This morning I listened to a podcast, Newsworthy with Norsworthy, where Luke Norsworthy was interviewing David Fitch, author of The Church of Us vs. Them. Norsworthy was maddeningly frustrating as usual with his banter about football’s supremacy over ice hockey and Texas over Canada and certain baseball teams over others. However, when Fitch could get a word in edgewise, he had some interesting things to say.
I’m glad I listened to the podcast—I’m glad I listen to Newsworthy with Norsworthy—it provides me a different, mostly intelligent perspective on issues facing the church and the body of Christ as it interfaces with contemporary culture. I don’t always agree with the guests, especially on issues of sexuality, but I almost always find some wisdom in what they have to say.
Fitch was a guest with which I disagreed on his “traditionalist” stance on homosexuality, but what he was saying about how a church body can come together to make decisions on hot topic “issues” was interesting. Fitch maintains that people are quick to adopt identities that tend to get in the way of dialogue by making people of a certain identity fight another identity for power. He decries the impulse to win. Of course, this takes a swipe at identity politics as a valid endeavor, but I like his alternative a little: heart-to-heart, face-to-face conversations with those people who are affected. Dialogue before determining doctrine.
Of course, what Fitch seems not to be mindful of is the decades of dialogue that have been going on around issues of sexuality and the fact that churches have been painfully slow in having the dialogue, and have used calls for dialogue as a delaying tactic when people’s lives have been at stake, but if he believes this in dialogue in good faith, I can go along with that. I will, again say that much dialogue has been entertained or issue of sexuality would never have come to the forefront. It’s not like people who affirm a diversity of sexualities and genders and family arrangements woke up overnight in power and started passing edicts to be affirming all of a sudden! Plus, there is the aspect of real harm being done to real people in real time with things existing as they are. It reminds me of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s, teachings about the questionable role of the moderate stance in the civil rights struggle. Perhaps the solution is a both-and.
But more dialogue can’t hurt so long as it is not used as a delaying tactic to forestall any change—and so long as hurting people quickly get the succor they need.
What do you think? I’d like to hear your thoughts on how these ideas might be applied to other differences among the body of Christ (or in our body politic).
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