Abolishing the Top 50? What I Should Have Written
A good analogy for many theological conversations is a pendulum. Often, especially if one studies the history of theology, a position is averred, in arguing against this position someone usually over-states their case a bit in an effort to show their point. The pendulum swings from one extreme on the issue to the other.
But really, quite often, the position in the middle of the pendulum is the better position.
Mark Stevens suggested abolition of the Top 50 and non-negativity and non-critical attitudes, in what seemed to me every situation. I may have over-stated my case a bit in an attempt to argue the far opposite of Mark’s. But, as in the above analogy, most likely, a position between ours is the better ground.
Let’s get all biblical with this one (I have to put my years of schooling to use at some point don’t I?). There is a funny proverb:
Do not answer fools according to their folly,
or you will be a fool yourself.
Answer fools according to their folly,
or they will be wise in their own eyes.
So which one is it? Do I answer the fool according to his folly or don’t I? The answer is really quite simple: the person with hokmah (wisdom) will know when to answer the fool and when not to.
So here’s my hokmah and middle-ground: we neither need to abolish the Top 50 nor make it some sort of standard that signifies which blogs have value (and from what I can tell not many do). Similarly, we neither want to be overly negative or never critical.
A good model I learned years ago for evaluating pastors: are they using their ministry to build people up, or are they using people to build their ministry? When it’s the first, when pastors and churches are making a difference, whether it’s getting clean water somewhere, clothes to people, or food to starving people. If they are helping couples to work through marriage issues. Whatever. We should have the capacity to say, “Well done.”
However, when the opposite is true. When they are using religion for financial gain. Or using their bully platform to sexually abuse consenting and non-consenting members. When they are using their religion to set up a platform to discriminate against those of a different political outlook, ethnicity, or sexuality then we have to have the capacity to stand up, not be timid, and with conviction say, “No, that is wrong!”
Do not desire to be so ‘loving’ or ‘timid’ that you can never speak the truth. Equally, do not be so cynical and negative that you can’t see the beauty and joy in life, and the wonderful things humans can do for each other.
Desire the hokmah to know the difference.