Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Christian Reconciliation Carnival: Call for Submissions

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 at the submitter's option.

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 christianreconciliationcarnival@yahoo.com. Each submssion should contain:
  1. Your name or pseudonym
  2. Link and title of post
  3. 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.
  4. 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).
For entries in the Discussions and Debates category, the debate team should send one notice to the Carnival containing the applicable information for one post from each blogger; the person sending the Carnival submission is responsible for obtaining the consent of the other blogger in advance of sending the submission.

Participant Guidelines
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.
I am aware that there are some who call themselves Christians who are outside of these guidelines, or who may wish to participate in a Christian carnival even though not themselves Christian. While I wish them well, the guidelines above reflect the intended scope and purpose of this Carnival; other entries will be respectfully declined.


RandomDan said...

If you want some help with the whole carnival thing from someone who knows a thing or two about running one, let me know.

Weekend Fisher said...

Thank you both.

Mr. Randomdan, could you please drop me an email at the yahoo address for the Carnival? I'd like to see what you had in mind and get any tips there. I'm likely to reply to your email from my real email address, just so you'll know.

And Dr. P., I sure did ponder the name. One other candidate I had was "ecumenical" carnival, and o many people have such a bad impression of "ecumenical". Then I thought of "Road to Reconciliation" carnival, which has the grass-roots / long haul angles covered but could have implied any group at all.

I definitely mean a grass-roots effort. That may amount to nothing more than fellowship and some measure of understanding -- which is worth it in itself -- but that has the potential to cause exactly the kind of bottom-up groundswell that could ... encourage ... the denominational structures to try to catch up.

And I was actually going to ask you (d.p.) if you'd be willing to host February, if you didn't have serious objections to the way the Carnival is set up, so I'll take you up on that. I have some guidelines in mind for hosts which I haven't had a chance to post yet, and you definitely meet them, I'm just trying to avoid the Carnival ever being hosted at im_right_and_youre_wrong.com, if you know what I mean.)

Take care & God bless

Jeffrey Pinyan said...

This also happens to be the end of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

Jerry Heath said...

On this issue I come from a recognition that the language just cannot support the arguments most people use to "support" their cause. All language is based on context (thus the meaning is not "in" the language but in the context) and the language is conditional (you actually cannot state all the conditions so we always assume a lot).

When philosophers seemed to come to an agreement on these facts I thought we were gong to get somewhere in the debates. But it seems the result of these new conclusions is that we use this new idea to attack our opponent. The opponents ideas cannot be supported by language (implying that the folk on our side are supported or we don't really need that support).

Modern scientist who want to prove science is absolute are the worst offenders. The language is supposedly not strong enough to support religion but science has all the support in language it needs even though it has no more support from language than religion.

All our calculations cannot be wrong (Wittgenstien) but we have to realize that they are just calculations. We assume millions of things every day. Most of those assumptions are fine and good or we could not survive. It is just that we need to recognize how dependent on assumptions that we are.

Reconciliation can only come from that kind of humility. I think reconciliation also requires we remind people that absoluteness is actually not conveyable in language.

Joel Spencer said...

Interesting format ya'll have here. I'll definitely return.

danica said...

Carnival was racial reconciliation. It explores the challenges and opportunities. It also make better relationships among ethnic groups in the church.
Carnival provide a way to satisfy both mind and spirit.


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Anonymous said...

we are seems waiting for result of these new conclusions.............