Working together is better than working apart.
Dr. Clyde Posley, Dr. Mark Eckel, co-host Warp&Woof Radio
Government “shutdowns” or legislative stalemates do little to overcome disagreements. Entrenched, combative pugilists seek only to dominate and humiliate. “Victory” comes at a cost, a cost not always immediate in its impact. Proverbs 18:18 says, “The lot puts an end to quarrels and decides between powerful contenders” (ESV).
Better to settle and lose a little, than to fight and lose a lot. When there is truth on both sides of an argument, “winning” an argument is not worth the cost. Two powerful contenders must ask themselves, “What am I willing to give up to get most of what I want?” Living together in harmony necessitates compromise and conciliation on both sides.
It’s better to throw lots than to throw punches. “Lots” functioned much as our sealed bids do today. As long as both sides agree to the outcome, no one can argue the result. A former student, now a lawyer and mayor his town, told me, “When both lawyers leave the courtroom dismayed by the verdict you know that the judgment was about as good as it gets.” The second statement confirms and augments the first in Proverbs 18:18 – settle out of court.
We can create verbal combat zones. Territorial attitudes sometimes leave little room for hearing others. “We have done it this way for years” or “You will never change my mind” are non-starter discussion points.
In academia, the underlying assumption is that the discussion of ideas is part of the larger pursuit of truth. Disagreement is not intended to be personal, but to be part of a shared, transcendent objective. How much more is this so in the church? My desire is for Truth, and while I hold many deep convictions and even more opinions, my commitment to the Truth of God is stronger than these.
Professor Prior’s comments ring true when one reads Philippians 4. Two strong women – Euodia and Syntyche – struggled with agreement (Phil 4:1-3). Paul encouraged them and all who worked with them to see the bigger picture. Not only did they labor side by side but for the same cause. Whatever our position our mission remains the same. Agreeing to a larger issue, finding the means to hold our disagreements in tension with each other, is a way that “strong contenders” can work together.
Dr. Clyde Posley and I now co-host our Comenius Institute sponsored Warp&Woof Radio show. We are both academics, each have earned Ph.D.’s, speaking in various venues around the country. We agree that any disagreements we may have are nothing in comparison to the agreement we share both to The Kingdom of Christ and the authority of God’s Word in our lives. Our collaboration together as friends and brothers in Christ seeks agreement and oneness in every arena of God’s world.
This essay will appear with some alternations this coming Sunday at Emerging Scholars Network (here). Dr. Mark Eckel is President of The Comenius Institute (website), spends time with Christian young people in public university (1 minute video), hosts a weekly radio program with diverse groups of guests (1 minute video), interprets culture from a Christian vantage point (1 minute video), and teaches weekly at his church (video). Picture credit: snappygoat.com, liberty.edu
Karen Swallow Prior, “Interview with Karen Swallow Prior,” sheworships.com 13 April 2016 https://sheworships.com/interview-with-karen-swallow-prior/