Rt. 40 runs thru my home county in PA & is called the National Road b/c by some definitions, it's the oldest highway in the US, built to facilitate trade & travel w/ the frontier. About 30 minutes from my parents' home, it runs thru a small mountain community called Farmington.
Today, on one side of Rt. 40, you will find New Meadow Run, a community of the Bruderhof, an intentional Christian community of shared work, fellowship, life, & faith.
Opposite New Meadow Run, immediately on the other side of the road, you will find Nemicolan Woodlands, an uber-lux "playground" of the rich that includes hotels, a spa, casino, golf course, & polo fields.
I'll always advocate for knowing one's God-given limits, learning to say no, honoring the needs of body & spirit, but I'm increasingly convinced that self-care is a frame of radical individualism & can never replace community's responsibility to care for each member.
In this sense, self-care is a coping mechanism that happens when communities collapse. It's a necessary, but poor, substitute for the care we should receive from others.
As another scandal comes to light, we need to remember that the problem isn't simply that *women* aren't on boards or in places to offer accountability. It's that men & women who lack virtue are sitting in seats where good men & women should be.
Healthy communities require at least 2 things: interdepence & virtue.
1) Yes, both men & women are necessary. Our corresponding gifts & life experiences are designed to work together b/c even at our best, we're limited & need each other.
2) But both men & women must be virtuous. I've lived long enough to know that both men & women will happily cover up & minimize scandal for their own ends. They'll do it in different ways, but they'll both do it.
I am so enjoying watching folks fall in love w/ the new #AllCreatures. I grew up watching the original w/ my dad & I have to say, my understanding of manhood was pretty much formed by how a man relates to the natural world around him. No offense guys.
Another neat thing watching the show this time around is already knowing the stories & having previous scenes in my head. New series diverges from both book & previous series in some ways but also stays pretty close in core characterization.
You can practically see Samuel West channeling Robert Hardy's Siegfried Farnon in certain stances & phrases. And it's wonderful. West definitely owns the role but also honors previous embodiment.
Here's the benefit of having written books on both humility & discernment: There's just no escaping. I spoke out of ignorance & that ignorance led me to overconfidence in my opinion. You simply can't know what you don't know.
This is a good example of staying in one's lane. One might understand what healthy, ethical dynamics look like in general, but that doesn't mean they can look at a certain phenomenon & pronounce it healthy or unhealthy. To do that, you must have knowledge of phenomenon itself.
We code it in language of stock prices & sell high/buy low, etc. But the entire model is based on the stock price falling--not getting in on the ground floor of a company & rising w/ it. In short selling, you're actively rooting for someone else to lose b/c that's how you profit.
I'm not trying to be precious here. I understand that the stockmarket involves certain amount of risk & that part of healthy growth means accepting that this risk as part of investing. This is something different.
So I'm seeing folks discuss the age-old Q about who is & who isn't an evangelical & it raises another equally significant Q for me:
To whom do the outliers belong then? Who is going yo take responsibility to confront & warn them?
I understand the importance of carefully defining terms & movements, but it strikes me as an exercise w/out a real world purpose or end. Other than perhaps distancing ourselves from certain elements.
It's one thing to say XYZ is no true evangelical & while that might be rhetorically significant, I'm not sure it's pastorally significant especially if it enables us to just ignore or disregard the outlier.
Now that the political calculus has changed in US...
I don't accept the notion that one must critique both right & left in the same way or even give equal time to critiquing them in order to have a fair & faithful public witness. Why?
1. Critiques that aim for equal time will end up missing underlying dynamics of power & responsibility. Those w/ power are responsible in different ways than those w/out it. And those who claim the name of Christ have distinct repsonsiblities from those who don't.
2. Critiques that posit right/left as mirror images miss that while each may operate on different principles, they do so w/in the same set of social shaping forces. IOW, they might be swimming in different directions but they're in the same stream
One thing that I've struggled w/ in my own "sense of place" is reconciling Qs of land, inheritance, ownership, etc.
I say this as the descendent of ancestors who claimed & cultivated farm land in PA that was gradually parcelled out over the generations. If all continues as it has, I'll eventually inherit 2 acres in the state of my birth which is not the state where I live now.
Wanted to circle round on this from last week & reiterate the importance of getting underneath the issues. Last fall, @ErinStraza & I did a @PersuasionCAPC series to highlight those deep differences & called it #ForGodandCountry.
Also, I'd add this: Be very wary of the temptation to distance yourselves from your brothers & sisters who claim the name of Christ & act in opposition to his teaching. It's too easy to wash your hands of them to preserve your own sense of righteousness.
Like it or not, we're in this together. And if my Christian brother or sister behaves in a way that is inconsistent w/ family values, I have a responsibility of some kind to them & to the name of Christ.
I am not responsible for their actions, but I am responsible for how I respond to their actions. And at some existential level, I am bound to them.
ISTM that some folks are more concerned with defending the name "Christian" than the name of Christ.
Hear me & hear me clearly:
This is not a moment to try to save face. Stop trying to defend the indefensible. Stop the spin. Some of the critiques aimed at American Christians right now are deserved.
Instead, humble yourself, listen to them, own our sins, repent & receive grace. This is a far greater witness to the truth of the gospel than stubbornly refusing to acknowledge our failures or deflect critique.