Framing the Debate

Just a quick thought on discussing and debating issues. I have noticed in evangelical circles these days that a major hang up is: who gets to frame the debate. Once you have established the parameters, it suddenly becomes impossible to take a position outside the prescribed boundaries. For example, once we know what a liberal and a conservative looks like, you cannot mix the two, lest you pollute one or the other.

I don’t think inerrancy does justice to the Bible
that doesn’t mean I think the Bible is full of errors

I think that the pro-life movement has lost its focus on the real issue of women who feel abandoned
that doesn’t mean that I don’t think unborn lives are sacred

I don’t think the homosexuality question is cut and dry, black and white
that doesn’t mean that I don’t think through the meaning of numerous Biblical passages and the testimonies of men who were formerly gay

I think the environment is a very important issue for Christians
that doesn’t mean I care any less about Jesus, or other people for that matter

I think that many American churches are largely ineffective in drawing people closer to God and his kingdom
that doesn’t mean I’ve given up on “the Church,” just one manifestation of it that has had its day

I think that Jesus, God the Father, and God the Spirit have more authority than the Bible and that the Bible means nothing without them guiding us
that doesn’t mean I leave the Bible on my shelf

Those are just a few issues, but I think they illustrate how those with the power to frame debates can limit discussion and keep us from confronting the complexity of issues.

I think of Jesus and his evasiveness. “Are you the Messiah?” “Should we pay taxes?” “Shouldn’t you keep the Sabbath?” He didn’t answer the questions posed to him within the framework imposed upon him. He redefined the Sabbath. It wasn’t a matter of simply following rules, it was a matter of rediscovering rest and bringing restoration. The Messiah wasn’t about something only religious or something that was only political, the Messiah came to bring in God’s Kingdom to the world, a whole new kind of order and influence.

2 thoughts on “Framing the Debate

  1. Ed Post author

    Thanks Paul!
    Blogging is a great creative outlet for me.
    Do you have your own blog? If not, it’s a fun way to work out ideas and share them.

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