In my early blogging days, maybe around four years ago, I ran into this phenomena called blogging, and I began to run into "Christian" blogs. Of course anyone can start a blog, and there are numerous blogs like my own, which have minimal blog traffic, at least comment-wise.
I soon ran into Christian blogs which either had some comment traffic, or some which spent alot of time taking other Christians to task for not being true to God's word. Of course there's a place for correcting each other, but such blogs were all about just how lukewarm and rancid Christians had become, and just how error prone Christian leaders are.
I would leave my comments on such blogs, or in such discussions, challenging some of the assumptions made. But seeking to do so in a civil manner. Finally, I may have been about ready to give up blogging, or at least set it to the side, when I ran into Scot McKnight's Jesus Creed. I already appreciated Scot McKnight quite a bit, having read his two commentaries in the NIV Application Commentary series, on 1 Peter and Galatians. I found this blog not only an opportunity to keep learning, and learning alot, but a place of civil and loving discourse. There was plenty of disagreement on the blog, but most of the time it was done with words carefully chosen. Sometimes Scot would moderate in various ways, always making sure the thread was one of not only seeking truth, but of doing so in grace.
When Christians disagree, it's important for us to really hear each other out. We tend to easily move into a debate mode which we could possibly win, without really proving we have the better case. And that ends up being about who is right. This leaves "winners" and "losers" and all too often neither may be that close to the truth. But even if the winner of the debate is closer to the truth, at what expense?
Is there a place for debate, even vigorous debate in the midst of discussion? Of course there is, Paul employed it in Acts (and Apollos), and the early church fathers on their way to hammering out the creeds. In the midst of doing so, we may need to take back some of our words, just as I did this morning on my own blog (comment #12). We need to listen well to what the other is saying, and then present our case.
When Christians discuss issues, oftentimes we find we can learn quite a bit from the other side which we will need to account for. We may end up altering or refining our own view in the process.
As I get older, I really like to steer away from areas in which we Christians disagree, because I believe what we have in Jesus and in God's kingdom in Jesus is so much more important and central. But with theology being in the flux in which it's in today, there's bound to be some differences among us, differences on how to look at difficult issues.
I'm thankful to be doing so with people who adhere to and follow the Jesus creed. So that at the end of the day, it's really not about who won or lost, or who was right, but about us all following Jesus- even when, in this life, we don't see eye to eye on everything.
Just a few thoughts on this. What would anyone like to add here?