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Over the Precipice

I attended a colloquium this fall for rhetoricians about civility in the public sphere. The conclusion wasn’t earth-shattering, but it was enough: we use appeals to civility like any other trope. Sometimes it’s necessary and useful; sometimes it’s restrictive and problematic. We can be no more prescriptive than that. It’s a function of wisdom. Of timing. Of kairos.

I’m a Burkean. I resist side-taking. I trumpet the strategic use of ambiguity. I want to avoid plummeting over the precipice of tragedy and death at all costs. Dance. Empathize. Taunt. Tease. Correct. Laugh. Just don’t kill. Whatever you do, you must. not. kill.

It’s time though. No more live-and-let-live. No more ambiguity. It’s time to push the abuse over the precipice in order to save people’s souls. It’s time to take sides. It’s time to speak Truth to power.

1 thought on “Over the Precipice

  1. When I was in the throes of the ‘scourge from hell’,six years ago,with Shingles, one morning I got inspired. I think the pain wasn’t as bad for a few hours.Which must have been God, because I really suffered. I journalled about the two extremes of people who like to spin webs around our minds, (if we let them that is ) with their mumbo=jumbo religious jargon and their mindless non-thinking gobbledy gook rhetoric. The kinds of people, who, have no intention of engaging in any reasonable dialogue, any open and honest communication with reason, common sense,openness and sharing in any manner that might in the least, resemble wisdom, with ANYONE!! And this is what I put on a large piece of newspaper, having no lined paper handy. On the far left, I put the words SIMPLISTIC and OVERLY-SIMPLISTIC. On the far right I put the words AMBIGUITY, Vagueness, Ambiguous, no clarity, unclear, ie you don’t know what the person is saying!!!! In the middle was THE GREY AREA, which is the area non thinkers and non communicators avoid like the plague, because they are afraid of the truth. G.K. Chesterton once said that over-simplification of anything seems to lead to sensationalism. The Left Behibd theological fictitious nonsense is a sad example of that. Simpleton beliefs and jibber jabber seems to take the wonder, the mystery, the joy, out of life, so that there seems to be nothing left to celebrate. Ambiguity, well, that speaks for itself. Spinning webs of confusion and delusion around people’s minds, by vague rhetoric, words, words, words, with NO SUBSTANCE, is a deceptive practice, that the practitioners of this, do not even know they are doing. Remember that awful BJU new students being burdened with a negative sermon address that I suffered the abomination to my intelligence, of actually listening to in its entirety? That Webb pastor character actually said these words: THERE IS NO GREY AREA! What was the man saying when he said those totally untrue words? He was saying, there is no need for discussion. Just listen to us’holders of the truth???’ believe everything that we say, and you will all have a simply wonderful life!! But will we? I don’t think so!

    About it’s time to take sides? As long as we do not ‘respond in kind’ to the wrong practices of others. It’s also time to stop empowering abusers, by following them. I know you, Grant and myself, we do not do that any longer. We no longer follow people who abuse, because when we followed such people in the past we actually empowered them by our following them. The best way to put power abusers out of power is to STOP FOLLOWING THEM. We who are now free from that religious crap, can encourage others to stop following such people as we now have a testimony of our past pain, and our present healing. Sometimes some old still needing to be healed pain seems to revisit us for a little while. Nothing abnormal about that. But we can rejoice in the knowledge that our loving God has us in His arms, and is guiding our every step towards more freedom and more healing. And we can encourage others to stop listening to the ambiguous jargon and gobbledy gook nonsense, that has no life in it, and we can encourage others to seek fellowships, churches, groups, where people will treat them like real human beings with real respect for their feelings, their personhood, and who will validate their emtions and their pain. And we can be wounded healers, encouraging the hurting and the broken, to come to Jesus and let Him mend the broken hearts they sometimes thought could never be healed. I do remember believing the lie from the enemy, that “I would never be the same again.” But God set me free by believing in the truth of His Word and the truth of His healing love. Yes,its time for a truth encounter with THE WRONG KIND OF POWER, the negative power that’s ‘NOT’ FROM GOD. Many thanks for your blog. I just recovered from one of my worst days, by reading and blogging on it this afternoon. I had to confront someone privately via email, this week,some one whom nobody else would speak truth to her about the kind of power she has tried to exert over people FOR THIRTY YEARS. She intimdates people. But she doesn’t intimidate me. It grieves me so much that a christian who has been given so much love, so much grace, so much forgiveness co much charitable acceptance, would continue to hurt people, in the church as she has done. I was so grieved with the selfish behaviour. I only realized this week that the reason nobody else ever confronted this person,at any time IN THIRTY YEARS!!!! was because they were all WIMPS! And that includes some pastors! Wimpy christians do not speak truth to power, to the abuse of power. Bold christians who want to stop people from abusing power, these are the ones who ‘push abuse over the precipice.’ But of course we must not injure those we confront. We must not ‘kill’the abusers with cruel words. We really do need to have mercy on them, forgive them, speak the truth to them in Grace and love, but also tell them to stop what they have been doing that’s been wrong. Your blog has really made my day. Thanks so much.

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