How Then Shall We Speak?
“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” – Stephen R. Covey
As the above quote from Stephen Covey notes, far too often “dialogue” consists of hearing the perspectives of others not so that we may understand them, but in order that we may show them where they are wrong. This is especially obvious on the internet, where 140 character Twitter interaction, sound-bite news, rhetoric-oriented politics,#hashtagactivism, internet forums, Facebook statuses, and polarizing worldviews have made serious, thoughtful, and civil discussions few and far between.
It is within this context that we launch Conciliar Post in an attempt to promote edifying dialogue that informs, encourages, and challenges people around the world. Instead of listening to win an argument, authors at Conciliar Post are interested in understanding people and ideas on their own terms before offering our own views. Many of us agree with Saint Augustine, that “wherever truth may be found, it belongs to [the] Master,”1 and that we should seek to understand what is being said around us in order that we may be transformative within our own contexts. In a world full of fundamentalism (“I have all the answers”) and postmodernism (“there are no universal answers”), Conciliar Post seeks to offer a balance between such extremes, providing a place where people may seriously, thoughtfully, critically, and faithfully reflect upon life, faith, and our world.
Conciliar Post exists as a collection of theological conversations, journeys of faith, reflections on Christianity, and commentary on current events from a Christian perspective, the outpouring of such Biblical principles as love of neighbor, engaging our world, and the need to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. Conciliar Post exists as a place where people may humbly, faithfully, and dialogically reflect on important issues, bolster meaningful dialogue, and grow in relationships with Christ. Our authors intend not only to be “hearers”—those writing abstractly about life in our world from a safe distance away—but rather doers, who live, love, and serve God, other human beings, and our world and encourage others to do the same. We do not profess to have all the answers to life’s questions. Yet since we also recognize this realization does not necessitate that meaningful answers to our questions do not exist, we continue to pursue truth. And as we search we seek to be pure, peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere (James 3:17).2
The world is a complex place, full of competing ideas about the Ultimate, humanity, and the world. In order to engage that complexity, the authors of Conciliar Post endeavor to offer reflections upon a wide variety of topics. The perspectives represented at Conciliar Post are far from monolithic. Although each author affirms the basic tenets of historical orthodox Christian faith, we come from a variety of backgrounds and theological traditions. We claim authors who are Catholic, Orthodox, Lutheran, Anglican, Evangelical, Baptist, Reformed, and Charismatic, 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. This diversity among our authors has reinforced our conviction that loving and meaningful dialogue on matters of importance remains both a need and a possibility in the modern context.
As we reflect and dialogue together about life, faith, and our world, we encourage you to journey with us, perhaps even subscribing or following us on social media. We do not pretend ourselves to be the only ones discussing important theological and cultural issues (in fact, we recommend you check out places like First Things,Mere Orthodoxy,Ethika Politika, and the Institute for Religion and Democracy). However, we do hope to add additional faithful and serious voices to the mixture of perspectives on the important ideas and issues of our time. Won’t you join us?