Finally, this is done. This is the last post in a three-part series that’s been walking through my development as a thinker and feeler in this world. The first part, at its core, was about the culture and world around me as I grew up that helped cultivate the arrogance I still war against inside me. The second part was about the things that have humbled me and showed me my finitude. So where does that leave me now; and why does it warrant this little series?
The confluence of all of these forces (of arrogance and humbling) has made a very interesting creature out of me as of late. A recent trip back home to visit my parents found me getting into several vehement fights with them over (of all things) politics. It’s not even that I disagree with them very much! It was mainly a frustration over just how unwavering and (I felt) naively arrogant their commitment to these ideas were. In short, I was getting mad that they seemed to allow no room for disagreement or for them to be wrong. A couple of times my Dad asked me, well what do you think? And I realized I had no answer. All I knew was that no one could know so surely what was right. Why? Because God had showed me in the past several years that I couldn’t. And if I (of all people) couldn’t know with certainty, then surely no one else out there could, right? (P.S.- that was sarcasm) It all culminated in a moment where my dad pretty much said that my writing had been steadily losing it’s quality ever since the “pinnacle of my writing”: a post I wrote called “On Holy Week, Suicidal Ideations, & My Heart“.
I realized in my subsequent processing of that weekend that I have let the humblings I was brought through in my life turn me into the type of postmodern man my modernist extremist friends and leaders always warned me of: the logically inconsistent man who knows he can’t know; who stood for very little; who valued doubt as the highest ideal; who was excellent at the deconstruction of ideas, but was either too naive or too fearful to articulate an alternative vision. How did I get here? For me, it was fear (see the first post in the series). Show an arrogant, insecure man that he has been wrong so often in his life, and you will find a man that grows arrogant, even in being wrong and not knowing. You will also find a man that doesn’t really say what he really thinks but on a few issues.
I feel like this process really began shortly after I entered seminary and realized just how much I thought knew–but didn’t. Looking back on my blog posts, it looks like this began to grip my heart around then. It was with my two part series about seminary and the nature of truth (Part 1, Part 2) that I think I started to make this turn. After that, you see a slow decent away from opinionated articles, to more light commentary and “hints” at what I really think about the issues. Sure, you see the occasional opinionated article about Politics, the oil spill, the health care bill, John Piper and porn, Transgenderism, Evolution (here & here), and State-Sanctioned torture but even these mostly play it safe and don’t stray too much from the thoughts and opinions of my primary audience. I would mainly point people to other resources and give vague answers to vague questions and merely give light commentary to what I may actually think on an issue. It drove my parents nuts: I would send emails to them on political issues consisting of just a link to an article accompanied with the subject line reading, simply, “thoughts?”.
Anyway, as I said, this move away from actually expressing myself–especially on things that would be especially “controversial”–stemmed from a deep fear; not necessarily a fear of people not liking what I would say and pushing back, but rather a fear that, once again, I would eventually be shown wrong. And this wasn’t simply a fear that I, of all people, would possibly be shown wrong; it was more that I was terrified of having put stuff out there that could harm people, persuade people towards falsehoods, or (worse yet) dishonor my God and His People in some way. Once more (hearkening back to part 1 of this series), it was a terror that I would disappoint my God due to the shortcomings in my intellectual content concerning Him and this life.
And so we have come full circle.
So how do I respond to these gracious ruminations and illuminations of my fear? The same way we do in every area of the Christian life: look to my Christ, trust Him, and walk out into new life–with humility. I must trust that He has providentially ordered all things unto His purposes–including my intellectual shortcomings and wrong thoughts–and then step out in bold humility to proclaim where He has me now. And so, I really would like to take this blog in a much more opinionated direction. Not necessarily for controversy’s sake, but simply to say what I mean and why I mean it. I want to my honest with my readers and those that may come into this blog’s space.
So, in the coming months and years, I really want to hit the topics that concern us all: homosexuality, abortion, theology, relationships, party politics, “Christian politics”, injustice, science, the environment, state power, church polity, the human heart, etc. And though some of you may read that list and think some of those don’t concern you, I hope to convince you otherwise. So–onto the messy, opinionated future full of insight, frustration, arguments, and grace we go!
Lord, let humility reign, truth remain, and set my affections upon You. Amen.