A friend asked me how Chesterton and H.G. Wells could respect each other so much when their disagreements were so stark.
Here’s the quote about Chesterton and Wells:
“Despite their creative goading, Chesterton, in his Autobiography, completed just weeks before his death, wrote movingly of their relationship: ‘I have argued with him [Wells] on almost every subject in the world, and we have always been on opposite sides, without affectation or animosity. . . . It is necessary to disagree with him as much as I do, in order to admire him as I do; and I am proud of him as a foe even more than as a friend.'”
And here is my response:
I was doing some work on the forthcoming “Stepping into Controversy” seminar this morning when your note came.
Reviewing my research to various books I’ve read it seems that it is hard to downplay the role of technology, esp. social media.
One of the books I read is written by two Catholic scholars: A Mind at Peace: Reclaiming an Ordered Soul in the Age of Distraction. The best part of the book in my estimation is where they show how technology robs us of our “face.”
Tribes today can be nasty because you can so easily hide your face. In contrast to this, we need to cultivate being WITH people. I like to say that “proximity produces perspective.” If you are not close to anyone who has a different view than you, it is easy to be nasty and detached from the need to be gracious in disagreements. Chesterton and Wells had a more difficult time hiding from one another!
Where: Hill House, a ministry to the UT community, but open to the public.
2104 Nueces St. Austin, TX 78705
Parking may be had across the street from the front door of Hill House in the Callaway House parking garage, on the street, and in other parking garages nearby.
When: 6 p.m. for Dinner and 7-8 for Teaching and Discussion
Seven Wednesday Nights from June 5-July 17
Feel free to come to one or all sessions. Each one covers different material all on the broad topic below.
Engaging Controversy, Exhibiting Courage, and Exemplifying Christ-Like Character: Is it Possible in Today’s Climate?
We live in turbulent and divisive times. Many Christians tell me that they can’t talk about political differences…with their best friends! How much hope is there then to discuss controversial matters with those we don’t know? Most are pessimistic about the prospect.
I believe we can do much better. The tools to do so are available.
For many years, I’ve been thinking and writing about how people ought to engage on issues that they vehemently disagree on. I’ve decided it is high time to speak on it.
Want a riveting read? Well, this book certainly qualifies.
As a young Christian, I read a collection of King’s sermons titled Strength to Love. In college, I took a rhetoric class where our professor regularly reminded us that King was the “greatest speaker he ever heard.”
Rosenbloom’s book chronicles the final 31 hours of King’s life. And what a life it is. The author does not paper over King’s adultery, but clearly thinks King was a great man.
King challenges us to live focused life with courage and compassion.
The publisher is to be thanked for making a beautiful book at a reasonable cost…a rarity in our day!
There are many reasons I am not a Roman Catholic, but one certainly is the pervasive, historic, and systemic secrecy. Many examples could be offered. For example, the secrecy of the curia coupled with the condescending clericalism I’ve seen firsthand from priests in spite of what Vatican II says about learning from the laity are just a few.
It stretches credulity to think the Roman Catholic church can properly handle the ongoing (that word is key) sex abuse given the Roman Catholic’s long and problematic history.
And for the record, I taught in Poland and know many dynamic Christians who are in the Roman Catholic church. I just think the overall system is badly broken and lacks the proper theology in doctrine, leadership, and praxis to make things right.
There are similar, but not identical reasons that I’m not Baptist. Though I am sympathetic to Baptist theology, and though the Southern Baptist Convention is not as secretive as the curia, there is much that still gives me concern.