How Now Shall We Speak?
One year ago today Conciliar Post launched. My first post as Managing Editor was titled, “How Then Shall We Speak”, a not-so-subtle tribute to the late great Francis Schaeffer’s classic book on Christian engagement with culture, How Should We Then Live. This post laid out – in general terms – the type of dialogue that we wanted to pursue through the Conciliar Post project, namely, civil and informed dialogue that thoughtfully and faithfully listens before responding. This morning’s post stands as a reflection upon that goal and the past year at Conciliar Post.
The world has changed over the course of the past year. Although you may not have noticed, reality is strikingly different on June 16, 2015 than it was on June 16, 2014. Not only are there social and political changes that have transformed our practical and intellectual landscapes, but there have been rhetorical and theological shifts as well. While online communication continues to be plagued by the poor media of 140-character Twitter interaction, sound-bite news, rhetoric-oriented politics, #hashtagactivism, Facebook statuses, and misunderstood worldviews, there does seem to be light at the end of the tunnel. More and more people grow tired of belligerent rhetoric and empty promises, preferring to take either an indifferent or thoughtful approach to our world. While far too many people have taken the path of apathy, increasing numbers of people have begun to prioritize serious, thoughtful, and civil discussion about important topics.
In this context, Conciliar Post’s promotion of edifying dialogue that informs, encourages, and challenges people around the world has been received with great positivity. Perhaps nowhere is this more evident than our ever-increasing number of regular writers, voices who see the importance of faithful and ecumenical discussions in a culture committed to decadence and destruction. The desire of the Conciliar Post team—to find the Master’s Truth wherever it may be found,1 understand that Truth, and transform the world based upon that Truth—has not always been met with acclamation and approval. From our very first day there have been voices rejecting dialogue or criticizing our approach. Yet in a world full of fundamentalism (“I have all the answers”) and postmodernism (“there are no universal answers”), Conciliar Post continues to seek the balance between these extremes, providing a place where people may seriously, thoughtfully, critically, and faithfully reflect upon life, faith, and our world.
Conciliar Post’s commitment to ecumenical theological discussion remains its greatest strength. The theological conversations, Journeys of Faith, reflections on Christianity, cultural commentary, and Round Table discussions taking place here are an ongoing testament to the power of the Living God and the work of his Church and Spirit on earth. We have sought to exist as a place where people may humbly, faithfully, and dialogically reflect on important issues, bolster meaningful dialogue, and grow in relationships with Christ. Though there remains room for improvement, I have been more than pleased at the attitude Conciliar Post authors have demonstrated throughout this past year. Our authors write not only to be “hearers”—those musing abstractly about life in our world from a safe distance away—but rather doers—those who live, love, and serve God, other human beings, and our world and encourage others to do the same. Moments of hubris and passionate debate aside, we do not profess to have all the answers to life’s questions. Yet we also recognize that this realization does not necessitate that meaningful answers to our questions do not exist, and we continue to pursue truth.
Another of our greatest strengths continues to be the inclusion of a variety of Christian voices. Although each author affirms the basic tenets of historical orthodox Christian faith, we come from a variety of backgrounds and theological traditions. We claim writers who are Catholic, Orthodox, Lutheran, Anglican, Evangelical, Baptist, Methodist, Reformed, Charismatic, post-Protestant, among others. There are those who have grown up in the church, those who have switched faith homes, those who have found their way into Christ’s family, and those who are still wrestling with where God wants them to serve. We span the political sphere, posses varying educational experiences, and live in different places across the United States.2 Though we do not agree on everything, this theological and practical diversity has only reinforced our conviction that loving and meaningful dialogue on matters of importance remains both a need and a possibility in the modern context.
This past year has, in many ways, been a learning experience.3 We have been far from perfect. But we know that God is using Conciliar Post to further his kingdom and promote the Truth of the Gospel in the online context. As we move into another year of reflection and dialogue about life, faith, and our world, we encourage you to continue journeying with us, perhaps subscribing to email updates or following us on Facebook, Google+, or Twitter. As we listen and speak in a world of change, the mission of Conciliar Post remains the desire of life in God and growth in Christ through the Holy Spirit, the journey from sin and death to freedom in Christ. As we journey on this path called life, we seek to continue thoughtfully, humbly, and faithfully relying upon the Truth. Won’t you join us?
1 Paraphrasing Augustine of Hippo’s On Christian Doctrine 2.18.28.
2 We have authors in all four continental time zones so far. If anyone from Alaska or Hawaii is interested in joining on, please let us know.
3 I would like to thank the whole editorial team—Jody, Micah, Andrew, Laura, Jeff , and especially Editor-in-Chief Ben Cabe—for their selfless commitment to all of the “behind the scenes” work at Conciliar Post.
Photo courtesy of Mark Seton.