Adventist Media Response and Conversation

Saturday, April 21, 2007

A Conflict of Ideas

Today at Sabbath School one of the few people who read my blog said that he thought I was too hard in my article on Sanctuary Truth by Jennifer Jill Schwirzer. He said it diminishes me to use the word “pathetic” about the author even though her article was so full of holes. I could not recall using the word “pathetic” in the article so I searched it in Word today and see that indeed I did not use that word. Now maybe I am becoming such a wordsmith that my impression of the article came through that it was pathetic but if that is the case I did so without actually saying so.

I don’t know that he has ever heard me use the word pathetic but I do like the word as its meaning is so evocative:

1. Causing or evoking pity, sympathetic sadness, sorrow, etc.; pitiful; pitiable: a pathetic letter; a pathetic sight.

2. Affecting or moving the feelings

3. Pertaining to or caused by the feelings.

4. Miserably or contemptibly inadequate: In return for our investment we get a pathetic three percent interest.From

One of the hardest parts about confrontation whether virtual or actual is that when we address ideas we are of necessity addressing the people who have those ideas. The ideas don’t exist on their own, they are the product of someone’s mind and they may be deeply held ideas. Many times I have come across people whose ideas are so deeply held that they will not allow themselves or anyone else to question their ideas and in some cases the people will not even look at anything that may refute their ideas. As Christians this becomes even more delicate in that we often have to disagree with other Christians about things that are important to them as well as ourselves yet they are still our brothers and sisters; fellow travelers on the road to God. I think this leads a lot of Christians to withdraw from most discussions. Maybe that explains the longevity of Sermon style presentations, no discussion no other ideas just one person’s thoughts holding sway over all the other possibilities. It provides the semblance of unity and spiritually even when they may not exist.

A carefully scripted presentation that is the typical church service is not the reality of human life. In fact growth in understanding is often predicated upon a conflict within our own ideas. Being shown to be wrong is possibly the biggest such conflict. Those nasty little red check marks many of us grew up with in school, though even those pale in significance when compared to the mistake where actual harm came to someone or something because we acted wrongly. We do learn through our mistakes.

In the market place of ideas some will fall away, some will be trampled to death and some will be embraced and vindicated. The market place of ideas does not deal in the worth of the person as a person, or as a child of God.

Maybe this blog should be titled “Respectfully Disagree” because this blog most often deals with statements and opinions within Adventism with which I disagree. But it is not as it covers even more then where I or others disagree. It is about the conversations which should be taking place in the Adventist community even when in actuality they don’t take place. It is a place where ideas are explored and examined not the personalities of the producers of the ideas. A fine line perhaps but a necessary one.

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