Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Where has civilized dialogue gone?

I debated whether to call this Christian dialogue or civilized dialogue....I think conversations today have deteriorated so, I would almost settle for simply civilized...

Last week at Kingdom Bound, a friend led discussion on the Church and Homosexuality. His stand was not really against or for homosexuality but response of love and relationship with homosexuals rather than beating them over the head with Scripture. Of course there were those who became defensive from the faith viewpoint. They were not even hearing my friend's plea or meeting the discussion where it was at.

This week, I have been attacked in a conversation over Scripture and my view. This person questioned my pastoral calling and told me I need help. Not once did this person discuss the Scriptures they raised. They just threw them at me as if I had no voice or reason.

Today, my friend from Kingdom Bound posted a video which discussed the Constitution and Gay marriage. Instead of meeting the argument presented about the Constitution and marriage, one person stated something to the fact gay marriage is an abomination.

Why can't we respond out of love instead of react out of fear? We hear something we disagree with and have to shut down the conversation. We have to build up a wall and then throw stones (name calling, Scripture) at each other. The pharisees did that a lot. They used the law as a wall between them and the world. They used the law as a weapon against those outside. Jesus ate with the sinners and taught them graciously.

Where has civilized and/or Christian dialogue gone?


  1. I am reminded of Volf's book "Exclusion and Embrace" (and you thought I never read!). It is human nature to draw boundaries. When there are boundaries, often we build walls to defend them. Once we separate us from the others, we can make the others less than ourselves. Once another person is less than we are, they become no longer important as a beautiful child of God. They are other, less than, not important. One could continue the list with weaker sex, gay, street bum, etc. I still think boundaries are natural. The life destroying aspect comes when we decide our boundaries are more important than loving the unlovable, the desperate, and the outcast, all created by God as a reflection of his image.

    I'm sorry you got caught in the cross-fire =(

    I guess the mental image I am left with is the "christian" hurling insults and the outcast holding up a mirror, asking the question where is the reflection of God's image?

    Then again, usually the outcast has been wounded so often, they are also hurling insults and the image of God is further marred by our re-actions.

    (my two cents)

  2. I love Volf! I think you nail the epidemic--our boundaries which define us and give us a starting place to interact with the world become walls of defense which spiral out of civility to anger.
    I have read some of Lewis' responses from a radio show to critics. Perhaps its just the fact he was British which accounts for his civility. Or perhaps we have idolized those who can tell others off and retreated in fear so often we do not know how to be civilized.
    How can we recapture the civility?

    And I think your thoughts were worth more than two cents....I would have given you at least a dollar... :)

  3. I just found this blog post - I kept reading the other. (I know - I am slow) Leanne, what I have found is often we can not comprehend what is strange or foreign to us. Often we feel if it is different it must be "bad" or "wrong." We seek something to validate our fears. Unfortunately proof texted scripture becomes that vehicle by which we find safety and security. Sometimes politics are used in the same fashion. Dangerously, the two get combined to really fight the differences that exist in people.
    What we try, as humans to do, is look at Christ and think, "Why can't everyone treat people like Jesus did." Christ had an advantage - He was God - God knows all of us before we were formed. So in Christ there is no difference; no strangeness.
    People are not God but we are capable of beginning to understand and know the nature of God and in that we find understanding of difference.
    Sadly, most folks would rather enjoy the comfort of hate rather than endure the discomfort of truly getting to know God.
    You have seen through my eyes and heard through my stories of what happens here in the South. I always held out hope that your area would be vastly different. I guess there are scared people everywhere. Ironically, these folks are the first to quote, "Love in God casts out all fear." Of course they probably mean something like fear of flying, fear of going to church, terrorists, not our brothers and sisters that are unlike us.

  4. love your last line....true, the Scripture applies to me only as much as I allow it to.