I came across this list from my friend Carson Clark. One thing I often end up repenting of is my zealous ways. I often let my zeal for the truth, for Orthodoxy, get in my way. It has burned bridges and hurt people. This I know. I’m a very stubborn person with my beliefs, but that does not mean I can’t be more gracious in how I present myself and my beliefs. I’m learning how to do so, but please be patience. I am a weak human being, a man filled with fault and weakness.
“A lot of people today who have strong convictions are not very civil and a lot of people who are civil don’t have very strong convictions. What we really need is convicted civility,” writes Richard Mouw. This is something I need to hear and practice. I am a strongly convicted person! I am not going to lie about that! I believe in having strong convictions. When I first entered into a certain professor’s class at Johnson he told me a couple days before that class started that he was looking forward to having me in class. He told me, “Jon, I’m looking forward to having you in my class. There’s too many pussies in this world that don’t stand up for what they believe!” I was blown away! But that speaks to who I am. I do stand up for what I believe. I am a vocal person, very outspoken! But doing so with respect, love, charity, and grace is a must. It doesn’t take a lot for me to be a convicted person, but it does take a lot to be skilled in communicating those convictions.
Mouw also said, “Too often in life we proceed with a hermeneutic of self-assuredness and criticism of those for whom we disagree rather than a hermeneutic of self-criticism and grace for others.” There’s a fine line between an Orthodox Christian, which says “right belief” in our very name, and knowing that we don’t know it all. That’s the beauty of Orthodoxy. There’s a tension between a Foundationalism and Post-Foundationalism so to speak with Orthodoxy. Tension between having right belief, but having mystery and paradox and not knowing it all. Orthodoxy has taught me that I do not know it all. It has taught me to first examine myself and my sins and to repent of them. It has taught me to focus on growing in Christ.
So that all being said I repent of sometimes not being one of these Christians:
Top 10 List of Things I love to Hear from Intellectually Honest, Humble Christians
10. I meant well, but I’ve been wrong about that.
9. I’d like to offer a little good-natured push-back.
8. While I still disagree, I have a better sense of where you’re coming from.
7. I let my experiences and emotions get in the way of the facts. My bad.
6. Wasn’t aware of that (fact, logical fallacy, etc.) before. Thanks.
5. Huh. Hadn’t thought of that before. I’ll have to consider it.
4. I stand by the content of what I said, but the tone wasn’t gracious. Sorry.
3. I’m confused but don’t want to assume. Can you please clarify what you mean?
2. Yeah, my perspective probably could use a little more nuance.
1. I’ve been thinking about what you said…
Forgive me if my zealous ways have led me to be the opposite of these. Let us all strive to be healthy and to have healthy ways of communicating.