I have to confess to an enjoyment of discussing religion and politics, and to the fact that I actually enjoy doing this with people I disagree with more than those I agree with. I find the challenges stimulating – that of matching my wits against a worthy opponent, that of creating peace and connection where there was none, that of understanding and being understood, that of testing my own beliefs to see if they are worthy to be held. The blogosphere holds endless possibilities to do this, and this is much of my enjoyment and engagement in this blog.
Hence, perhaps it is no surprise that I am now engaging in several conversations with different Christians. I initially connected with Pearl on homeschooling, and hence got into this conversation (13th comment on the thread) with someone who calls himself "Eutychus," after the boy Paul brought back to life after he fell from a window (Acts 20:9-12). At the same time (more or less), I've been holding a very different conversation on Deacon Blue's blog.
What intrigues me about these is the very different ways I speak of the Bible in each.
In speaking with Eutychus, I said, "I will pray that, someday, every Christian will look through the hollow words of his Bible, and see…" And I repeated the statement calling the Bible's words "hollow" in a later comment.
In speaking with Deke, I quoted rather extensively from Matthew and Ecclesiastes, and, in response to a post reflecting that he needed to "hit the books. More specifically, the Good Book," I replied, "I think you're onto something. Something good." And followed it with, "…if you don't mind a suggestion from a heathen: Ecclesiates Ch. 3, Psalms Ch. 23, Psalms Ch. 91, Matthew Ch. 6, 1 Cor. 2:10-16."
Now, I'm aware that these different responses indicated inconsistency, perhaps, to some, even hypocrisy. But they are different conversations, and the policies I advocate are the same in both cases. I stand by both of them. And I also remember that Gandhi said, "I am not at all concerned with appearing to be consistent. In my search for truth I have tried many things and discarded many ideas." (I forget exactly how it went…)
The truth is, I am meeting different needs, and making different points.
Perhaps, also, this is what politicians are doing when they say one thing to one group of people, and something that appears to be consistent with the first thing to another.
The question then is, do they advocate a consistent policy? And, if they change it, do they explain why, and then stand consistently on that one?
And the test is, do I?