Humility In Conversation
Hey church, Nate here. I want to share with you something that has been heavy on my heart over the past couple of days and I'm titling it humility in conversation. C.S. Lewis once said, and he is quoting somebody in this, but he once said "In primary issues..." (with regard to the church) "In primary issues unity, in secondary issues liberty and in all things charity." This is a fantastic statement for a couple of reasons. Let me walk you through them. Number one in essential things we do need to have unity. The scripture tells us that we are going to be known in the world by our love for one another, which results in unity. Our love for one another, our care for one another, the affecting of the new creation inside of us now lived out in the world. So it's very powerful that in primary things we should be unified. In secondary things we need to have liberty. The scripture also tells us that we see through a glass darkly. Not one of us has a full understanding or a full perspective on all of life. Definitely not on all of the study of God (theology). It would be very arrogant to assert such things. Now there is no doubt that this is where the great divide happens. Between what is primary and what is secondary. There are many people who want to make secondary issues primary, and they will die on those hills and therefore not be unified with people. Or there are people who want to relegate primary issues into the secondary or into other realms. Right? They want to push them off or demote them, so that they don't have to contend with them. And that debate is going to continue on. It still has to be governed by humility inside of our conversations. So we have to keep (looking) back at this idea. So on primary we need to have unity, because we're going to be known by our lover for one another. On secondary issues we need to be known for liberty because all of a see through a glass darkly. None of us have the corner market on truth or understanding of things. We all have a source to go to, we just don't all have the understanding of those truths. And then lastly Lewis says that in all things we need to have charity. It's amazing in scripture it tells us that we are to be kind to everyone and especially those of the household of faith. This is a marker of the covenant people of God in the new testament. This is a marker of the church. That we are kind to all people, especially the household of God. In the Old Testament you had Israel who, we can argue, that the neighborly effect was those who were brought into the community, into the people of God and so they were neighbors and that the widows, and the orphans, and that the poor were all within the community of Israel. And this is true. In the new testament that is true plus more. Jesus argues at one point when he says, even sinners take care of this and that that belong to themselves. Their own family members, their own relatives, their own lives, even they do that. But you as Christians you're supposed to be beyond this. You have a bigger spectrum. And so in all things we need to have charity. Now this is a concept that is foreign to us but to be charitable to somebody, to be gracious to them although they don't earn anything necessarily, right. We send money to charity. We give money to charity. And that is that we're just giving freely. And so when it comes to all things we really need to be charitable in our discussions. We do not have to agree, and we should never speak in such terms as to say that charity equates to acceptance or agreement of a thing. Instead it's just charity. We're just, we're allowing people the same benefit that they allow us and that is to think and to process the way we do. But all of our conversations have to result or have to emanate from a place of humility. And we need that because this is how conversation continues versus how conversation is cut off. When there is a high level of pride, and there is an arrogance and there is an immobility on certain peoples behalf, and I've been here so if you're person who's had a conversation with me and you feel that that is exactly what I've done I apologize deeply for that. That's not the point. That's not what I intended but that's what happens a lot of times with us as people. So if we have pride, if we have arrogance all the sudden it shuts down a conversation. Yet there's humility and seeking understanding and trying to discover points of view it does not mean that the conversation will not end in a stalemate or it can progress but it will do so on terms of peace. On terms of genuine charity among people and we will be able to move forward and learn. As, you know, maybe we learn a greater defense of our own case, or maybe we learn that our case was shaky and it needed some help. But the idea is that we've gotta move forward in humility. I think about our wisdom and our understanding on a spectrum ok. And that is that at any given point, talking about any given subject we fall at different points of the spectrum than other people. Now, it's really fun when you get two people on the same subject, at the same level on the spectrum of their understanding of a thing that differ and they can actually do point and counterpoint. They can really discuss the nuances of a thing. For me that's exciting (I know... I'm a geek) but that's exciting to me because I want to be that person someday. And I want to grow into that. And i want to discuss deeper ideas. And I'm a very open minded person at least in my personality and my psychology, a very open minded person. Which lends me to challenging old systems of belief and old ideas and not really losing my faith or worry about it. Now I know that that disrupts other people and it affect them badly, but it doesn't me. So I love that idea. But on this spectrum of understanding and knowledge what I often find happens is that we have the armchair quarterback effect. You all know what I'm talking about. That's the person who on their couch is yelling at the television screen and telling them how they should run the plays, having no working knowledge of the team, of the coaching staff, of the teams philosophy of the other team that they're playing. They know nothing but they think they do, right? In faith and in theology and even in just general logic and wisdom inside of our world often times what I find is that we have a lot of armchair quarterbacks yelling at the people who've given their lives to study something or certain ideas.
Or what we have is armchair quarterbacks fighting with each other, meanwhile neither of which ever walk out on to the field. I hope you're tracking with this word picture here, this analogy that I'm using. But we have people arguing. I see it on YouTube. I see it in blogposts. I see it on, especially in the comments section of different threads and ideas. The people who have limited skin in the game (if you will) arguing about things and they use every bad tactic possible. You know, ad hominem (name calling), all of these different logical fallacies that they're just throwing out there and it's just really problematic.
So where am I going with that? It really comes back to, if we would all maintain a sense of humility that is if we knew where we landed on the spectrum at any given time about any given subject it would probably change a great deal about how we talk to each other and about how we move forward.
I'm no where near this yet. I'm striving deeply to get there. But I felt like in the culture we live in both in a secular culture and in a spiritual culture we have got to get to a place where we can have legitimate conversations that are laced with humility, that are driven by humility, an honest look at ourselves, where we land on the spectrum and how much knowledge and information we truly have. Seeing the other person rightly, if they are smarter or more wise or more studied then coming at them with legitimate humility and saying, "Hey I get that you understand this, help me to understand." If we could do that I think it would absolutely change the game.
Now nothing that I've said today is novel or new. I know that many people have said these things. I just feel like our community and our church need to hear these things restated and maybe directed towards us, towards you and of course everything I'm saying is directed towards me as well. But directed towards you so that we can get better at what we do. It would be amazing if people said of Pierce Point Community Church that this is a group of people that in the essentials they have unity, in secondary matters they have liberty, in all things they have charity, because, because they're marked by love for one another.
That's my point today. I'd love to know your thoughts. I'd love to hear maybe your rendering of this argument, of this idea. And I'd also love to have comments on what subjects you find yourself in discussions about that you would love to hear a very well informed viewpoint on. So that we can begin talking about even harder issues in a more humble way.
I appreciate you listening. I hope you have a great day and I'll see you tomorrow!