AKMA’s blog, always a place of interesting ideas has a post up about the nature of conversation if we take as a given that we do not have the ability to separate our views from our setting (i.e. our ideas are deeply and profoundly entangled with our sitz-im-leben).
There are a number of consequences of such an understanding. One of which seems especially important for us in the Anglican Communion:
“Third, if we don’t have access to some insulated, pristine ‘self’or ‘truth’ (and I know I haven’t been arguing about ‘truth’ heretofore, I don’t have time to double back and fix it up, but I suspect that the same points hold), we stand under a greater obligation to understand that which share with others whose solidarity we claim to share. That is, if I say that you and I have something in common (‘Christian faith’or ‘Anglican identity,’for instance), only an boor would presume that she or he already knows what that common inheritance entails without attending to her or his partner’s sense of the shared inheritance. Under present circumstances, this point cuts two ways. It absolutely requires ‘conservatives’ to offer honest, open attention to different senses of ‘what is shared.’ If the Anglican tradition affirms that churches can err on matters of faith (and Anglican traditionalists should be comfortable with this premise), we can never foreclose the possibility that the churches have in fact erred.*
It also absolutely requires that ‘liberals’ offer honest, open attention to what millions of [non-liberal] sisters and brothers hold and teach and live by, and have done so for centuries. There’s a whole lot more ‘objectivity’ in the overwhelming consensus of practically everyone who has accepted the new life offered in baptism than there is in ‘what my friends and I are sure must be true.’ People always tend to believe what they want to; when people want to believe something that contravenes long-affirmed premises, they have to be honest about the extent to which they’re proposing a novelty, about how thin the basis for that novelty is, and about how precarious a position that proposed innovation puts them, us all (since we are not islands), in.”
Read the rest here: Monads for Jesus
(Via AKMA’s Random Thoughts.)
I agree it’s important to listen to one another.
But it’s also important to remember that the fact that the vast, vast majority of Christians think homosexuality is sinful could possibly be a result of the fact that the vast, vast majority of human beings are heterosexual. It could be entirely on a de gustibus level, and have very little to do with morality at all.
One consequence of this line of thought is that our cultural context sets limits on what we are capable of believing. I do not, for instance, think that Peter Akinola’s brand of Christianity would ever be very successful in San Francisco, or Bishop Chane’s in Nigeria. Without resorting to any claims that truth is relative, we should learn to give each other some space while we try to understand each other.