This is kind of the way that I feel about a lot of what I read from various sources. There are the self-proclaimed gatekeepers of evangelicalism, Albert Mohler, Owen Strachan, and others. These people are convinced that their understanding of Jesus and the Church is the only possible understanding. Any who would differ with them are on one slippery slope or another that inevitably leads to some disastrous outcome. They lead through fear and manipulation.
There are others, like Fred Clark and Tony Jones who are more than willing to point out the deficiencies of Mohler and company. But, they are also willing to point out their own deficiencies. That's kind of refreshing, but it's still one curd calling another curd a curd.
There are still others who simply refuse to get involved. They ignore the other curds in the bowl. I think of much of the Orthodox faith. They are content to play by themselves.
Then there are folks like Brian McLaren and Justin Lee. These people can see the distinctions between people and their beliefs. They use their experience as a guide to what they think and believe. Both, but especially Lee, are gracious toward others. Even when that other really deserves to get smacked up-side the head. People like these give me some hope for us as a species.
One of the things that we tend to miss in all of the posturing and arguing is how much we really need each other. In the so-called 'bigger picture,' we are all still fellow travelers on this big ol' marble in space. According to the Bible, we have are co-workers in the field of Yahweh. So, we can be different and still united. I think they call that diversity.
Anyway, all that to get to this. I was reading a poem by Walt Whitman this morning. He was by no means a devout follower of Christ. Yet, he seemed to understand our need for one another better than most of us who do claim to follow Yeshua. His poem, "Stronger Lessons"...
Have you learn'd lessons only of those who admired you,Maybe we do need to stop and take a closer look at those other curds. We may find ourselves in the process.
and were tender with you, and stood aside for you?
Have you not learn'd great lessons from those who reject
you, and brace themselves against you? or who treat you
with contempt, or dispute the passage with you?