It is good to wait to speak until, one hopes, one has something worth saying. It has been a nice wait.
In contemporary terms, this is what religious — and especially theological — folks tell you when they want to tell you about God: come see God’s facebook page!
We can describe Him. What He likes. Or She, depending on who’s describing. What He doesn’t like. What movies He approves of. What political issues. Whether He’s pro-zombies or pro-pirates. Etc.
We can describe Him, but these different versions don’t match. There’s one hundred variations what God is like. Who are you going to believe? On what basis?
I can describe Him, tell all about Him. But knowledge about is head knowledge. Knowledge of, true experiential relational knowledge is of the heart.
I can describe my mother. But the older I get, the less certain I am that I truly know her.
Maybe you know about God. But do you know God? Have you seen Him face-to-face, and not just facebook-to-facebook? I will someday.
“Tell me all your thoughts on god, ’cause I’m on my way to see her….” — Dishwalla
What If You Had a Super-Power? Wait… You Already Have One.
I can’t tell you how many small group ice-breakers and conversations I’ve had centering on the topic of super-powers. And this isn’t just a conversation for the boys. Everyone loves this one. Who wouldn’t want to choose their super-power?
The sticking point in the mythos of any super-hero is that the hero never chooses his (or her) power. The power chooses the hero. It is never asked for. It is often rejected, neglected, and misused. Shoot, if you’re Spider-Man or the Hulk, your power doesn’t even work on command. “With great power comes great responsibility,” and responsibility is something our culture deals with poorly.
You have great power. You probably just didn’t know it. Blogging. At the push of a button, you can listen in on any number of people’s deepest thoughts and desires. You can do so without the interference of corporeal existence (it’s without your body, dude!). More importantly, you have effectively unlimited time to meditate your response. No more not listening. No more putting your foot in your mouth due to lack of forethought. Your words have the power to give life or to take it away, to encourage or to discourage. Choose them wisely.
What We Can Gain By Agreeing to Disagree
Most blog conversations, like most real-life conversations, represent like-minded individuals giving each other feedback. I love it when a friend of mine posts a comment along the lines of “What you said was awesome!” I can’t get enough of that. In fact, the blogosphere might have even more affirmation than real life. Maybe that’s why we love to be plugged in so much.
But what I really can’t get enough of: respectful disagreement expressed with clarity. No matter what your religio-political-philosophical worldview, I hope you can agree: we can learn a lot from each other, especially when we disagree.
I want your atheism to help me be a better Christian, showing me the ways in which my faith and practice are lacking. I want to see Buddhist Katy helping Mary Kay to be more Jewish. I want Michael Moore to help W. to be a better Republican. Why? Because if we’re ultimately concerned with pursuing what is true and good, we help each other in that pursuit, even if our conceptions of truth and good differ as much as our ideas for how to live in light of them.
This is probably easier to show than to tell. In the coming days I will be co-posting the first in a series of “Dialogs with an Atheist,” courtesy of Skeptigator. I guess he and I got bored with limiting ourselves to in-depth discussion with those who are like-minded.
Every disagreement is a challenge. Every challenge is an opportunity. The bottom line: I don’t want to agree with you; I want to understand you. If I can do that, I will have truly learned something and, I hope, gained a friend.