I like to write on controversial topics. All of us do, actually–or at least we vocalize it. It’s why Facebook for many tends to be a debate forum more than it is a place for sharing our daily activities or pictures of our food (don’t take a picture of your food–it always looks disgusting for some reason!). One merely needs to turn to Huffington Post, The Blaze, or just about any major news outlet. We thrive on controversy–and we all make a point to let others know it!
Of course, as any reader of my blog or twitter knows, I too thrive on controversy. Recently, from my take on creationist politics to my suggestion that the focus on inerrancy contributes to–not reverses–the casualties of the faith, I have played the controversy game as well as anybody. Part of that is, well, because controversy is interesting and…interesting topics tend to be controversial (see how that works?) And, of course, I stand by what I have said on these posts. But something else has been eating away at me–indeed, it’s been eating away at me for years. To what end do we argue?
How often we unjustly criticize, belittle, name call, misrepresent, and outcast those we disagree with. We love the savor of eating our own. I see it everywhere, from every tradition, from every perspective. I sometimes wonder, ‘What is this bride of Christ talk? Doesn’t we act a good bit more polygamous than we do a one, holy, catholic church?’
Of course Christianity is a mosaic. People are a mosaic; the catholic (little c) church extends over the globe and through time and with it, necessarily, various views and opinions find there way in and out of popular and scholarly thought. As much as I find myself in disagreement with my fundamentalist friends, I’m pretty certain that I would have as many disagreements and arguments with a medieval monk. But with our disagreements, our various opinions, our arguments, do we truly act with love towards one another or contempt? Do we see some as less deserving of the title ‘Christian’ (or even ‘evangelical’) simply because they don’t fit into our box of either fundamentalism or progressivism and all that lies between?
Indeed, what ever happened to conversation?
Why must everything be a battlefield on which we’re prepared to die?
It’s something that I’ve failed at and continue to fail at, but am learning to get better at. I’m writing this not to say ‘Hey, I’m the quintessential example to follow but to say, ‘Let’s fix this together.’
Some will assume by this post that I am negating the importance of mere debate and argument. Nope. And this need not mean that our opinions should avoid the charge of bluntness (sometimes that is called for) but they should reflect a great humility. I am, however, suggesting that the how of argument is just as, if not more, important than the what of argument. To what end to we argue? To be right or to seek truth in love and integrity?
Where is our unification? Is it in our models of theological and cultural thought or is it in Christ Jesus crucified and risen?
Wouldn’t it be nice if however we proceed to continue to debate and argue things unimportant and things drastically important, if we did it like a real family does: at the dinner table, together!? In my opinion, it’s about time to start practicing for that heavenly banquet where Jesus is going to set fundamentalist and liberal right next to each other and tell them to stop kicking.