Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Amazing. . .

I clicked on my low budget counter only to find that at least 4.8 million folks have tuned into this blog since I began it.  I did not have counter on it at first.  I do not have a way to count how many read via Twitter or Instagram or other means by which the blog posts are disseminated.  It is shocking and humbling that so many are curious about whatever thought is rambling around in my head today.

That said, I fear that the nature of theological conversation has changed and it is now more difficult than ever to speak and to listen.  While many resonate with what I write, others complain about it.  That is all well and good.  I have no corner on wisdom nor am I the only voice on the block.  Feel free to disagree.  What troubles me is that so much of the disagreement is leveled less at the thrust of what I am saying than a particular nuance -- how I am saying it.  I fear that this is the shape of most theological conversations today.  We immediately jump on how something is said even though we may generally agree with the gist of what is said.  That says something about how we read and how we listen.

My method of thinking is probably different than others.  I do not put out fully formed opinions that have become conclusions no longer open to change.  The way I think is to put things out there and sometimes I even end up disagreeing with myself.  This is, in my view, the point of theological conversation.  We speak not only when there is only a conclusion but we speak to form those conclusions.  Maybe this is an old way of looking at things.  I recall debate classes in high school and college where you would open a piece of paper and have to be pro or con a certain question on the spot.  It was literally thinking out loud.  I guess that is still what I do.  I think out loud, or, in this case, in digital ink.

There are those who think that this methodology is false -- we only speak when we have thoroughly vetted our conclusions and there is no more room to change them.  Maybe that is the way some folks do it.  It is not the way I do it.  I enjoy a good conversation.  I hate it when somebody gets a burr in their bonnet over a word or a phrase taken out of context.  I despise it when people use what I have written to attack me or a straw man of their own making or for the sake of old fashioned demagoguery.  Those things are much in fashion today but the end conversations and do not begin or further them.

If you read this blog you know that I harbor no thoughts of the idea that we each have bits and pieces of the truth which, if we added them together, we would have the whole truth.  The whole truth is Christ alone, His Word alone, and the witness of honest and catholic tradition to that Word and and to Christ.  But theological conversation ought not be to pick apart that Word or to dissect Christ but to unpack that Word and apply it to the day in which we live, to listen to Christ so that we may speak Christ to those around us, and to add to the glorious and rich heritage of faithful confessors who went before us.

I am still here and still reading and still thinking.  So I will probably still be writing.  The goals of my meandering thoughts are to give you something to think about and to encourage a larger conversation.  If that is the fruit of it all, I will be happy.

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