Saturday, April 21, 2007

Humbleness of Mind, Anyone?

Well then... if you've been reading the latest hoo-haa over at TP, you'll get this. If not, let me 'splain:

A commenter left this message in this thread:

"Has anyone noticed that anytime there is a post here that even loosely refers to critiques of the emerging movement, the meta runs rampant and turns into a tiresome deconstruction of words used, tone expressed, presuppositions presupposed and eventually becomes a sophomoric "I said/he said" exchange?"

You might as well have asked:

Has anyone noticed that anytime the mainstream media runs a story on the nightly news about "Christianity" you're inevitibly going to see a clip of a RC church and/or a shot of the pope?

In other words, it's a given that the MS media is going to misrepresent Christianity with Catholicism, and it's a given that if you critique the EC that all sorts of EC adherenets, supporters, sympathizers and fellow critics are going to jump into the fray.

I can only assume the #1 reason for that is because both 'camps' take this subject as serious as the other. The EC folks believe their way is the right way (or at the very least really want to talk about their, or some kind of way) and the critics are convinced that this is the wrong way, filled with heresy and apostacy and all sorts of ungodly philosophies of men. Lines in the sand, butting heads and all that.

The thing is, is that rarely does this actually go anywhere or become profitable at all. At least in my limited experience. I indeed have seen critics come to a better understanding of the EC (and I am one of them) and I've also seen EC adherents realize error and walk away from it. Overall however, that is not the way it tends to work.

One fellow critic commented nearly two years ago now that attempting any real discussion with many of these folks is akin to hearing from the angst filled lips of a teenager "you're SO mean!" with a storm of words to follow. Rabbit trails and red herrings and strawmen, oh my! to quickly follow.

you're SO mean!While that might conjure up a somewhat humorous image, the truth is - we all need to watch our attitudes, our choice of words, our motives and our intentions - no matter what side of the camp we plant ourselves in. All of us, no matter who we are, can be mean, snarky, insulting, condescending, flippant, arrogant, rude, dismissive and obnoxious. Especially when engaged in a discussion that we don't think is going the way we want it to go. Especially when it's a topic that we hold dear to our hearts and want to convey the importance of it to someone that isn't listening. That's called pride, kids, and if you think you don't have it, I've got some beach front property in Desert Hot Springs for sale.

Lest anyone be confused about my intention here, I can assure you that being an EC critic for the last 2+ years has given me an insight into the way these folks think (and why) but it's also given me a good look at my own conduct and reaction to the critique of the critique. If I were to be 100% honest I would have to confess that my motives, my words and my attitudes have not always been completely above reproach. That doesn't contribute much of anything useful to the "conversation" no matter what you're discussing.

I guess all I'm really saying is this:

Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. (Colossians 3:12-17)

I wonder what would happen to the image of evangelicism if this govererned every dialog, every conversation, and every discussion we ever had in any context (not just blogging)? Maybe we wouldn't look or sound like Mr. Happy pictured here, if we tried a little harder to do this?

Just thinking outloud.