Polarization and the church: is a third way possible?

4 thoughts on “Polarization and the church: is a third way possible?”

  1. Reblogged this on Everyday Religion and commented:
    A great read, for conservatives and liberals alike. It is possible to affirm the validity of one’s faith in a way that shows them love without accepting all their beliefs.
    Polarization is real and is rampant and hurts people, but thankfully there is a third way, a middle way.


  2. An excellent essay. I have spent much of my life trying to find some sort of third way, and I fervently hope we’ll see more of it in mainstream Christianity in the coming years.
    I think part of the key to the third way is found in something you wrote above: “If we claim Jesus as our example, can we find any case in the gospels where he didn’t cast his lot with the disenfranchised? Where he didn’t favor those who were marginalized or excluded over those who were in power?”
    I think the response is more complex than that: Jesus associated with tax collectors and healed the slave of a Roman Centurion–both the tax collectors and the centurion would have been considered oppressors by many of the people who followed him. But, viewed from another angle, we can see that both the tax collectors and the centurion would have been hated and ostracized by most of the people who surrounded them every day. Who is the oppressor and who is the oppressed? Part of Jesus’ gift was to realize that most of us feel like the oppressed some of the time. The school bully may go home to a broken and abusive family life. The person in power may be surrounded by loneliness and isolation. Following Him requires us to see the pain and hurt that affects everyone and to see everyone we meet–regardless of what category we would like to place them in–as children of God, loved by God, made in the image of God. When we stop seeing people as categories and start seeing them as people, we can begin that process of constructive dialogue essential to the third way.


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