Monday, March 31, 2008

Conversation v Argument

I just started Brian McLaren's third "A New Kind of Christian" book. Apparently, I'm somewhat rare. I read books' introductions and prefaces and all their footnotes!

So I'm in the middle of Mclaren's introduction when I read three thoughts that ring true for me. They express the way I think, the way I approach so many subjects:
  • [C]larity is good, but sometimes intrigue may be even more precious; clarity tends to put an end to further thinking, whereas intrigue makes one think more intensely, broadly, and deeply. Jesus' teaching on the kingdom of God is a case in point; his parables don't score too well on clarity, but they excel in intrigue. . . .

    [L]ike some politicians, we often seek clarity at the expense of truth: we would rather have something simple and clear than continue to search beyond convention for a truth that won't resolve to a neat formula, label, category, or pat answer.
And then:
  • [A]sking me . . . whether I'm an ******ist or a ******ist is like asking a vegetarian whether she prefers steak, pork, or venison. [It] is a question I have no taste for asking.
--I like the analogy. But I like, even better, where McLaren goes with this:
  • My intentional avoidance of this question does not spring from fear of saying what I really believe; a fearful writer wouldn't even begin a book like this. Rather, I am more interested in generating conversation than argument, believing that conversations have the potential to form us, inform us, and educate us far more than arguments.
My response? Amen!