I have been writing here for somewhere around a year and a half now. Many days I wonder how much longer I’ll keep it up as I scuffle to find something of significance to write. Some days I’m eager to write about a pressing topic while many others it’s a struggle to think of anything I think I can write about in any meaningful way.
Blog writing demands a regular filling of material, at least where there is a desire to keep an active blog of participants and readers. I honestly don’t know how Michael has done it all these years.
When I do take on a topic with some weight to it, I often find myself not landing completely on either of the frequently already developed polarized sides. I do not set out to find a neutral mushy middle, but rather to honestly evaluate the nuance and the comprehensive rightness and wrongness of the many facets of an issue. I do this far from perfectly as I do not nearly have the mental capacity or knowledge to thoroughly think through every aspect of an issue, and as much as I try to intentionally avoid biases and unnecessary filters, I am sure I still succumb to some level of my own proclivities. Yet my desire is to accomplish these ambitions the best I can.
I then attempt to communicate what I think and believe about said topic. On points that I think are pretty clearly right and wrong I will state my opinions in a stronger fashion. On other points that don’t appear as clear, I will try to communicate as such and convey that I think we should be more open to allowing for exploration and difference of opinion. Again, by no means am I perfect in making these determinations or in my manner of communicating them as I certainly am not the final authority on all truth and I am far from a master writer or communicator. But on the whole, I try to write in a manner to generate discourse and consideration of varying aspects and/or viewpoints on an issue.
I think we often have good and fruitful periods of discussion here. However, because I often do not fully land in an already existing fully entrenched camp, I end up leaving myself vulnerable….. times two. And it is usually not a fun place to be. To some, I am a disingenuous liberal who tries to disguise myself as a conservative. To others, I am a scum of the earth racist who cavorts among my other disgusting conservative friends. Both sides sometimes see me as some kind of wishy-washy prude who won’t take a stand and fulfill my Christian responsibilities, such as my duty to vote for Trump or alternatively my duty to disagree with and denounce every single thing the man does and says.
There are plenty like me who are comfortable not always having to exclusively choose one side or the other. But the louder, more aggressive, more castigating voices seemingly come more frequently from those on the ends, not the middle. These voices are not that frequently engendered at this blog, or at least are kept in check to some degree by the community. Other venues (online and offline), however, can be a different story when one voices their opinion. And when that opinion doesn’t fully satisfy either side, the charges can come painfully barreling in from opposite sides.
This will not cause me, however, to fundamentally change how I go about writing and conversing here or in other settings. I like to think through things and I like to try to help others to do the same. To give an entreaty to others to not always stay in their boxes and consider that those with whom they differ may actually be right and worthwhile on some points on occasion. Maybe even multiple occasions.
I will continue to state what I believe to be right and wrong even if it upsets opposing sides at the same time and I am told how wrong and messed up I am. But I will also try to do so as honestly and reasonably and respectfully as I can. Sometimes even in the ensuing discussion, I will come to see where I need to tweak some of my stated beliefs, if not even possibly make significant changes, and I will try to acknowledge as much. Again, I do not do these things anywhere nearly perfectly, but they are still my aims.
I try to set some kind of example in these ways as I believe God has gifted me with some ability to logically and reasonably and honestly work through issues without a strong propensity to always have to line up with a predetermined group or position. Others may think I’m misguided or just full of it. My abilities are fallible, but I hope in some sense I have helped or encouraged at least a few to think through some specific issues, or in general have helped the manner in which they approach or think through meaningful issues and circumstances. As long as I believe God is guiding me to write and converse as such, I will do so. And, of course when comes to this blog, I always have Michael who could say, “That’s hogwash”, to some article I write and choose not to run it. 🙂
I have spent much of this article writing about myself. But I don’t want to end that way because it is not and should not be about me. I don’t even like the spotlight, in the first place. I choose to write here because of this community. The Phoenix Preacher community and further still, the extended family of God. This has always been an odd and unique place. And I believe it is in some ways the “Via Media” that Dr. Arnold wrote about so well on Monday. May it continue to be a place of peculiar fellowship where we encourage, learn from, and challenge each other. All in the name of following after Christ, our mutual Savior.