I have noticed something interesting in certain parts of the Christian blogosphere. I have seen debates that degenerated into people trying to understand each others' positions. I have seen Christians praising members of other groups, a growing body of recognized common ground, and people with crossover appeal beyond their own group. Of course, I've seen nastiness and divisiveness too, but the opponents of nastiness and divisiveness are becoming bolder, more outspoken.
To that end, I'm proposing a Christian Reconciliation Carnival. It's intended as a "Road to Reconciliation" Carnival, a place where we do not expect too much of ourselves except humility, and a Carnival that is a cease-fire zone.
I'd like for us to try a Christian Reconciliation Carnival on a monthly basis, the first one to be hosted here on January 31. Please send in your links by midnight on 01/30/2007.
Topic of the Month: If you would like to blog on the theme of the month, this month's theme is The Strawman, a false representation of your group's position that often gets attacked by opponents. Name one way in which your own group is commonly misrepresented, and what is the truth of the matter. The trick: doing it without returning insults. (On the off chance that I get multiple posts of the same problem, I'll reserve the right to post the first one received for that particular problem.) Other topics are welcome too.
Submission Content Guidelines
- All submissions should tend towards unity, understanding, or common ground.
- Attitude problems, when discussed, should be assumed to be sins which are common to all groups.
- Pieces focusing on divisive sins should be based on the principle of taking the log out of our own eye first.
- All submissions should speak the truth in love. This is to say that neither truth nor love can be omitted.
- All submissions should seek to embody Christ's charge to do unto others -- particularly our estranged brothers and sisters -- as we would have them do unto us.
- One-sided presentations of partisan issues are only allowed from pairs of bloggers who each represent opposing sides, who are on good terms, who treat each other with respect, and who have an ongoing exchange so that posts from each side of the disagreement are presented together. In this way the exchange between the two bloggers, taken as a whole, is not partisan but an exploration of both sides and an exercise in how to advocate and question without descending into hatred and hostility. The Carnival will link new posts in a continuing Discussion/Debate series from the same pair of bloggers, if they are still posting new material in the current month, for up to three consecutive Carnivals. The intent of the time limit is to discourage overworking any one topic and to encourage people starting discussions with other bloggers than their usual link-partners.
Submission Format Guidelines
Please send your submissions to email@example.com. Each submssion should contain:
- Your name or pseudonym
- Link and title of post
- Category of post, if applicable:
- General interest: Any topic of general interest to people regardless of church affiliation
- Question and Answer: Respectful questions only, for example "Can someone from (name the group) please explain why you believe (a certain thing)?", or a respectful answer to such a question from a previous Carnival if the question has not already been answered. No baiting-a-trap questions, only request-for-understanding questions.
Update 01/26/2007: Submitting a question for the Question and Answer section does not prevent you from also submitting a regular post the same month. Questions do not need to be submitted as a blog post and may be mailed directly to the Carnival.
- Reconciliation: Posts on obstacles to re-union, common ground for re-union, building a framework for re-union, acknowledging work being done in the field of mutual understanding, and other work directly related to reconciliation
- Topic of the Month (announced in advance at host's option)
- Discussions and Debates: Where two friendly bloggers from opposing camps seek to do justice to their own and each others' views.
- For any category of post besides general interest, please make note of the church affiliation of the person writing the post (or each post, in the case of Discussions and Debates).
The participant guidelines are fairly broad, but are here limited to those who have some realistic hope of unity at some point in the future:
- Participant must wish for re-unification of the church
- Participant must accept one of the normally accepted canons of Scripture as the entirety of Scripture, whether the Roman Catholic, Protestant, Oriental Orthodox or Eastern Orthodox in any of its minor regional variations.
- Participant must accept that the apostles of Christ faithfully passed on his teachings to at least the first generation of Christians, and that the necessary teachings of Christ and his apostles are still known (knowable) to us today
- Participant believes that the church had not fallen into wholesale error before the Council of Nicea, so that Christian teachings up to and including the Council of Nicea can provide common ground.