Theology is one of those topics where people can get really, really worked up. Josh Brown has posted on friendship and theology critiques. Though he’s focused on the response of emergent to it’s critics, I think he has hit on a really pertinent point for all Christians to consider when navigating theological differences. I’ll let him say it:
That’s why Julie, Helen, Tina, and Christy to name a few can push back, and push back hard against my thoughts . . . but can still be friends. Because they are generous, they are open, they are thoughtful, they are engaging. And somebody like Lisa can come in and be a robotic, disconnected nut job. Some are committed to friendship, learning, openness, and conversation. And some just want to be right.
And before you start pulling out a bunch of proof texting talking about loving your enemies and all that jazz . . . Jesus wasn’t so patient with the religious leaders of the day. He gave his real enemies . . . Pilot, Rome, and others a pass . . . they knew not what they did. But the religious leaders . . . I think it went something along the lines of BUZZ OFF.
That doesn’t mean we give up on all attempts at unity and ecumenism, but I think Brown hits on the need to evaluate where our disagreements are going. Are our critics only trying to force us to agree with them? Are we only trying to make our critics agree with us? Or are we both trying to learn from one another, help the other follow Jesus better, even if we disagree on the details. I suppose this is why I don’t really care about many critics of the emerging church: they’re just attacking and trying to force this discussion to capitulate to their views. I know I’ve done the same thing.
Neither really helps anyone follow Jesus better.
On another note, regarding my post about the sharp, edgy tone of blogs, I think my quote from Brown’s post proves my point!