For the Sake of the Argument

Maybe it’s because this is the internet. Maybe it’s that most of my friends are Reformed theology/philosophy/worldview nutjobs (myself included). Maybe it’s cause we’re in college and we think we’re smart. At any rate, big, important discussions about the world and everything in it seem to be our favorite pastime. About that I have to say two things.

First, that’s excellent. It’s a big world and a wonderful life and folks who want to live it right, who want to live it to the glory of God, are on the right track. Iron sharpens iron, so arguing about it isn’t out of the picture either. While not everyone needs to constantly have these “great ideas” conversations, somebody definitely should.

Here’s the catch. Folks who like to argue–they like to argue. They get caught up in the back and forth, the nitpicking, and the well-made point. We construct our perfect little worlds, our ideal policies and constitutions, a new way of phrasing some doctrine, a new take on an old philosopher, or whatever. It delights us. But sometimes folks get so caught up in searching for the ideal, plotting it out and planning it, that they miss the entire point: living.

All these arguments are about life because we think life is important. It’s worth talking about. And because we’re Christians, we try to have these conversations in a God-honoring manner. But what happens when you spend so much time in the land of theory that you spend considerably less time walking the walk than you do talking the talk? We end up conceding the very thing the argument is about for the sake of the argument. We dishonor God by never living in the world he gave us

What exactly do I mean? I mean that there are people who write blog posts, but never write stories. There are people who argue with adults on facebook but never teach children in real life. There are people who explain social theories with the metaphor of dancing who never actually dance.

Of what worth are the words of a man who praises the beauty of the mountains and never climbs them? Why on earth should we listen to the political opinions of a man who never takes action in politics? Who cares about someone’s opinions on ecumenism when they’ve never talked to the guy from the church down the street, much less some obscure Eastern Orthodox sectarian?

These arguments are about planning our lives and culture. They answer Schaeffer’s question “How Shall We Then Live?” But if the majority of our free time is spent answering the question instead of living, the point becomes moot. If you don’t want to make a better movie than the pagans, why should we hear you complain about them? If you don’t have an interest in music, why should we hear your opinion on why the contemporary Christian stuff is so shallow? Get out off of paper once in a while and practice what you preach. Live how you think we should live. Then your words are worth hearing.

He said on his blog, using examples from his past. We all have a lot to learn.


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