My head so often spins when I read the feed. I ask myself, “Scott, why do you put yourself through this?”
One tweet condemns what the next one commends. One post shuns a sinner that the other embraces, denying that they’re even sinning at all.
Both posts have the very best intentions, yet both bypass basic biblical truths to get there. Both have great points, but both have massive blind spots.
I willingly bring it on myself. I’ve chosen to follow writers with a broad diversity of theological perspectives. I’ve chosen to not insulate myself from people with whom I disagree.
I live and work in the real world, and the blogosphere is a great way for me to crawl inside the heads of people who can clearly articulate different world views than mine (which are also flawed). It helps me exercise grace and love when I actually meet people with those views. It helps me rehearse how I might dialogue with them in a spirit of love and gentleness. It also shows me where I need to change my views in view of Scripture—and I have.
But there’s one unfortunate observation I’ve made in reading so many of the perspectives out there:
People are pendulums.
We are trend-reversers. We are in-kinders. We are master over-correctors. We set our sights on the equal and opposite amplitude of whatever we despise, zooming right past the center of gravity.
Joy and I have talked a lot about this, both swingers in our own right. We both have a drive deep within us to grab that pendulum (whatever it is) with both hands and launch it in the opposite direction. Let’s combat authoritarianism with anarchy. Let’s combat legalism with lackadaisicalism. Let’s combat total refusal with total acceptance. Let’s combat ultra-this with ultra-that.
In all of this, we zoom past the middle. We don’t consider a third way.
Years ago, we had a pastor who structured many of his sermons in this way. In expounding a text, he would describe the opposite extremes to which people have applied it, with the best intentions of obeying it. Then he would call us toward what he called a “third way.” This third way considered the text against the backdrop of the whole Bible, and was careful not to over- or under-emphasize the passage, both in its narrower and broader contexts. I found this to be so refreshing, so counter-intuitive. So grounded in the center of gravity.
Will you join me in this self-examination? Is what I am passionately calling for an equal and opposite reaction to an injustice, error or extreme that has angered me? And could it be that I am committing the same error by pushing past the middle to an equal and opposite extreme that is also outside of what Scripture promises or permits?
Or, to put it simply, is there a third way here?