Friday, July 25, 2008

When to Burn Someone At the Stake

What do you do when you disagree?

What about when the issue at stake--at least from your perspective--is a pretty important one?

Practice for some period of time in the Church's history was to burn the people who didn't agree with the standard orthodoxy. A we-know-you-are-going-to-hell-because-you-don't-agree-with-us-so-let-us-send-you-off-in-a-fitting-manner way of going about solving disagreements.
Nice.
And very endearing to the hearts of people everywhere, right?

A good friend and I were going back and forth via email about Brian MacLaren--somewhat of a lightning rod for the conservative set. We disagreed. Here was my take on how to handle our position(s).

I really don’t like labels (conservative, liberal, etc.), but I would say I am on the conservative “side” because I hold to all the creeds of the Church, believe in the primary authority of the Christian Scriptures, and believe and do my best to live like Jesus was raised bodily from the dead. If conservative means something else, then no, I’m probably not that (which is fine by me).

I do think you’re right that some in (
a certain group of thinkers) take it too far to the left, but then some on the far right take it too far too. So I guess it’s a matter of who you listen to…I want to be, as I said, for the truth, no matter who it comes from (i.e., “liberal” or “conservative”).

I hope this isn’t coming across like “I’m right and everybody who doesn’t agree with is wrong.” Because I don’t think that and don’t want to make people think that either. Tim Keller at Redeemer Presbyterian does about a good a job I know of dismantling the conservative vs. liberal thing in favor of the Gospel (that speaks to and judges both, by the way).

I want to be done with “labels” because they only alienate and keep people away from each other. And when you are away from each other, you can’t love each other.


So does any issue ever get big enough to part ways? Or is St Paul right when he says "love covers a multitude of sins?"

1 comment:

Juliana said...

I agree with your thoughts on labels. They do only divide people - causing us to "stake our territory" and say, "This is where I stand - period," and draw a line in the sand. This tends to also make people more susceptible to being indoctrinated and never examining the opposing point of view. When that happens, truth is no longer the goal, but instead the goal is "standing firm" in one's set beliefs. Truth should ALWAYS be what we seek, although it often gets pushed aside out of fear of challenging our set of beliefs. It's much easier (and more comfortable) to identify with a group or a label and accept the group's stands as our own.

As someone who has changed denominations from the one in which I was raised, I've come to see that the same thing can happen with denominational differences, as well. I've learned from experience that it's very easy to have your identity somehow wrapped up in that in a weird way.