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November 1, 2010 / compassioninpolitics

The Polarization of Christian Punditry

Its sad that Christian writers and theologians so often follow the patterns of the world. I wish we could collectively rise about it all….but also ego and pride and the modern quest for speed certainly hinder us.

We see behaviour and think we can deduce intents which **might** give rise to those behaviors. Haven’t the failed hypothoesis’ of so many psychologists, sociologists, and anthropologists who assumed a given cause, but found another after testing their hypothesis proven this model to be faulty. (at least the media has the honest and openness to ask the person in question about the incident…and they are on a 24 hour news cycle–which often means the deadline is 6 hours away rather than 6 days) Hasn’t this practice in general been defunct since the time of Puritan witch hunts?

I’m probably as guilty as any….I try to at least see the other side–to practice tolerance, understanding, and listening before pouncing like a tiger to extract blood.

I try to at least framing my assumptions as best guesses rather than 100% the truth. I think another way to do this is obviously to speak to your bias or in humility….or to show both possible sides….or to announce to the world that this is a hunch or a best-guess or your feeling at the moment…. I think it feels so good….so powerful to make universal pronouncements….and to roll them off the presses as quickly as possible that we fail to sit and think–is there another side to the story???? If we are to love our neighbor….I find this to be one of the only (although not exclusive) solutions.

This is something I struggle with for sure–and I honestly think the traditional (meaning presses which print on paper or other wood products in bricks and mortar buildings) and mainstream press perhaps has a larger responsibility here due to its distribution. (I honestly don’t know). But I think we can certainly make steps in the right direction by toning our accusations and stridency down…

Again…could be wrong….but I think there might just be something to this.

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  1. compassioninpolitics / Nov 17 2010 7:43 am

    A couple of other thoughts… telling BOTH sides of the story (ie explain the good & the bad & questionable). Anything less is a partial take on the truth…. A full criticism would tell the story with more layers and more context.

    Anything less is settling for the worlds standards of insight and punditry. And I know we’re better than than or at least with all of my being I hope that we’re better than that.

    No one except God has the monopoly on truth. Period. Telling both sides and maintaining . Cutting with the knife of criticism may feel gratifying…may feel fulfilling….like winning a short argument with your wife or significant other….but I don’t know if I would label it “Christian.”

    I think that pastors can do a better job….I think if they want to do this they now have the opportunity to provide podcast, video, or blog content which provides context to their lessons (when lessons might run to 40 to 45 minutes vs. a traditional 25 to 30 minutes if the full story was told)

    Satan uses these types of dispute against the church….he uses the system of the world against us precisely to create animosity and radical disagreement (via appearance and spiteful words)

    As a side note–I worry–as I think I pointed out above–that much criticism seems to impart an intent, when I think most authors and pastors and so-called thought leaders are struggling just like you and are trying to point people to Jesus–sure they’re are problems that need to be pointed out and highlighted–but not with such rhetorical brutality. (in fact, if some of my rhetoric above was too harsh…please forgive. it was only intended to be illustrative….I hope it only serves to provoke positive re-examination and a positive direction in the hearts, minds, and deeds of the people of God).

    Or maybe come context for the criticism–because what you do with that information is a whole other question which is often left out of the picture.

    I’m probably guilt of some of this (I might even be too soft on certain authors)….but I think that some other way has to better than this tabloid-esque hit pieces that cultivate animosity and dissention and probably even hate. I’m not sure God called us to that….

    Whats your take on it?

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