Life and Books and Everything
Life and Books and Everything

Episode 16 · 1 year ago

4 Questions for Divisive Topics


In this episode of Life and Books and Everything, Kevin shares four questions to ask regarding the most divisive topics in the church today: voting, police shootings, and Coronavirus.

Kevin also shares 4 book recommendations of some of the most recent and enjoyable titles he has read through.

This episode is sponsored by Crossway, a publisher whose goal is to publish gospel-centered, Bible-centered content that will honor our Savior and serve his Church. The Crossway title we want to highlight in this episode is Unfolding Grace: 40 Guided Readings through the Bible; discover the overarching storyline of God's Word as it is revealed through forty Scripture readings drawn from key points in the biblical narrative. Each passage, coupled with brief and accessible commentary, will help you follow God's grace as it unfolds from Genesis through Revelation. Unfolding Grace includes 40 illustrations by Peter Voth, excerpts discussing the flow of God’s plan of redemption, a single-column format, a smyth-sewn binding, and a Study guide.


Introduction + 4 book recommendations [0:00 - 22:31]

Books mentioned:

The American Dream Is Not Dead: (But Populism Could Kill It) by Michael Strain 

The Morality of Laughter by F. H. Buckley 

The Myth of Disenchantment: Magic, Modernity, and the Birth of the Human Sciences by Jason A. Josephson Storm 

J. Gresham Machen: A Biographical Memoir by Ned B. Stonehouse - cover done by Marina Amaral 

4 questions to ask when discussing voting [22:31 - 34:52]

4 questions to ask when discussing police shootings [34:52 - 42:05]

4 questions to ask when discussing the Coronavirus [42:05 - 54:25]

Readings and salutations- I am kbeyoung and I am not joined as always by my good friends, just intaylor andColanhanson many apologies. I am reporting this on September, Sevenh Labor Day holidayhere in the nited States and Collon and Justin selfish creatures. They are, arenot joiining me theyare doing something better. No doubt OL worry. I am notdoing this all day and I will take some time off and spend some time with myfamily many projects due on this beautiful day in Charlotte, but I am holding down the Fort, and so youare going to have a shorter life and books and everything and it is going tobe a so low venture, but hopefully there'llstill be something that can help. You pass the time on your commute or mowingthe lawn. I ought to mention that we aresponsored again by Crossway, so grateful for their partnership on thepodcast and want to mention the book unfolding grace forty guided readingsthrough the Bible, Great Book for discovering the unifying story ofscripture from cover to cover through forty different scripture readings.Each passage with newly written introductions will enable readers tofollow go's redemptive plan as it develops throughout the Bible. Thereare forty illustrations. Study Guides available unfolding grace forty guidedreadings through the Bible. Thank you, crossway and check out that book. This is going to be shorter than usual,but let's talk first about books. I am always going through books and I shouldhasten to add, because less people give me too much credit. I do read a lot ofbooks. There's lots of other things I don't do reading is one of the things Ido, but I read books in many different ways,and so often I will read the introduction carefully I'll read aconclusion carefully and depending on the book I may Plou through some of the middle sectionor skim through some of the middle section. I don't want you to think thateverybook that I ever mentioned is uh meticulously laboriously red line byline some parts are read more quickly than others, but let me just mentionfour books that I have finished lately. A couple of these I mentioned before,because I was going to read them over the summer and now I have finished them,so I'm just going to take them in the order that they're sitting in front ofme, which means nothing to you, because you can't see me, but this is a littlebook by Michael Strain. You could read it in an hour or two. It's called theAmerican dream is not dead, but populism could kill it now, sort of,unfortunately, for mister strain. This book comes out and then a globalpandemic sends the economy crashing. But the basic arguments and I've heardinterview with him where he maintains the basic argument still stand that theAmerican dream is not dead. The cover of the book has a Shart a graft with anupward slope to it and that chart forms one of the central arguments in thebook, as he looks at wages for typical American workers and you'll have to getthrough all of the economic speak and in the FFLATIONARY injustment that heuses and the sort of workers he as looking at he's, looking at productionand nonsupervisory employees. So he's trying to think of workers- maybe blue collar, but just workers andtheir wages, and his argument, which I find convincing, is that for typicalworkers, wages have risen thirty four percent over the past three decades,that is adjusted for inflation. Now he is clear that there is much room forimprovement I's clear, that the this increase in pay is has been more at thetop end of the economic spectrum. But he wants to make the point- and I thinkit's an important one- that the American dream is not dead and by thathe means economic mobility. So he has a number of statistics in here: Seven Americans, out of every onehundred raised in the bottom, twenty percent of the income reache, the toptwenty percent. Three quarters of...

Americans have higher inflation,adjusted family incomes, then did their parents. Eighty six percent of Americans who areraised in the bottom. Twenty percent have higher family incomes than didtheir parents, so he's making the case that there still is economic upwardmobility and one of the reasons he thinks this is important is because heargues that on both the right and the left. Now, if you listen to almost anypolitical candidate, the description they will give, you is not one of hopeand optimism, or growth or dreams fulfilled, but rather crashing burning,nightmares, degeneracy and dreams falling short, and he wants to say thatcan give the impression that things are only getting worse. A Greg Easter Book Brook we'vementioned a book by him before Um h. The book not mindfulness, but factfulness often makes also makes the same casethat actually things are not all getting worse and in fact, by justeconomic measures and standard of living measures which, as Christians,we know, are not the most important measures, but they matter thingsactually have been getting better, and so with a pay off and strains book. Hesays if you are bombarded with this message, that it's only a nightmare allthe time and in particular, then you hear from both the right and the leftthat it's because entirely of forces outside of your control colludingagainst you. You begin to believe that you have no agency and that others arealways to blame. So he says this could be the elites or immigrants or thewealthy or the game is rigged or free trade or capitalism, and he wants tomake the argument that, in fact, there is much reason to have optimism nowhe's very clear that many economic factors are not as good as they oughtto be and not as good as they always have been in American history. But hisargument, the American dream, is not deagood little book to perhaps give yousomething to think about a second book. I mentioned this before the summerbreak by fh, Buckley called the morality oflaughter. He is a professor of law, George Mason University. At least hewas at the time of the dust jacket that I'm reading the morality of laughter,actually an academic in somewhat technical book. Looking at twodifferent theories, one called the normative theory and one called thepositive theory on what makes laughter laughter, but here's the big idea in the book. Heargues that laughter always reveals the laughers sense of superiority to a buttto someone who is thereby degraded. Nowthis doesn't have to be a real harsh degradation. It could be it's a joke,it could be injest. It could be that everyone is laughing and there'snothing mean spirited about it, but he's arguing that there is alwayssomeone or something that is they, but of a joke, an in the act of laughing,even if it's self deprecating humor that the laugfer is indicating somesense of superiority over the object about which they are laughing now, Ihave to admit, I'm not sure I find the technicalities of that argumententirely convincing, but it's a new field, I'm not a scholar of laughter,and so I I could kindo take it or leave it on the academic thesis itself. Butwhat certainly is very instructive and helpful in the book is the recurringpoint that laughter almost always has as its underlying principle some visionof morality that those who make us laugh and when we laugh, we are upholding some set of comicnorms, quote our laughter identifies a set of comic vices and the sting oflaughter contains its own sanction for transgressors. That's why the book iscalled the morality of laughster. I enjoyed the book. I enjoys too stronga word I benefitd from the book, and it has been something I've thought aboutover the years. I'm not saying whether my family or friends think that I'mfunny, but I have always enjoyed a good laugh. I've always enjoyed a joke thatmakes people laugh, and it was a...

...struggle with me for many years feeling like being the the funny person or theperson who likes to laugh is less spiritual and if I were truly godly andmore spiritual and more wholly, I would be more resolutely serious. All thetime and I've come to see that so much of that is dependent upon God, givenpersonalities and temperaments and people who are very serious are oftenvery serious about most everything, and so they need to be challenged to findmirth and to find even jocularity and those like a spurgeon who was oftenusing humor in the pulp. It warned against a irreverent, humor, anirreverent jocularity, and so that's a caution for those who, like to laughand like to make people laugh that they don't make other people in a nasty waythe butt of their jokes. But this book makes the compelling case that we needlaughter and laughter serves a good purpose, not only because it feels goodto smile and to laugh. But there is an underlying sense of morality inlaughter, and it is something that brings not only zest to life but bringsethical bearings on life. What we find funny, what we laugh at says somethingabout our values, our virtues and our vices third book. I also mentioned, I believe, before thesummer break by Jason Joseph Sin Storm The miss the myth. Excuse me ofdisenchantment, magic, madernity and the birth of the Human Sciences, themyth of disenchantment. What he means is that in the modern world, supposedlywe no longer deal with superstition or he often uses the all encompassing word magic, whichdoesn't mean illusionists or can mean that doesn't mean necessarily DavidCopperfield he's using it in a bigger medicinse of magic and he's arguingthat to say that modernity has meant a complete disenchantment. We no longerhave superstition, we no longer have magic. We non longer have alchemy, evenif his name, something different, he says, is a myth. He begins with Paris,Nineteen, oh seven, Mary Curi, famous scientist, who is sitting there at aseance. He talks about Francis Bacon, Bacon, the father as it were, of impericismalleading to the scientific method, and he explains that Bacon was veryinterested in Alchemy and brought to many of his intellectual pursuits. Hfindings from the ACCULTS, not trying to say that Bacon was good or bad ages,saying it's a myth to think that we suddenly reach the modern period andthe enlightenment. And now we have a complete disenchantment, he's notarguing one way or the other is not a Christian book. He says at the end thathe's rather ambivalent about it and, on the one hand, he's thankful for scienceand at the modern world has given so he's, not saying, if only we couldbe enchanted again. What he's really saying is we never became disenchanted. He makes the interesting point that inanthropology, for example, it has become absolutely taboo that you,an anthropologists, would look at some tribesmen somewhere and describe themas primitive. You can't talk about primitive people that would be very on PC, and yet he says in effect, thatis how all of anthropology works, but not with tribespeople, but withmadernity and people who existed before modernity. Most academics have noproblem, thinking of them as primitive people and look at their belief in thesupernatural, and they must have been superstitious or they were enthusiastsand then comes the modern period where people now believe in science ratherthan in these traditional animistic or religious senses of the world aroundthem. And so it's it's a helpful book. If nothing else in the big idea thatmodernity and its disenchantment is a myth- and he has lots of examples ofthat- and it's helpful for us to remember as Christians- that...

...we of all people inherit a view of theworld that is in one sense, going to be irrefutably modern. Whether we like itor not, but ALO believes we ought to resolutely believe in the existence ofthe supernatural unexplainable and it's not hard to show how. Even iftraditional religious beliefs in the supernatural are declining. At the sametime, you have all sorts of other enchanted, magical beliefs that are onthe rise, whether it's with conspiracy theories or extra terrestrials or anynumber of theories. In other words, we are undeniably and will always be andenchanted people to use the language of this author and to think that we put itbehind us is a mistake and then finally, Here's a fourth book J Gresimation, a biographical memoir byNed Stone House who of course was one of the young faculty that Mason brought to the founding of Westminsterand went on to be a well known writer and outstanding New Testament. Scholarhimself in Edstonehouse H, wrote this biographical memoir. So this I've readthe biography of Machen from Darrel Hart number of years ago, which is verygood and have read lots of macin and consider him to be one of my heroes inthe faith. And so I read this biographical sketch from Ned Stonehouse,and I know you can't see the book, but I have to say something about thisaddition of it, which is a new adition. So the I'mlooking at the copyright first edition, Herdmans ND, nineteen, fifty four andthen Westmr Seminary Nineteen, seventy seven. This is the fourth edition thatI'm holding from O thousand and nineteen published by banner of truth.I Love Banner of truth for the content of their books, but I also love physically holding their books. So thisbook is a a beautiful handsome hardback with a really outstanding cover. Youdon't often talk about the dust jackets on a book, but look this one up. It hasthis old photo of the Westminster Faculty and One Thousan, nine hteen,thirty one and the image has been colorized by I'm going to say her nameright, Marina, amoral. You can look up this young woman, a Brazilian artist, Ibelieve who takes old photos and through a painstaking process ofresearch and sometimes guess, work fills in the colors, and so it reallyproduces an exquisite looking book with e DustJacket and then you can open up either the back or the front cover and lookinside and there's a picture of the Westminster Faculty in Color, JohnMurray, Elle, mccray, Nedstone House, Oswald, Alice, Machon, Poul woolly,Cornelius Ven till so just to hold the book is a pleasure just a few things that I probably hadlearned before, but had forgotten h. The first is there's a footnote here,and I don't believe I hadn't heard this before, but that the correctpronunciation is not Gresham, but the aches silent, ind, the correctpronunciation is DGRESSOM Machon there. You go you've been saying this wrongfor all of these years. As a professor, at least in my my second job,a professor of systematic theology, I was heartened to read this account later inthe book at the formation of Westminster, theological seminary,where stonehouse recalls that Machon said. As far as he was concerned, themost important chair to fill in the seminary was the chair of systematictheology and that's a remarkable comment coming from Acien who, as ofcourse a new testament scholar that he thought that was the most importantposition to fil, doesn't go into detail, but why he thought that perhaps hanchoring the other disciplines. But I I'm going to remember that one someonewho teaches systematic theology- I was often reminded again- I mean I hadn'tforgotten about mathon's. Very close...

...relationship with his mother. Mathon was never married more aboutthat in a moment, but at least as I recall, from heartbiography, he he certainly mentions that. But stonehouse goes into greatdetail and often will quote at length from the letters that pass betweenmathon and his mother over a thousand letters pass betweenthem, so machon found in his mother really his in any ways: intellectualcompanion, a a spiritual, nurturer, a confidant. There was no one to whom hewas closer than with his mother who died when she was eighty three andMachon who died early didn't live much beyond that. It's not that Machon didn't have anyinterests or any possibilities with a romantic interludes with H, young women there'sone story that stonehouse recalls one real romance in his life that did notend in marriage. Of course, mathon never married. He referred to the woman as intelligent,beautiful and exquisite young woman from Boston, and they exchanged letters and they knew of each other andthey were very close to one another devoted to each other. But stonehousesays the devotion never developed into an engagement because she was a unitarian miss s as he callsher. Stonehouse does made an effort to believe, but couldnot bring her mind in heart, where she could share Machon's faith, and so ofcourse, Machon was not going to marry a young woman, no matter how much heloved her matter, how beautiful she was no matter how close they had become. Ifshe didn't share the same faith and being a UNITARIAN, I mean knmaton wouldnot be mation. You cannot write Christianity and liberalism and thenmarry a UNITARIAN, and so mathon was true to his principles. there. Soalways love reading a good biography. This one is long, it's Hageographicalat times, but still good to be reminded of these things in Mathon's life, fourbooks. What I'd like to do for the rest ofthis solo jaunt is to think through why many of the most divissive issuesin the church right now are in fact so divisive. Now this is pullingtogether some disperate strands, some things that Colin just and I have talked about overprevious months, but I want to try to pull them together and press home on three particular issues and Iam goingto go where angels dare to tread in talking about these three issues, whichare devisive in the church and in the months ahead, will likely become evenmore divisive in the church. on't want to talk about voting, want to talk about police shootings andthen want to talk about covid. So I got your attention. Does that sound like afoolish thing for me to do to try to talk about these three issues h w? WhatI'm not going to do is try to tell you what to think about each of theseissues, but rather try to press home in our disagreements as Christians.What is it we are really disagreeing about, perhaps that's at least a place tostart, because one of my contentions is on many of these issues. We talk in Exalted Language as if the disagreements werealways about the very first principles when in fact, they're often about verymany secondary or prudential matters. So it's not really doing theologicaltrios. I'm not saying that we're dealing with lesser greater importancein theological matters, but rather sort of doing logical triage, because if wecan at least understand what we're really arguing about it's not to saythat we we don't have an argument or that we don't make arguments or thatsome arguments aren't better than others. I'm not arguing that H, there'sjust an obvious third way when it comes devoting when it comes to police,shootings and race when it comes to Corona Virus Gon. So the left of mejoker to the right here I am stilk in the middle of with you, there's just athird way that we all could find it and...

...we would all be happy and that's thesame middle way. That's not the point rather want us to to talk about what isit that we are actually arguing about, and maybe that can that can get our rhetoric in the rightplace. Maybe it can advance the conversation in some of these areas, solet's just move through these three and then well will be done. So first voting- and I imagine calling just- andI will say more about this in the months ahead as at least here in theUnited States, we are two months away from presidential election andgovernors and many senators and all of representatives are going to be on theballot. So it's always a big deal, especially when we come to the presidentialelection and there will be lots of talk about who you are voting for and those things matter. I want to think about. What are we arguing about? What what are we doing? BSOBEFORE? We,we tell one another unfaithful, ungodly unbiblical, forwhichever way you're thinking lets at least get to the matter. Whatis the argument about and what is the nature of what we do when we vote andif you're listening outside of the states, I apologize that this is goingto be Vari American centric, our two party system, in how we think aboutvoting. Let me just give you, I think, four different ways. Peoplecan understand what they're doing when they're voting, and I guess the fifthway would be just don't vote, but let's say you are voting number one. Simply you go to the Polt N,let's just simplify you'r thinking about who'd, to hope for for theprecident one way to approach your vote to say Iam simply going to vote for the best candidate period. There will be many people on the ballotyou could write in someone and you were going to vote for the best candidate.What is best mean? Well, it probably means someone who most aligns with youryour values, the one who stands for the things that you think are mostimportant in politics, th, the one who is going to use the presidential bullyp pulpit forthe most good, who will sign into law those laws that are best for the flourishing of the church and forhuman flourishing you're, going to look at the best Kenny just going to go inthere. That's what I do when I vote. Whoever is the best candidate. A secondway to approach voting is to say, look in this two party system. It is the case- and it has been thecase ever since Um Republican Party, founded with Abraham Lincoln, that aRepublican or a Democrat is going to win Republican or Democrat is going to bethe president of the United States, and so the argument is y. You you shouldvote for one of these two major party candidates and then vote for the best. Now the best may be someone you'rereally excited about, and te e someone you hold your nose for. It may besomeone, as the saying often goes, who you consider to be the lesser of twoevils: Don't really like that expression,because I don't think that God ever puts us in a situation where wehavewrewe must sin that we must do evil. But I understand what it means: the Theleast bad of what you may consider to be too bad options. So in voting for the best. So one isjust vote for the best candidate period to vote for the best of the two majorparty candidates, because you think you know that one of those two will bepresident, and so you want to put your vote. You want to put your thumb on thescale toward the one you think is better and what does better mean hagain, that requires discussion. thebetter may be based on the party platform well, parties in present a platformthis year, or you may think of it, not just as the individual you're votingfor, but the whole apparatus that, when that person in that party is in powerwith the presidency, a whole constellation of appointments, whetherjudicial appointments or bureaucratic appointments or t the whole kind ofapparatus of think tanks. That will have access tothe Ho to the hospital to the White House, people who will have the earpeople who will be put in positions of influence that you're thinking, I'm notjust voting for a person, I'm voting for what will come with the wholepackage that will be put into power voting for the person that has an r bytheir name or a d by their name and...

...make the calculation whether you reallyare excited about either one or either party. You think one is going to bebetter than the other. A Third Way- and really this is anuance on the first two ways of thinking about voting- is to say I'mgoing to vote for maybe the best candidate period or I'm going to votefor the better of the two major party candidates. But there is a basicthreshold of character or ideology, without which Icannot vote for this person so someone they think. You know, if no matter how you know much better onecandidate may be than the other. If this one candidate doesn't meet acertain basic threshold, whether it's Um defense of the unborn or the sort ofcharacter or history on racial issues, there's a basic character thresholdthat, if you don't cross that so by this thinking, if the you know I it isstalen versus Hitler, and one of those two are going to be elected. You stillreason to yourself: I cannot put my name or pull the lever or punchout the hanging. Chad H is a moral act for someone who does notpass a basic threscolso. I cannot, in my conscience, have voted for Stalin orHitler. T not wher we're facing here, but just to make it reductio ADabsurdum. That's another way of looking at voting I'll, give you a fourthway,and that is, you may think, invoting specifically for the president you'rethinking of how to vote in a way that you believe will best advance the longterm goals in health of your most important convictions. So you mayreason that perhaps m this person or that personmay be better in the short term, but you may think to yourself what signaldoes this send or if this sort of person is elected, willthis type of person be put for at again and again, or maybe this person, youthink, has better ideas in one way but makes otherideas that you believe in very strongly less palatable, in other words, you'redoing a moral calculus as best as you can to to discern, not just which would be better for the next fouryears, but you're thinking about voting for the long term and trying to gauge what sort of votecast will yield thebest outcome for the beliefs that you have as a Christian and yourconvictions over many years to come, no 'm not telling you which, which of those four, I think, is the best wayto approach voting. I do think that all of them can be justified. Mteologically, of course, but they they they're logical and there can be amoral coherence to then vote for the best candidate period vote for the thethe best of the two parties, two candidates. That will be precedent: U,third, the first two, but with a basic threshold of character or moral decencyor the fourth thinking, not just for the next four years, but long term.What is going to best serve the interests of the party you adhere tomost or the country and the aims that you have for it for the church and forhuman flourishing. So again, I'm not telling you! I didn't even mention anycandidate, saying: Let's, let's have the argument h even sometimes before we get to t theWHOO 's talk about what what is the nature of voting because often we'refiring at one another and we're really arguing about well what? What is it that we're doing when we vote and we're assuming one of these ways asbetter than another or one of these approaches de voting as Godlier thananother? And then we come at each other with the full force and all barrelswhen what were really arguing about is how do we understand voting and that's not as simple as it sounds. Let's take another issue: I've written a lot about race and...

...want to narrow it down to talk aboutpolice shootings, and I should stay here that I'm going so low. As you know,and Justin N Colin aren't here and just in call ar very good friends. We agreeon most things. We don't agree, you can tell on every single thing, and thatmakes for healthy friendship and healthy discussion. So in all of thesepoints here that I'm making I'm I'm I'm not- I don't know if Colin and Justonwould agree with me on all of this or where they might demure, but L T's.Let's just focus on police shootings which are in the news,and it seems likely Wi'll continue to be inthe news. Sadly, for for the verseable future is very verydifficult to think that in a country this size therearen't yo you're not going to have videotaped on someone's phone, someshooting. That seems either questionable or seems tright peinous.So it's going to be in our public perview and when we talk about thesethings it it it brings to bear a lifetime, sometimes centuries ofracial tension and difficulty and sin and guilts, or were almost never justtalking about this particular incident. But I do think it's important come. Letus reason together to try to think through these things, as Christians, four questions that I would ask anytime we see one of these police shootings. What happened? How often does it happen to whom doesit happen? Why does it happen again? Word Christians are going todisagree and they're going to get their news from other sources and they'regoing to look scour the Internet and finddifferent understandings of how this happened, and even when you know the person may have their dayin court, an m a you still may not agree. So this isn't a Panacia that weall just get along. Now it's not a mythical third way, but I do think weowe it to one another in talking about these things, that we don't quicklyelevate it to the the the highest level of rhetoric, so thatany disagreement with one another on these matters means that you are whollya pawn of the Cultural Marxist or you are basically a white supremacist andyou don't care about racing. You don't care about racism and you're enjoyingyour privilege. It seems to me not b t but there's a good faith way toask these four questions the next time. Heaven forbid there'sthe next time where we see a shooting, an officer involved, shooting whathappened. We may not know exactly what happened. We may have one sense of what happenedand then later there's more information that tells us we didn't really have anaccurate sense of what happened. But surely that's not an unimportantquestion. What actually happened here, maybe the snip it recorded- gives anaccurate sense of what happened, or maybe it didn't not talking about obtuskating with questions so that wenever have to own up to difficult situations. But it isimportant to actually understand what happened and then how often does ithappen? If what we see- and we have a goodsense of what happened- is this something that happens hundreds of times a day, hundreds oftimes a year, thousands of times a week? How often is this because it will bebrought to our attention and it will sear the mind in the imagination, withsuch a force that it may or may not accurately reflect how often thesethings happen and to whom does it happen, meaning we is it is it only to black people? IsI a black and white people? Is it Black White and Hispanic? Is it to men towomen? Is it in basic proportion with the population?Is it in basic proportion with the rates of violent crime? To whomdoes it happen now? I know that even asking these questions can soundinsensitive. I don't mean it to be that, and I understand that some to say some White Christians may wantto throw in endless stream of questions to never really get to the place ofempathy or grief.

At the same time, there must be a place to legitimately try to come together and say what weare disagreeing about. May Not be what the Bible says aboutracism. It may not be a a love for justice. It may be aboutwhat happened. How often does it happen to whom does it happen, and then thefourth question? Why does it happen? Why do they think it? You know, there'smany possible explanations and I think it's worth asking thequestion: Is it because of racism it because of Por Training? Isit because of of human error in a stressful situation? Is it becausesomeone REACHD for a weapon? Is it because Um Tat Apple? Is it because of systemicproblems? Is it because of the way that law enforcement officers viewminorities the? Why I don't believe can just be presumed?That is that we, we know the answer automatically to the y. So when we talkabout these racially charged police shootings, yes, tensions run high, emotions runhigh and we have real important disagreements and real important thingsare at stake. But let's try to look at what is it that we maybe disagreeing? What are the thearguments that need to be made and again make the arguments but understandthat we're making arguments about what happened, how it happed? U Why ithappened to whom it happened? How often it happened which can be made by peoplewho share the same theological convictions and commitments, but maybe approach or maybe answer some ofthose questions differently. Okay, finally, Corona virus, if you're in a church chances are your church is experience,some level of contention division, whether mild to extreme based on your church's approach,Tocovat nineteen: Do you defy government orders and open up? How do you insist on people wearingmasks? Is it a hard insistence? Is it a soft insistence? Do you provide an areafor people in the sanctuary if they don't want to wear masks? Are youreally encouraging your people to come back? Are you leaning on sovereigntyand, if you trust God's sovereignty, why wouldn't you be here if you loveworship, why, when you be here or you leaning on, if you love your neighbor,then you're going to wear a mask and you're gonna you're Gon Na be verycareful around people who may have underlying conditions so just to highlight the questions or theissues is not to answer all of that, but I think it can at least focus ourattention to understand what we're really talking about and andwhy often, we are arguing in theological termswhen the real disagreement comes down to what you think about the virus andthe Bible's not going to tell you the nature of the Corona virus. So again W I H is fours. I've four ways of voting forquestions here are four questions. I think when it comes to Corrona virus,that we at least have to be honest about one. Is the virus o very serious healthconcern, or has the threat been greatly exaggerated that gets to the heart of the matter?That's what we're arguing about too. Is the government exercising its authorityin consistent ways, or does it seem to be singling out churches for worsetreatment? Third Question: Is the governmenttrying to achieve its ends in the best or in the least burdensome way, or areits rules arbitrary and unreasonably heavy handed? A fourth question: is thegovernment to be trusted as sincerely, even if imperfectly, looking out for the best interests ofits citizens, or is the government ramping up oppressive measures thatthey will be slow to relinquish so you're going to think differentthings? I think there are better and worse answers, and some of you arefrustrated Oky you're, giving us the questions you're, not telling us what Ithink what you think maybe another time. What I'm trying to do here is simplyisolate that I've. Seen too often Christians talkingpast each other on cove nineteen Um...

...trying to bring to bear and they'rethey're coming with the force of Scripture and theology and that's great.But what I really see is you know what you've assumed a certain I shouldn'tsay: Assome, that's not fair. They may have come to their own mind. A reasonconclusion, but what they are presenting, looks as if it's an assumed position onweather covet is very serious or whether it's greatly exaggerated andwhether the government is really looking out for our best interest orwhether the government. This is just a step toward oppressive measures andonce you wear a mask they're, never going Ta tell you to take the mask off Soby, focusing our attention on whatthe issues are. At least we have maybe some hope that we can, if not agree, we can at least see thenature of our disagreements, and I think it's really important onall of these very divisive cultural flashpoint, difficult issues right nowthat we try to think is clearly as possible. So what's the takeaway of allof this okay very helpful or actually not helpful you've, given us somequestions to ask- and now I just know why- I'm why I am so mad at everyone. Let me just land this plane with maybea few takeaway thoughts one, and this is what I've been sayingAl along, let's be clear about what we are arguing. So, let's try to isolate the actual disagreement, what we're really disagreeing- aboutisweather you know, for example, police officer, shootings, happenedisproportionately to African Americans. What we're arguing about is astatistical finding. That's not all of it. You can't you can't separate thepersonal from it or what weare arguing about is weather. The covet numbers are accurates orthey've, overcounted or they're undercounted see. What's so difficult is if we're arguingabout N W ABNDC, we think, but we're actuallyarguing about EXWINC. So, let's be clear: What what are we actuallyarguing about? Maybe a second takeaway is surely as Christians. We ought to beless dogmatic about these things than we are about articles of the Christianfaith. Less dogmatic doesn't mean you haven't researched, you don't try topersuade, but if we are more passionate and moredogmatic about our reading of someone's votes, what it means or reading a officer involved shooting or ourunderstanding of epidemeology we're more dogmatic about those things thanwe are about the articles of faith in the apostles creed, then something is wrong. Theres Houl,be it's a different level of knowledge and certainty, and then, lest you think that I'm just saying hey,we just ask questions and that's all we do. We do have to be honest, therd thatlikely you will have to come to some conclusions about these contentiousmatters likely. You already have some thought in your head, perhapsunarticulated about these matters, about how you view voting about how you,how you assess, when you see another shooting or how you haveassessed the danger or lack thereof, with covet nineteen. So, yes Y, it'sgoing to be hard in today's world to live your life without some sense ofconclusion on those matters, so at least be honest with it h read: Well, listen! Well, listen topeople who disagree do your best. None of us are almost none of us are goingto be experts in any of those areas and we can't forstall any conclusionsunless we're absolute experts understand that. But then, when we havemade a decision- or we have come into a conclusion- let's hold it somewhattentatively, knowing it's not an article of the faith, Aur understanding and then try topersuade and try to listen, try to learn and then here's a final thought,a D, I'm thinking as a pastor understand, I'm speaking tocongregation members out there understand that most pastors, certainlynot all, but most pastors are going to...

...try to split the difference when it comesto these contentious issues. These prudentialmatters now splitting the difference sounds negative and it can be. It could be that your pastor or me, I'ma passer of a local church, are just cowardly, trying to take a weasel wayout. How not to make people upset, don't want to come to a real decision,don't want to really h, make any waves and so just going to try to find athird way. I'm just going to say. Is there a way that sort of the goldenmean between these so yeah there's a bad way to do this and there's a badmotivation for it? But it may also be that your pastor, he istrying, as best as he can to shepherd a flock with divers viewpoints andunderstandings and different access to knowledge and H, different sources ofmedia input and is trying as wisely and as graciously as possible to not havethe whole place blow up, and that, I think, is a commendable aim by thepastor so typically on these matters that most pastors will try to find. Isthere a way to try to hold this together? So that means that you're likely not to find again,you can think of other examples, but you're likely not to find pastors, who have extreme views inthese matters or at least extreme views that they're stating extremelyexplicitly and now now can trast that, with most of the media input, we're getting are going to be thethe strongest, most stridant voices,because those are the people who are entertaining those are the people whoget followers. Those are the people who get shows. Those are the people thatget our attention, and so you have this uneasy equilibrium. It's not even anequilibrium where you have folks who are most passionate about it andthere's the ones Wyou're going to hear the most from and many of the voicesthey're getting are probably the most trenchent stridint voices where the pastor andthe leader and many organizations or institutions is going to try to find away that holds the constituency as it were together. All of that means pastors. Let's have appropriate courageand let's have appropriate wisdom and Christians. Let's, let's beappropriately patient and, let's all of us, do our spirit led best to set the world anexample in thinking carefully about these things not afraid to state opinions strongly. I know the tone police are out there.No, no a Staye, her opinion strongly, but we ought to state the mostimportant opinions the most strongly, and that means that some other lessdogmatic convictions and conclusions. We will have a bit more epistemichumility and perhaps grace toward one another as we seek to learn well, Isaid this was going to be short and, wouldn't you know this pasture canmonolog very well for nearly an hour looking forward to have Collin and justin back next week. Thank you for listening crossway. You were scribing andchecking us out on leaving a Veu only if it's good on one of the manyplatforms and thanks for being with US until next time, glorify God enjoy himforever and read a good book.

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