Sunday, December 23, 2007

Philophronos Blogging

[This is a repost from October 26, 2006 (actually an update). It seems fitting for this time of the political season as we are about to enter the primary season.]

Laura from Pursuing Holiness

The internet, as much as I enjoy it, has helped lower the level of political discourse because it is far easier to type something directed at a stranger that you'd never dream of saying to the face of someone with whom you're acquainted. It even affects the Christian blogosphere. I'm not alone in occasionally wanting "to not just debate the point, but to crush [someone's] argument into oblivion." I also know that feeling is not consistent with 1 Peter 3:15-16:
But set Christ apart as Lord in your hearts and always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks about the hope you possess. Yet do it with courtesy and respect, keeping a good conscience, so that those who slander your good conduct in Christ may be put to shame when they accuse you.
Laura again:
If we are called to make our defense of our faith with gentleness and respect, how much more should we do so with respect to minor issues like the politics of our nation or any of the temporary governments of this world? Those things may feel quite important right now, but in the light of eternity, our perspective on them will be very different. By and large I think Christians do an excellent job of keeping debate civil, and that is why I'm joining Henry Neufeld, a liberal blogger (Threads from Henry's Web) to make a rather bold challenge that we're calling Philophronos Blogging.
phil√≥phrōn: to think, have a mindset. Friendly, courteous, benign (1 Peter 3:8). Deriv.: philophr√≥nōs (G5390), in a friendly or kind manner.
Laura's and Henry's rules for "Philophronos Blogging":
We're challenging Christian bloggers who write about politics to write at least one post a week until the election - and hopefully after it - that adheres to the following guidelines:
  • Consistent with 1 Corinthians 13:1-7
    If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but I do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so that I can remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away everything I own, and if I give over my body in order to boast, but do not have love, I receive no benefit.

    Love is patient, love is kind, it is not envious. Love does not brag, it is not puffed up. It is not rude, it is not self-serving, it is not easily angered or resentful. It is not glad about injustice, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
    and Ephesians 4:15
    But practicing the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Christ, who is the head.

  • Assume goodwill and good intentions for our political opponents
  • Wherever possible list supporting reasons why they have good intentions

  • Negative statements are not personal and are factual

  • If negative statements are conclusions, the facts that led to the conclusion are referenced

  • Negative statements support the argument and are not gratuitous
Imagine what the political tone in the country would be like if all political debate adhered to those guidelines!
I will not be putting myself on this blogroll because I will not be posting an article a week about politics on my blog probably ever.

Those that believe these guidelines for the way Christians should engage in political dialogue are correct, and who consider themselves christian political bloggers, please consider joining the blogroll and aggregator mentioned in the links above.


  1. In other words, we deal with political adversaries the way we are supposed to deal with all people -- with respect for the spark of divinity that ignites us all.

    This post addresses the way we "thing" one another and act hatefully. Another aspect is the way we address one another in a seemingly friendly, but still disrespectful way.

    My feeling is that this is common among missionaries -- that we hope the positivity of our message annihilates that of those whom we meet. It is a kind of smiling cruelty -- it disrespects, it trashes the possibilty of true communication, it is passive aggressive. But it is the foundation of much Christian "dialogue."

  2. Mike

    Hey brother - nice to "see" you.

    There is that tension. Jesus himself said to love another so that by our actions we would heap burning coals on their heads.

    And the Paul passage above talks about embarrasing our enemies and convicting them by our kindness.

    I am not sure how we avoid that one :-) - or even if we should be trying to.

    Thanks for dropping by.

  3. I think we need to remember the fruits of the spirit. Kindness comes to mind. No matter how much we disagree we must be kind.

    That is one thing I love about movies like Pride and Prejudice. No matter how much they disagree, they are still kind. Amazing. We can sure learn something from all this.

    Excellent scripture!


How to debate charitably (rules are links to more description of rule):
1. The Golden Rule
2. You cannot read minds
3. People are not evil
4. Debates are not for winning
5. You make mistakes
6. Not everyone cares as much as you
7. Engaging is hard work
8. Differences can be subtle
9. Give up quietly