While attending a family friend’s wedding reception last weekend, I sat near a person learning improv comedy. One of the basic principles in improv is “Yes, and” — this opens up dialogue and keeps the comedic flow going. The thing is, dialogue takes a lot of time and effort, and being the busy Americans that we are, it seems we don’t have much time for it.
Like internetmonk, I dislike arguing. Some people like arguing and do it for sport with no hard feelings or after taste. It’s been my experience that most people get their feelings hurt when intellectuals do battle. I’m tired of remarks that begin with “some things that I disagreed with” [caveat: click thru for context b/c I pulled this quote out of context to illustrate my tiredness with ‘disagreement’] or “that does not mean that I endorse everything“… maybe it’s my wishful thinking, but I’d think that very few people agree and endorse 100% of what someone else says or writes. Do most people have a different default mode?
Believe you me, I was not oblivious to the blogosphere’s buzz about the Desiring God conference with Piper, Keller, Driscoll, and others. Roger Overton has a nice link list of summaries to the conference [ht: faithmaps]. And, CT did note that “Piper does scare some people.”
The blogosphere sure reacted to Piper’s critique on Driscoll’s cleverness. Yes, and, I see that it has already played itself out, with Driscoll quenching the rumors [ht: reformissionary via faithmaps] in what he called the bloggerdom, quickly and valiantly for the sake of unity. And, Tony Jones reacts to Keller’s brief remarks about Emergent’s impact, to which Keller clarifies a distinction between evangelical orthodoxy vs. orthodox Christianity. Is this getting too nuanced for you too?
Jumping tracks, and checking in with the red letter words of Jesus, he’s on record for saying both “For whoever is not against us is on our side” (Mark 9:40) and “He who is not with me is against me” (Matthew 12:30). Ken Collins wrestles with this apparent contradition, by interpreting the statements in context. I prefer the former, a more open stance to those who seek to follow the historic Jesus, rather than articulating an exactingly precision of 4-point, 5-point, or 7-point Calvinism or multi-faceted dimensions on atonement theories. Personally, I don’t draw my boundaries as broadly as the National Council of Churches, or even Emergent (though I’d like to be on friendly terms with those in the Village), and not as narrowly as the Reformed brethren (aka ‘humble orthodoxy‘).
This kind of vocal disagreements over theological precision is patently discouraging to observers and outsiders, even disgusting. Perhaps we should review & practice Faithmaps’ 2002 exhortation on developing a praxis of theologial disagreement and part 2.