Fallout from "The Godblogosphere's Black Hole" and "More Thoughts on 'The Godblogosphere's Black Hole'" continues to rain down. Pyromaniac's Phil Johnson waded into the fray on Tuesday. The comments for his response to me are intriguing. A few have reiterated in comments here the gist of the comments in Phil's blog. And the wheel goes 'round and 'round.
A few days ago, I wrote a mini-series called "The Church's Brave New Brain" that viewed the Church in terms of those within it favoring one side of their brains over the other. The left-hemisphere thinkers like the logical approach and bring that to the Church, while the right-hemisphere thinkers bring the relational.
In the past, I've written elsewhere on the idea of Apologists versus Servants. I believe in many ways this aligns with the left/right hemisphere issues I discussed in the aforementioned series. Now that the issue of apologetics is showing up in comments here, I thought I'd address it even if it borders on the very theological "battle" I swore I wasn't going to let myself get dragged into. For that reason, I will be brief.
Jesus Christ came to attest to the Father through His own life. He is the Revealer of Truth and the Truth Himself. He is the Lord of Apologists.
Jesus Christ came to serve, to be the Suffering Servant. He is our perfect model for service. He is the Lord of Servants.
Without apologetics, we serve in vain.
Without service, we contend for truth in vain.
In short, the two cannot be divorced.
(Since mostly Apologists are reading this, I won't even bother to pull out my ESV and quote all the verses to support this. Most of us can do it from memory.)
The folly of the Church in the West (a folly that does not seem to affect non-Western Christians, interestingly enough) is our penchant to always want to divide and conquer. We latch on to either apologetics or service and we bring that laser-like Western focus on the discipline that most ignites our hearts. We concentrate on it until we burn the rods and cones out of our eyes that correspond with that OTHER side. In effect, we can no longer see the whole picture.
I wrote what I did in those two "Black Hole" posts because in 2005 the Godblogosphere increasingly looked like an Apologists' convention. It's understandable if for no other reason than Internet-savvy folks are largely left-brained Apologists. It's also true that blogs lend themselves to information over relationship. Sure it's nice to make friends through blogging, but it's even nicer to shake that person's physical hand and down a beverage of choice with him. Nothing replaces that.
The Godblogosphere has become the haunt of Apologists. There is nothing wrong with Apologists! It's the disproportion that bothers me. But what bothers me even more is that so few are trying to find a way to use blogs as a means to service that can restore balance to the Godblogosphere.
If I can help bring the Servants out in force, I think that's my goal for 2006 in my little neck of the blogosphere. I believe that blogging can evolve to better implement physical service to others. No one said it would be easy, but I think we have to try for that ideal.
Before I end here, I have a couple more thoughts.
Right now, people are coming to Jesus Christ. Today, those people begin a walk of sanctification that they'll continue until the day they see Him face-to-face. Those new Christians are Christ's beloved. And you know what? They're going to fall on their faces when pressed hard for some piece of biblical knowledge they're not going to know. They're also going to take their newfound love for the Lord and serve themselves right into a hole because they don't know how to serve yet.
No matter whether we fancy ourselves an Apologist or a Servant, we've tanked in both those areas at some time or other. Depending on how badly we failed, we might very well have started drifting away from the apologetics or the service depending on which didn't work perfectly at that point that we most wanted it to.
And that's a shame because the Man of God is made to be both an Apologist and a Servant, not one predominantly over the other.
That's what I'm shooting for in 2006. I pray that at least part of the Godblogosphere walks alongside me.
May Christ richly bless you Apologists and you Servants as you grow more profoundly in love with Him on your way to becoming true Servant Apologists.
Tags: Servants, Apologists, Service, Apologetics, Balance, Church, Faith, Christianity, Jesus, God
10 thoughts on “The Lord of Apologists and Servants”
Good post Dan – a positive move forward. Interestingly (to me anyway) I’ve used my blog for apologetics and service and traffic is evenly divided between both. I must agree with something that I think Frank Turk said on a previous thread (I think it was him)- some people try to do apologetics when they really shouldn’t. I think perhaps because the trend has been over-represented and I agree with you there. We sure do need good apologetics – but it isn’t the sum total of blogging capability.
I hope your “corner of the blogosphere” does find itself reflecting God’s heart in servant hood – and in apologetics if that occurs too.
Now about that map….
Dan you are a blessing to the Body.
Keep doing what you are doing.
It can be hard for a Christian bent on apologetics to serve (or think he is serving) because (a) he does not have the time; (b) he is serving, but apologetics gone awry tends towards intellectual perfectionism, so he thinks he is not serving because he does not do it perfectly, or with the right motives, etc.; or (c) he does not want to serve with those who dismiss or let apologetics play second fiddle.
Have you read Dr. Gene Cohen’s article “The Myth of the Midlife Crisis” in the 1/16/06 Newsweek? In it he discusses how in folks our age (over 40) the left and right brains become more integrated and how that changes our perspectives and our lives in general. Synapses might be slower but they are better connected. Interesting reading.
Thanks for the thoughtful piece. I am hoping that by God’s grace, someday I will become an “apologetic servant!!!” I’m sorry for that last comment, is there anything I can do to make it up to you??!!
I used to get Newsweek, but they turned so far Left and turned the mag into little more than a commercial for the DNC and for brain-dead celebrities/rappers When they had two feature stories two weeks apart on what Sean “Puffy” Combs was doing, I gave up.
Is the article referenced elsewhere?
Thanks. Your encouragement is greatly appreciated!
According to Newsweek the Cohen article is “adapted from “The Mature Mind: The Positive Power of the Aging Brain,” published this month by Basic Books, a member of the Perseus Book Group.”
A quick scan of the article didn’t give me any more info.
Just found that Newsweek article at msnbc.msn.com/id/10753221/site/newsweek/. Happy reading.
Wow, I enjoyed this article till I got to your paragraph on how the Man of God (sic) must be both an apologist and a servant, a conclusion I heartily support. Why’d you switch to sexist language all of a sudden?