Thursday, September 18, 2008

Me? Smug?... Moi?

(Originally Published on 4/9/07. The one comment was deleted because I thought it was dated.)

"It is actually very hard, in life, to achieve real disagreement. Mutual misunderstanding is far more frequent." Michael Novak.

There are some who try to avoid all disagreement. They find it distasteful if they have to hear an argument, or to participate in one. Then there are those who thrive on argumentation. If they cannot find a controversy, they will stir one up themselves. There are those in academia who believe that intellectual discussion is made up primarily of screaming at your opponents until all who disagree are silent. I fall somewhere in the middle. I do not purposely forment strife, yet I often learn more from argumentation than from any other public discourse. There is something about a good debate that increases understanding faster than just a lecture. When I engage in expressing what I think, then the errors of my thinking can be exposed. I have even had the experience of expressing what I have silently thought, and in the act of expression, I realize just how wrong I am. There are many people who sit in Church week after week who say nothing. When they become more vocal, they realize how much of what they believe about God and His Word are wrong. I know this by profitable experience. Paul did not shy away from debate. He spent two years debating (or reasoning) in the School of Tyrannus. (Acts 19)
The benefits from the exchange of ideas is one of the reasons I have started this blog. I like to debate. There are issues concerning theology and spirituality which I have definite opinions on. I have not been very successful in seeking those who also appreciate a good debate within the Church. Some think that nothing is worth arguing about, so they gain the reputation for wisdom by refusing to open their mouths. Then there are those who are upset with the certainty in which I state what I believe. They say "My John! You certainly are sure of yourself. You are actually certain that you are right. Why don't you settle down now. You are upsetting the equilibrium we sooooooooo value."
A desire to learn through debate is one of the reasons I started "The Hand." There are some issues I have certainty on. There are also areas of truth that I am still grappling with. Especially in the area of theology. Why should this be when I am a seminary graduate? Seminary was my first true introduction to theology. My reading of it was for the purposes of passing exams. Yet the study of it has fired my imagination and brought me closer to the Lord. I need to not only read theology, but debate it. I need the input of those who have delved deeper into theology to correct my thinking. And if there is no agreement among parties, at least a mutual understanding among them can be achieved.
This brings me to ask a question. A reader of "The Hand" thinks that I betray a certain smugness in my posts. The person thinks I express too much certainty that my opinions are right. Do you agree? The Hand awaits your opinion. Yet The Hand may certain that you are wrong.

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