Okay, this one is a tough one to write.
Most all of us know by now about the Great Debate that happened a couple of weeks ago between Bill Nye and Ken Ham on whether or not Creationism is a viable model for human origins. If you’ve followed this blog for an real period of time, you know it’s no secret that I do not think it’s a viable model, and I’ve been quite vocal about that in this space.
So I felt the frustration when Ken Ham was treated like the stand-in for every Christian that wants to take the Bible seriously. I felt better when smart Christians responded well. I chuckled at those that poked fun of him and other Creationists, debunked their logic, or discredited the historical stream in which he finds himself. I gave into the private mocking.
I was then really encouraged when I read this report in Christianity Today that shows that Americans are not as divided on this issue as some polls make it seem. I was overjoyed with knowing that more Christians than ever were leaving the Ken Hams of the world in the dust of irrelevance, their budgets and voices shrinking in the distance.
As the discourse went on, I began to thinking to myself: I think we’re winning! But then yesterday, I felt like I woke from a fog and thought: Wait. Who are we fighting?
Maybe your heart has been in the right place in all of this. Maybe you’ve maintained a healthy, humble charity and love towards your brothers and sisters. I don’t know that I have. So if you find yourself in the same boat as me, let’s all remind ourselves: Ken Ham is on our team. At the end of the day, our solidarity is with him, and not the Naturalists or Atheists with whom we might agree about Evolution.
The more I watch Ken Ham, the more I’m convinced he’s not simply lying about all of this to make money. He has poured himself out for this idea at great personal, emotional, and financial cost to himself. And why? Because he truly believes that the Gospel is at stake. And if there’s any reason in the world to strive desperately, even at a foolhardy and wrongheaded goal, can we really look down on a man who does so for this reason?
I know my Atheist friends will read this and think, “Uhhh, yeah. We can look down on him, and so can you. He’s causing so much pain and difficulty. Why are you giving in to some ‘tribe mentality’?”
Do I think Ken Ham’s views do severe damage to our society, Church, national economy, education system, and even our souls? Yes. Do I think he scores more points for the “other team” than our own? Absolutely.
But he’s still wearing our jersey. We (or more accurately, I) need to approach these discussions not as a competition, but as a coming alongside my team member to try and teach them how to play the game better.
To switch up the analogies, sure, he might be like our crazy uncle with the crazy politics and illogical stories, but he’s still family. He shares the family name, and in all those things that unite us most deeply, we are one with him and his spirit.
When you sing songs of corporate praise, your praises are being joined with Ken Ham’s to make a pleasing fragrance to our God. When you take the Eucharist, Ken Ham is part of the Saints with whom you commune. For every corporate prayer you pray than includes a “we” or “us”, he is included. Like this appropriate one:
O God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, our only Savior,
the Prince of Peace: Give us grace seriously to lay to heart the great dangers we are in by our unhappy divisions; take away all hatred and prejudice, and whatever else may hinder us from godly union and concord; that, as there is but one Body and one Spirit, one hope of our calling, one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of us all, so we may be all of one heart and of one soul, united in one holy bond of truth and peace, of faith and charity, and may with one mind and one mouth glorify thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
I feel I need to say this, and I invite anyone else that needs it to say it with me:
Ken Ham is my brother and fellow co-laborer in the Gospel. We partake of the same Spirit and Righteousness. How I treat him is a picture of how I treat Christ himself. My responsibility is to serve and cherish my brother and relate to him in unlimited and boundless grace and charity. I love Ken Ham.
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Also be sure to check out this beautiful article in the same vein by Michael Brendan Dougherty at The Week.