they had for dinner. All good. But when it comes to blogs that are trying to be part of a larger conversation on faith, it seems that there are some blurry lines between what we arrogantly claim as "fact" versus what we can humbly submit as "opinion."
It is just not that simple.
It’s not all that helpful.
But it is easier than the alternative.
If we are going to move into something new, denominationally or relationally, we have GOT to start truly appreciating one another as complex human beings trying to discern our way through life AND publicly acknowledge that reality.
As I read some blogs, liberal or conservative, I am most moved by those that can appreciate both sides of an issue while still holding a strong position. Blogs that basically say, "Here is the truth. If you agree, you are right and if you do not, you are an idiot!" make for some gosh darn good reading and are good for seeing what conversations are out there, but I wonder how they contribute to the building of the kingdom.
On the other hand, blogs where you just KNOW the writer was struggling to give the other side any kind of credit, to admit they might have a point, to *gasp* agree with a smidgen of what the other says, now that is powerful. What it means is that, despite vehemently disagreeing with this person, I can still see Christ and humanity in them and gosh darn it, I am going to try and take them seriously.
Excruciatingly painful, I know.
Relationship building in a Christ-centered community ain’t all kittens and butterflies my friends 😉
In this case I think we are called to the excruciating and the painful so that maybe, just maybe, we can experience the joy that can be experienced by the Body of Christ.
At least I hope so.