C. Michael Patton has written an elegant and thoughtful post entitled “What if God Read Your Posts? A Reminder About Christian Conduct on the Internet.” A number of his recommendations should appeal to religious commentators of all theological stripes, especially the following:
* You accurately represent all theological positions, even when you strongly oppose them.
* Your tone of engagement comes from a humble respectful attitude.
* Your primary goal is not to win an argument, but to contribute to understanding.
* Your defense of your position recognizes that strengths of the opposing side.
* You are gentle.
I heartily concur with all of these. But when I scroll down a bit, I notice that he Michael himself has recently written a three-part series (here, here, and here) primarily entitled: “‘Belief Is No Good Without Practice’ and Other Stupid Statements.” I understand that the title is largely rhetorical, and that he’s essentially making the argument that right action will flow naturally from right belief. But as someone who has always valued James 2:20, I was a bit taken aback. Furthermore, I know that there are Christians who would disagree with his interpretations of these verses and doctrines. I’m not sure that the above title, nor the entirety of what follows, come from a “humble respectful attitude.”