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Monday, October 04, 2004

Language lessons

I am continually grieved by how we talk about each other in the church. We have become masters of the subtle (and not-so-subtle) put-down, the ridiculing snort, the label used to marginalize someone (e.g. literalist, revisionist). We have even come up with strangely anachronistic ideas of what an Anglican is, and promote little myths about others: e.g. evangelicals are dumb and not truly Anglican; anglo-catholics are a sick lot and a relic of the past; liberals don't care about Scripture and only want to kowtow to the cultural elites.

Our foe is either benighted or wicked or sick: if we stick to this story, then we don't need to listen to their reasons, we don't need to see them as human, we don't need to see ourselves in them, we don't need to agonize over whether or not we could be wrong. And if we keep telling the story that people are either liberal or conservative, that it's them or us, then we can have our nice black-and-white world where the other doesn't need to be engaged or taken seriously. We can assume power and force out the others, or just not listen to them; either way, we're insulated.

If you ask me, it's a recipe for damned smug self-righteousness and triumphalism, a table we seem to gather around especially when we're with like-minded people. But I don't think it's the right Table. It's certainly no credit to our faith or the gospel.

I do it too, I am not an outsider but very much an insider trying to be...what? Human? Is that too self-congratulatory? Probably.

But the more we live in this land of enmity, the more and more I feel as if we are in a Babylonian Captivity, far from our home -- and I don't want to learn to love exile.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Howlin' Hobbit said...

Terrific post! Your second paragraph could well be talking about politics here in the US (and maybe elsewhere too, but the US is where I live) rather than sectarian issues.

Give us an RSS feed, please? I'd love to get my elbow jogged when you post again.

Sunday, October 24, 2004 10:48:00 AM  
Blogger Jason said...

Thanks for your feedback. I'm an American, too, and I very much agree with you that it applies to our national politics as well; in fact, I preached on this connection in last Sunday's (10/27) sermon, which I will shortly post here.
As for an RSS feed, I'm glad to work on it, but I'm new to blogging, so it might take a bit.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004 6:34:00 PM  
Blogger Howlin' Hobbit said...

Your feed is working fine! Goodness, and three different ways to get to it. I just through in my feedburner URL and let the chips fall where they may. :-)

Thursday, October 28, 2004 5:18:00 AM  

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