Saturday, March 19, 2011

When is Opinion not Enough

I find myself thinking about this comment this week because of two different current debates in my world; heaven or hell, and homosexuality. Now that I have your attention, I just want to say that there are times when opinion isn't enough.

I'm sitting here as I type watching the NCAA tournament, the Florida/UCLA game to be specific, with my brackets filled out. NCAA brackets are choices based on opinions. Do these opinions matter when concerning issues in life; I say no. My rabid basketball friends from Kentucky, Duke, Ohio, or Kansas might not agree, but can we at least agree that in these cases, opinion is adequate. But that isn't always true.

The halftime report has just come on concerning the bombing taking place in Tripoli, Libya. There has been much discussion between multiple countries, opinions shared based on shared beliefs. There are differing opinions here as well, but they are based on a set of fundamental beliefs that are more important than how I fill out my brackets.

Regarding the debate about a book that we can now read, before we could read it, opinion just wasn't enough. Protection of doctrine, that often time is based on "opinion", or at least "interpretation" of texts, when done in a vacuum, or outside of community, just isn't enough. Especially when we really don't know what is said. But I'm not sure that matters anymore, does it? Or does it.

Regarding the conversation on homosexuality, can I just say that semantics matter. In regards to a topic this important and volatile, words used in a way to reflect opinions just aren't enough. Saying "defer", in place of "refer" (see article) really makes a difference when commenting about how we treat each other.

Let me explain why these thoughts today.

Our campus newspaper that is full of opinion (I think I can say that, since the University's stand on homosexuality was called opinion in the article), needs to be careful and wary to how words are used in our text-driven society. For instance, using words like "quarantine"(see article), or phrases like finding someone to "deal with him" (again, see article), can sensationalize and escalate an already difficult topic to discuss in evangelical circles. I don't want to think I'm indifferent to those struggling with gender identity, or with those choosing homosexuality outright, I'm just indifferent to bad journalism. I'm indifferent to the careless misuse of words to make a point. I'm indifferent to absolute claims based on ones opinion or choice. (note to self on both sides of the argument, since there are real people involved).

I wonder how Rob Bell felt when he was being banished from the orthodox church because of a two-minute video. I wonder how he felt about being quoted from a book that hadn't been released.

I also wonder what the banishers were thinking by their banishment. Doesn't something like this justify at least an e-mail or a phone call before going viral? Is this all we care about each other anymore? Am I misreading Matthew 7 and James 2? Somebody help me, cause I'm asking?

I think my greater concern is that we live in a time when we're content to swim around in a pool of opinion. It's my opinion against yours, so, like the Buffalo Springfield song says, "nobody's right if everybody's wrong".

Well, everyone can't be right, and everyone can't be wrong. I think that is a true statement, that happens to be more than just opinion, cause in things that matter most, opinion just isn't enough.

That's as much a caution to me, as it is to those reading and reading into what is being written here. May I just say, this is my blog, these are my opinions; I own them. The quotes here are taken directly from an article, or are my words. Can I also say, that I need you to be in this conversation with me. I can't do this on my own, because, what if my opinion is wrong? Then I'm boogered!

So, like Paul admonishes us all, we continue to work out our salvation with reverence (fear) and humility (trembling). Because in things that matter most, opinion is not enough. At least I'm aware that mine isn't.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Lent is here

It's grown apparent over the past week, with the blow up concerning a book that isn't even for sale yet, that the church is in need of reconciliation. I read this today, and hope that these words can begin to reshape the church, bringing us back to a place of humility, and realize that there is only one God who can do whatever he chooses, whenever he wants.

"O Lord! Is not this what I said while I was still in my own country? That is why I fled Tarshish at the beginning; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and ready to relent from punishing." (Jonah 4:2)

Remember how ticked off Jonah was at God because he "changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them; and he did not do it." (Jonah 3:10) Just a subtle reminder to us during the Lenten season, that God is God, and we are not.

May his Kingdom come to earth as it is in heaven. Sooner than later would be great, maybe before Rob Bell's book is out?! I'm just saying.