When Christians Sling Mud

By default, I guess you would call me the owner of Start2Finish (not to mention the janitor). In the last several weeks, Start2Finish has added tons of awesome daily content to our site. But can I let you in on a secret? I don't agree with everything on the Start2Finish site. But I post it anyway. And I'd like to tell you why. America has just come to the merciful end of another campaign season. But it will be short-lived, since campaigning for the White House in 2016 will begin at any moment. Every election cycle reminds me that most Americans have forgotten how to engage in substantive, considerate debate on important topics.

So have a lot of Christians. Yes, let's all take an embarrassing, honest look in the mirror and evaluate ourselves.

Some of us have forgotten how to season our speech with salt, how to be loving and considerate with those who differ from us. Some Christians have forgotten how to disagree without being disagreeable. As the old joke goes, some Christians have transformed contending for the faith to being "contentious for the faith."

I find that sad.

If there is one thing I can say definitively about the millennial generation (of which I'm a part), it's that we don't like bullies or name-calling or the like. It's turns us off, no matter how sound the argument might be, or important the issue.

I don't agree with everything posted on the Start2Finish...though I guess I technically own Start2Finish. This has actually been a topic of conversation over the last two months as I have solicited authors to write for the site on a regular basis: "What if I want to post something that you don't agree with?"

They have a point.

In March 2013, I wrote what I thought was a very balanced article on the Christian and politics. The article essentially called for Christians to remember three things whenever they entered the political realm. I submitted the article for publication in a well-known magazine popular among the churches of Christ. It was rejected because, in the editor's words, it was "too controversial."

It was then that I realized that those I looked up to were too afraid to engage in healthy conversations about important issues, lest they be bullied by liberals or conservatives. In our political and religious climate, no one can express a viewpoint that differs from "the Tribe" without paying dearly for it.

I find that sad.

As I have recruited writers over the last 6-8 weeks, and as they have expressed concerns about writing/posting content that would offend me or other contributors to Start2Finish, I've explained to them that I have one rule.

If I or anyone else disagrees, we will come to you first and talk it out. Then we will publically talk it out, but always with a tone of respect, civility, and Christ-glorifying love.

In so doing, I hope that Start2Finish sets a standard for how Christians dialogue and debate the important issues of our time. I love truth, and I want others to love it and live it out. But not at the expense of my soul...not at the expense of me or others becoming a bully. I want Start2Finish to encourage the people of God to grow in their faith and understanding, always with a Bible in hand and prayer and praise on their lips.

The world is watching us, church. What do they see when you and I disagree? I hope they see differences being worked out in respect, civility, and sincere mutual love for one another. I hope they see Christ in us, and that Christ is therefore glorified.

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. ... Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. — 1 Cor. 13:1-3, 7-8

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