Monday, December 04, 2006

A Nurtured Culture of Christian Disagreement

There's an interesting conversation in comments going on over at Steve McCoy's site about blogging and Christian disagreement. The first comment was by Tim Keller:

"After several years of reading blogs I conclude that these sharp exchanges between people with different points of view almost always generate far, far more heat than light. Blogs seem to best [sic] for helping like-minded people to share information and to mildly revise one another's thinking. Alan Jacobs (in an article on weblogs in May/June 2006 Books and Culture) said that blogs are 'the friend of information, but the enemy of thought.' I absolutely love blogs for getting news and opinion of all kinds, but the 'dialogues' are generally unhelpful. I'm sure everyone can point to one or two exceptions. But most of these interactions toward the pro- and anti-emergent caucuses usually just polarize people."

I think that this is generally true, especially concerning "sharp exchanges." I also think that these types of exchanges also don't generally work in face-to-face, in print, and other contexts. But there's no question that Christian disagreement is different in different forums. Witness, for example, the recent blogospheric explosion over Mark Driscoll's comments about the Ted Haggard situation but then its face-to-face resolution.

However, at times, we were able to have good discussions around topics on which we disagreed on the faithmaps discussion group before it disbanded a few months back after 5 years.

It has been my experience that mutually beneficial discussion around matters of disagreement are possible under two circumstances (and - ideally - both):

  • when both participants have a substantial amount of spiritual maturity, and/or

  • when the environment is well-moderated with a nurtured culture of Christian disagreement.
We've blogged and written extensively about such a culture here, and in the articles and posts linked to at the end of that post.

David Wayne just announced that he and I are working on an upcoming project to serve both the reformed and emerging communities. On that project, it is our intention to provide a context for just such a nurtured culture of Christian disagreement.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

...people with different points of view almost always generate far, far more heat than light.

That's great! Blogs remind me of drum forums with threads titled, "Who's the best rock drummer?"

Yet, I am in a great drum forum with excellent mods. Again, I'm back to my leadership soapbox.

It can happen w/SS at the helm!