I grew up in a religious culture that was marked by two things. First was the absolute certainty that they had arrived at truth. We were assured repeatedly that we had the best grasp of Biblical truth there ever was, and it was a rock we could stand on.
Second, there was deliberate, systemic denial of all real life situations that were outside the approved theological grid. Those problems were either non-reality, or irrelevant. Thus, the theology was never at risk of being shown inadequate in real life.
This is the culture of slavery. Someone decides what is. Others decide to delegate responsibility for truth to someone else.
My fascination with the “why” question led to an eventual parting of the ways. I still hold to the truths I learned then, but I have a larger grid – one that I am quite sure is incomplete.
Far more important than what I believe, though, is how my life affects you and your beliefs.
I posted on Facebook what I thought was a fairly innocuous announcement of something we would be doing at our upcoming seminar in Anaheim. It has stirred up a heated debate among different people who have commented.
I pushed back lightly on a couple of comments but have generally refrained from neatening up the discussion with my pronouncements, even though I think some of the arguments have gotten pretty lame.
My goal is to create a culture where sonship is fostered. A large part of that involves people assuming responsibility for their own values and ideas. I have no need of one single mindless follower who worships the ground I walk on. The idea is utterly offensive to me, and I have wounded some people who wanted a pat on the head for their blind loyalty to me.
Rather, I want highly opinionated people who are willing to express their opinions and field a give and take discussion without it becoming personal. When someone’s legitimacy is attached to their ideas, then they defend the idea without reason or logic. When someone is a son, whose legitimacy is settled in their relationship with God, we can have far more robust arguments without leaving people bruised.
WordPress tends to be a bit too orderly for me. Most of the comments are a minor take off on something I said, or an agreement or validation. I am not saying that you are all slaves only that the Mercy redemptive gift of this platform tends to draw more muted responses. Not a criticism, just an observation.
Facebook which is deeply rooted in lawlessness and is built on an Exhorter platform, tends to draw out the scrappy side of people. Often the kerfuffle gets a little messy, and on occasion I delete a comment and sometimes even an entire thread, but it is a price I am willing to pay to encourage vigorous discussion of ideas in the process of forming them well.
You will notice that after a vigorous difference of opinion, I do not step in and announce the final right answer. I am much more interested in the process – you owning your own ideas and defending their logic against others’ disagreement – than I am the right conclusion.
We have a culture of growing sons, not clones.
Part of that process involves having some noisy squabbles.
Copyright May 2016 by Arthur Burk
On a whim.