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Hey Frank, Just happened across you from Kurt Willems’ blog. I really appreciate this post. I, too, find myself excluded by both the right and left “wings,” for some of the same reasons you cite, and for some different ones. I wouldn’t make exactly the same list you do, and I doubt we’d fully agree about a couple of the points on your list. If I were to add two to your list, the Right wouldn’t like my thoughts on Biblical economics, and the left definitely doesn’t like where I come out on homosexuality and the church. Plus I strongly affirm your comments about the consistent-life ethic. Thanks!
Great post. On most points I’m in agreement with you. I’ve read works from all these writers: N.T. Wright, John MacArthur, Rick Warren and F.F. Bruce. I know some Christians who steer clear of those authors they feel are “not correct in their beliefs.” I prefer to read and decide for myself. I grew up reading William Barclay (my dad’s favorite commentary writer.) I still love Barclay, but their are those who think he’s ghastly because of some of his views. Thanks. Annette of A Well-Watered Garden
Thanks for your comment. You have a point. Though I’m sure Warren isn’t saying that we used to lie to each other and that’s a good thing. To his mind, barring the exceptions you cite, the rhetoric is less civil overall. But since he’s pretty inaccessible these days, we can’t know what specifics he would cite to support his point. (He and I have talked before about other matters, but he’s not interested in this particular conversation as I’ve asked him to discuss it recently.)
Frank, I appreciate your post and I like your reasoning for why you don’t feel a part of either “the right” or “the left”. I did, however, have a problem with your use of the Rick Warren quote at the bottom of the post. I think Mr. Warren fundamentally misrepresents history when he argues that we need a “return to civility”. This assumes that our political discourse has ever truly been civil.
I think we forget that in our nations history a former Vice-President, Aaron Burr, shot and killed a former Secretary of Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, in a duel over political disagreements. We also live in a country where in 1856 Senator Charles Sumner was nearly beat to death by Congressman Preston Brooks on the floor of the Senate. Then we fought a war over political and ideological divisions. In the 1960s John F. Kennedy was widely and publicly denounced because of his Catholic faith. If anything, the political rhetoric of actual politicians has calmed down in recent times. This belief that we used to be civil is really just an argument that we used to lie to each other better. I don’t think that’s actual civility. I think we’re doing much better.
Just read any Genesis commentary by a non-evangelical scholar and the opposing view is taken. Though I believe he gives the other view in his book and then responds to it. Contrary to popular opinion, I wasn’t present during Adam’s day so I can’t give you any first-hand evidence. 😉
I’ll look into it, but I’d like to hear the other side.
I don’t discuss this in any detail as it’s outside my burden. But if you click the link on that particular statement, you’ll find a book written by an OT scholar which argues that Adam was a real, historic person. He goes into the controversy and articulates his position.
Ok. I’ve always been a literal bible reader, but recently have considered the idea that maybe some scriptures are metaphors…. However, its a brand new thought to me and quite frankly makes me really nervous to even consider. So, I’ve notices a few hints here and there that some Characters in the bible might not be historic people who actually walked the Earth. I would normally just outright disagree, but I really want to understand this view… ” 9.There are still many first-rate scholars who argue that there are sound historical and scientific reasons for believing that Adam was a real, historical person. And it is wrong to ridicule and scorn them.” Is this explained in any of your books? A quick read in a blog perhaps? Thanks Frank. I’m looking forward to gaining some understanding here.
Well, he doesn’t get around enough or his audiences are either uninformed or too timed to answer. I’ve never heard him speak myself nor have I ever shared the platform with him. There are plenty of people who are filling those shoes. But there should be more.
I was restating, not very clearly as I read back through my comment, what Mr. Guinness mentioned in his speech. He was saying something to the degree that when he travels on speaking engagements he asks the audience who fits the bill of standing above the fray, etc., and to this day he has never received one person’s name.
Thx. for the comment. Good thoughts, though I don’t think it’s accurate to say “NO ONE is standing above the fray, resisting the urge to bicker, etc.” I think it’s more accurate to say that there needs to be more who are setting this standard and example.
I feel more and more that this idea of a loss of civility is an imperative one to understand. We are living in an age of crisis, both inside and outside the church. The fact that no one can agree to disagree agreeably only agitates the issue.
Os Guinness recently spoke at Socrates in the City, an event put on by Eric Metaxas, about this very thing. One of his points was the fact that we have a vacuum in the area of leadership. No one is standing above the fray, resisting the urge to bicker and rediscovering the word “compromise.”
Until we see leaders doing this and people holding them accountable for doing it, we will continue the march to polarization.
Typo noted and fixed. I thought the UM is incredibly diverse.
I understand the problem of non-adoption quite well. Being an evangelical United Methodist pushes me into that corner.