It's Saturday night before Resurrection Sunday. My message for tomorrow is prepared, and I've had a little time to read carefully through today's blog-comments and think through the ongoing exchange in yesterday's meta. Here are some things I'm compelled to say now. I can save the rest till next week. Have a joyous Easter.
et me start this post with a word of personal thanks to Dan Kimball for replying at all to the post I made yesterday. He wasn't obligated to make any reply whatsoever; much less wade chin-deep into the meta here (which must seem a very hostile environment to someone in his position). He posted a cordially-worded comment on the verge of the busiest weekend of the church year. He clearly went beyond the call of duty, and he gets full credit for his patience and boldness.
In that post yesterday, I remarked, "The message that comes across in [Dan's] chapter is that he really doesn't want to be bothered with doctrine."
Clearly, he is more willing to be "bothered" than I surmised from his chapterand I'm more than happy to concede that fact. I appreciate his reassurance that "doctrine is very, very important." I'm very glad to say plainly that I was wrong and he is right on that score. And I tip my hat to him for his willingness to put as much time and energy as he has into an exchange like this during Easter season.
I also want to acknowledge the point Dan made about my choice of words when I said "his response to Driscoll [in the Listening to the Beliefs... book] consisted of a scolding." Dan's affection for Mark is the theme that dominates that part of the book, and it's not fair of me to characterize it as a "scolding."
In that section of the book, Dan does refer to Driscoll's "abrasive communication style" and demurs in numerous ways from expressing the same "extent of certainty and steadfastness" as Driscoll. But the overall tone of Dan's response to Driscoll is clearly affectionate and not really "scolding." That was a bad choice of words from me. Other participants in that symposium clearly did give Mark Driscoll a scolding or two. But Dan's tone was respectful and friendly throughout. So let's correct the record on that. I'm sorry for my careless choice of words.
On the matter of Dan's hair, I think I can fairly say I have never heard anyone talk about Dan Kimball without making reference to his remarkable hairdo. It's a running joke that did not begin with me. It's arguably Dan's best-known trademark. Some reference to it seems almost obligatory. When I think of what must be involved in maintaining such a 'do, I get a mental picture of Richard Dreyfuss in Close Encounters, oblivious to his wife's chagrin, making models of Devil's Tower out of mashed potatoes and mud.
I actually tried it myself, but it's just not a good look for me.
Anyway, Dan himself didn't seem terribly offended by the picture, but evidently some of our readers were. (I'm just glad it wasn't a comic-book cover, because you know how much those can hurt.) But for Sled Dog and anyone else who interpreted the picture as proof that I was merely being ungracious and not the least bit sincere in the actual questions I raised, I beg your forgiveness for letting a picture mislead anyone as to my mood or my intentions.
I also plead guilty to serially posting tasteless graphics. It's one of my most troublesome besetting sins.
I would like to note for the record that neither I nor anyone who agreed with me employed profanity or abusive name-calling toward Dan Kimball or any of our critics. It's hard to make sense of people who call you obscene names and bend over backward to be insultingwhile simultaneously pretending to be indignant about how ungracious someone else has been. But, then, we live in postmodern times, and that is a large part of the point I'm trying to make.
I really am trying to make a rather serious point without being ungracious or obstinate. And if I could beg my critics' indulgence while I try once more to explain why I've continued to press the point with Dan, I'd love an opportunity to explain that matter dispassionately, without the proliferation of name-calling, profanity, and angry attacks in the meta.
But I'm not going to attempt that explanation in this post, lest it detract from the things I've mentioned above that I do want to concede to Dan.
I'll come back in a post on Monday or thereabouts and do my best to explain why I think Dan's original comments failed to answer the questions I raised, and why his later comments seem to contradict what he has written elsewhere.
Meanwhile, let's celebrate the resurrection.