One of the more bizarre things about how people perceive me is that I can look both (1) like a pushover and (2) obstinately stubborn.
The first observation is explained, I think, by the fact that I have a very wide tolerance for things and so there are many times I just don’t care either way. When it looks like I’m giving in, I’m really not. The question or issue at hand just doesn’t matter enough to me to exert the energy to come up with an opinion or preference.
The second observation about me is explained, I think, by the fact that I am…
…actually stubborn when something does matter to me or when I believe something strongly.
In a profound and thought-provoking post, Codepoke discusses how physics and the science of light gives him permission to be theologically stubborn in his viewpoints concerning Calvinism and Arminianism.
As a person who seems determined (or is it predestined?) to live most of my life holding opposite tensions in each of my hands (perhaps on each side of my brain), this post put into words why I am not able to resolve such tensions by compromise or camping out in the middle ground.
It articulates why I like theology and listening to people at the extremes, even while I feel myself pulled between the extremes, neither really in either extreme nor hanging out somewhere between them. Perhaps I’ve made my home in the No-Man’s Land of cognitive dissonance. It’s not always fun. It sometimes feels insane. But reading this post, I’m reminded again of why I don’t feel like I can maintain my internal integrity and “pick a side” on a lot of theological issues.
Even when I speak with conviction from the perspective of one side, I don’t find myself able to actually argue against “the other side” in a way that seeks to dismantle it as pure error, through and through.
I’m not waffling on there being truth or not. There are teachings which I believe are erroneous, and which stand in contrast to The Truth. I’m not talking about that in this post, but rather the kinds of things that theologians have argued about, fought about and excommunicated opponents over for centuries, without ever being able to satisfactorily resolve once and for all what is The Truth of The Matter. The kinds of things that both sides use the same verses to prove their points with.
Funny enough, reading Codepoke’s post I realized how much I actually like being able to say “we’re both right.” That’s why I’d never be a very good debater. I really want to be able to hold firmly to what I see as true and right, while being able to make space to hear and understand things just as strongly from your perspective. Somehow, what sounds like the opposite view doesn’t so much water down my own, but holds it in a realistic tension that I think is important (perhaps even essential) in the context of my limited understanding.
Well, I’m rambling and struggling to find words for the very thing that I think Codepoke has already articulated so well. I hope you’ll go read his thoughts.