One other thing has kept me silent. I greatly dislike the name-calling and personal attacks on individuals on both sides of the debate. To be sure, there are those on both sides of this argument who are staying focused on the argument, but others are so obsessed with this one issue, they seem to assume that anyone who takes a different view somehow has nefarious motives. I am the first to admit that at times I am not above name-calling. It is an act over which I need to ask forgiveness and repent. But as a periodic name-caller, I can certainly say that it does not further the discussion. I understand that some people on both sides have a sense of outrage, but I can say unequivocally that your outrage will win no converts.
People are complex. It is, therefore, unfair to cast aspersions on them because they disagree with people on one or two issues. I find that people who are obsessed with one issue, whether it's over sex or abortion or capital punishment etc. are so honed in on that one issue that those who disagree with them must be eliminated from the debate by insult and personal attack.
In May of 2007 right after the death of the Rev. Jerry Falwell, more than a few people who disagreed with him on various issues posted and wrote disparaging things about him. I am certainly no fundamentalist, but I thought it quite unfair for people to judge a man's character based on whether or not he subscribed to their moral vision. So, I wrote a post outlining many of the ministries he started that revealed his social conscience-- things that many did not know about his ministry because they were not really interested in knowing; they simply preferred to attack the man's character.
My friend, Joel Watts wrote a post along the same lines in reference to Maxie Dunnam on some of the personal attacks he has had to endure. Joel and Dunnam do not agree on homosexual practice nor do they have the same position on schism, but Joel rightly will not disparage his character. He writes,
As we go about this struggle, let us not forget that those on the other side may be people of deep convictions who have previously stood against the injustices of the world-- they just disagree about this particular issue.I have friends and colleagues in ministry on both sides of this issue. In the midst of the current debate, I refuse to assail their character. Those who are calling for schism should not be referred to as tea-partiers, and those who are calling for a change in our Book of Discipline in reference to homosexuality should not be compared to those who promote orgies and polygamy.
By all means let's continue to have the debate, but let's argue the substance and leave the ad hominem attacks in the bin of logical fallacies.
I will have more to say in future posts.
In the meantime, let's try to work up some serious passion for the Great Commission. Jesus seemed to think it was important.