A Time To Refrain From Speaking

Rachel Held Evans posted an interview with Derek Webb on her blog. It includes the following wise statement:

I have simply tried to avoid giving short answers to questions for which there are no short answers.  And I know there is a real temptation in our culture that we must.  But that is a lie.  Just because someone asks doesn’t mean you have to answer, especially if goes against what feels like wisdom or against your conscience.  So I do think there can be moments to make bold public statements, but one must always do so in a way that is loving and measured, never cavalier.

And if you’re ever cornered into a complex situation, do what Jesus did: ask a follow-up.  Answer with a question. Make sure you understand what’s being asked and who is asking before you even consider answering.  Anything less is irresponsible and reckless, if not a destructive witness.

The blog Defeating the Dragons has some thoughts about what you should say to a recovering fundamentalist.

Bruce Gerencser and Sabio Lantz blogged about believing someone is going to hell.

Roger Olson discussed doubt. Aric Clark discussed the cop-out of Jesus’ perfection.


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  • Thanks for the mention. While I am an atheist, I do appreciate Derek Webb. He remains one of my favorite musicians. I love his honesty.

  • Can this work for getting out of tight spots as SBL presentations?

  • markmatson

    Boy this resonates. In my intro to bible class, trying to discuss the characterization of God in Genesis 15 (with the angels at oaks of Mamre, and the negotiation over Sodom), a student asked if I thought God really changed his mind, and whether he changed….

    How do you engage a real answer to such a question in a short period of time. I was tempted to open up my entire open-theistic perspective to contrast with what I suspect was my students’ very Westminster-like predestinationist view… but no. This was not the time or place.

    “Hold that thought till we get toward the end of the OT” I think was my reply.