Friday, January 04, 2013

Extremism Sells, But Don't Do It

Barnabas Piper:
...differing perspectives are inevitable, some right and some wrong. There will always be segments of the population finding themselves in disagreement with others. This is inevitable. But when it is done for the sake of popularity or readership, or to increase one’s platform, it is particularly disturbing.

There is a better way—the middle ground. Of course, balance doesn’t sell nearly as well, but it does a much better job of building up. When we cease walling ourselves off behind extreme arguments and accusations and come toward the middle we will find ourselves face-to-face with those we found so easy to caricature when they were far away. We will find that those liberal, untheological social activists might truly be Jesus-loving, biblically minded, compassionate people. And discover that those of different denominations and ecclesiologies don’t really resemble Satan after all.

Now, it would be foolish to over-simplify things as if all this is as easy as “let’s all just get along.” Ideologies and theologies are often mutually exclusive and even irreconcilable. But there is still merit in the commitment to coming toward the middle with our beliefs and expressing them in a balanced way. We must refuse to let pride and our desire to be noticed move us away from real people and real relationships and into our polarized world of extremes. We cannot focus on what sells but must rather home in on the better way, on finding the middle ground.
Read the rest.

I also find that that label "extreme" or "extremist" is rather fluid and unhelpful.  Instead of labeling someone, why not just fairly describe what they believe, critique it if need be, forsake the labels, and let the reader come to their own conclusions about what is "extreme"?

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