In Lois Tverberg’s new book, Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus: How the Jewish Words of Jesus Can Change Your Life, which I look forward (with some fear and trembling as I always do when doing this) to reviewing, she mentions how both the Jews along with Christians are known for vigorous debate among themselves, among the faithful. Hopefully the “friendly fire” doesn’t take out people along the way.
I have blogged since around 2004, having my own blog since late 2005. During that time we’ve seen vigorous and sometimes vociferous bordering or crossing the line into incivility, or lack of Christian love. Oftentimes people are talking past each other. We aren’t listening well to each other, but just trying to get our point across. I’m sure I’ve been more or less guilty of that many times.
On the other hand, Lois Tverberg casts this debate in a positive frame. The faith and how we work it out in life is taken so seriously, that we want to discuss it among ourselves. In that discussion there often is disagreement. Maybe the motivation isn’t always what it ought to be. I have sometimes wanted to escape it, something I was a part of. But much can be gained in this practice, if we learn to listen well to each other. Listening should be our priority. And then maybe sharing our own perspective, or view on a matter.
Some discussions can be quite divisive as we know. That seems all the more so today, though it has likely always been the case. It’s partly the fact that we can now debate across the world or far apart at a moment’s notice.
The past year or so I’ve withdrawn from wanting to get into vigorous debate. A big part of that is that I simply don’t have the resources or time to pursue subjects in depth enough so that I really am able to engage well in any debate, or even discussion. On certain casual contexts of simply sharing our faith and what that means to us, I feel more at home. I frankly don’t care to enter into debates on origins (especially hot now) or end times. And if I do enter into a disputed matter I want to tread softly and while voicing my view, not do so as if it’s the last word. Or as if I am right on everything with nothing either wrong or to be refined. I much prefer to share with others in a way in which we can learn from each other within the wide scope and spacious landscape of the faith.
All that said, I appreciate the good that can be done in such debating if we learn to listen well to each other, and try to understand the other, opposing position well, without casting judgments on it so as to set it aside. At least we should learn to appreciate the other and their position in a matter. We should try to understand why they think as they do. And what we can learn from them in the exchange.
Above all in this, we seek together to better understand God’s revelation and will made known in Jesus. And we do so wanting to reflect well that revelation and indeed live in God’s will, what God wants. If we do that blogging can move from a near curse to indeed being a blessing. Helping us to be a blessing to the world in and through Jesus.