Dr. Barry Black, Chaplain of the Senate, has emerged as a voice of reason during the government shutdown. The Huffington Post began referencing the prayers last week. Black is quoted saying, “Lord save us from the madness.” Then following up with the petition, “…deliver us from the hypocrisy of attempting to sound reasonable while being unreasonable.”
The government shutdown can teach followers of Christ. Now more than ever, people have the platform to share their thoughts and opinions. Sermons, articles, interviews, and blog posts have become the spaces air disagreements and opinions. Ultimately, has platform brought the body of Christ closer together or divided sects of Christianity?
In my attempt to understand opinions, agreeing, and disagreeing, I have few questions for those of us who communicate within Christianity:
1. How does stating “but” and/or “even though” affect our communication?
Christian writers follow the pattern of state an agreement with a person and then subtly use “but” or “even though” to reference the area of disagreement with a person. This pattern seems to exacerbate the disagreement over the area of agreement. Why not keep the whole tone of the article positive? Even if the author or speaker’s motive is to agree, do we need to add the “but” or “even though?”
2. Do we really need to bring up every point of contention?
It you attended a Christian college, more than likely you can remember the late night debates on theological or doctrinal issues. Often, the fight was not about the issue but about the fight. So, is worth bring an issue of disagreement to the public forum? Often, Christian leaders can act like a filter to their followers as opposed to letting them think. Not every issue seems worth fighting.
3. Are we already stating the obvious?
If you have a platform where you share your beliefs and opinions, do you need to keep vocalizing them? Certain things should be brought up. My English teacher use to write “RD” on my papers- standing for redundant.
4. How can we love our neighbor in public disagreement?
What does it look to disagree on a theological issue without damaging a person? Part of embodying Christ means coming together with people who have no reason to come together through the Gospel.
Chaplain Barry Black will come to the Senate for prayer this morning. Perhaps, the way he has shepherded his parish can act as an example for those of us who follow Christ. “Lord save us from the madness,” and “…deliver us from the hypocrisy of attempting to sound reasonable while being unreasonable.”