Fundamentalism & Dialog

The most important conversation is with fundamentalists. I'm not just talking about Christian fundamentalists, but fundamentalists of every persuasion. Conversation between the moderates and liberals and even some conservatives of every persuasion already happens. Where the conversation is the most difficult and challenging is with fundamentalism. Of course, the assumption I'm making is that I think the conversation is more important than the conclusion. Not everyone believes this. To many (and I think this is a fundamentalist value), knowledge of the truth is valued more highly than the search for it. I appreciate Bishop Spong's contribution to the conversation. And although I understand the sentiment behind Bishop Spong's recent manifesto… the sorrow, frustration and anger… all you have to do is change the words and you have a fundamentalist manifesto written by the other side of his argument. A line has been drawn... understandably necessary in his mind... but a line that forever divides. I'm not sure what else he could have done, having had such a long ministry that has been met with incredible disappointment. There are times, I admit, when I want to shut down the comments on my blog because I feel that a fundamentalist attitude has deteriorated the conversation. Again, not just from a fundamentalist Christian position, but from any position, including atheist, agnostic, evangelical, or other. It is the fundamentalist attitude, the fundamentalist mindset, in my opinion, that shuts down meaningful conversation. (I readily recognize that when I say "meaningful", it might only be meaningful to me.) But I've come to the conclusion that this would be dangerous. Change in the world begins with me. How I treat this person right now is how I treat all people all the time. How I do anything is how I do everything. If all the moderators in the world decided to shut down all fundamentalist voices, it would only marginalize us further, widen the divide, and ultimately generate wars.

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