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What’s obvious to you is obvious to you

January 17, 2007

The title is a saying of my friend Jane; it speaks volumes on human interaction and the content of thought that occupies that interaction. Native epistemologies may sunder interaction until common ground is lost.

Sometimes thoughtlessness empties the content of thought, even on firm common ground.

As my friend Ruben observes in a recent post on his blog, high moral ground and positional criteria of an individual proffering an argument often replace thoughtful content in dialogue.

Some things seem to be encoded in our DNA and cannot be argued effectively. “What’s obvious to you is obvious to you” is the only possible response. (Well, losing friends is another option.) The mode and subject of baptism is one of these things. The concept of covenant family is another. Politics, patriotism, historical interpretation, and art are others. Both sides in arguments over these things may become rather snotty and righteous and claim the other needs only further study to come around. But really, a DNA transplant would be more efficient.

Where Biblical revelation is clear, there is no qualified argument. But there are those who will persist in calling clear what is not clear, and unclear what is clear. I would call clear, for instance, the Scriptural proscription of homosexuality.

Human hope and desire may belay reason and distort perspective. I think John Wesley’s passion for lost souls and his fervent desire for their salvation led him to a viciously distorted animosity toward predestination. His arguments lacked qualification. But human love is emotional and God’s love is not; it is expressed, insofar as we can apprehend it, in objective facts of mercy and justice.

The amazing thing is that, if we are effectually called, nothing, not our feelings, nor disappointments, nor destructiveness, can separate us from Christ’s love.

  1. January 17, 2007 9:44 am

    Reminds me of the differences between Calvin, Luther, and Zwingli. Sometimes they were harsh.

    Thank God for Romans 8:31-33.

  2. January 17, 2007 9:48 am

    Yes, “You are of another spirit!” is pretty harsh.

  3. Ruben permalink
    January 18, 2007 7:06 am

    Only God can grant us repentance for a false epistemology; but when He illumines, then what is obvious becomes so to us. As I told our congregation last night: “The Bible is very clear; but we are very thick.”

  4. January 18, 2007 8:09 am

    Truly. And if we truly believed in the Bible’s perspicacity, we would not be drawing battle lines, thick against thick, hacking each other to pieces with blunt swords. But alack, it is precisely the Word’s perspicacity that incites our rebellion; we simply want it to mean something else. May God grant us repentance and illumination.

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