As Kevin Miller puts it:
To my way of thinking, Christianity isn’t about assenting to a set of propositions. It’s about following Christ. It’s not a statement of faith; it’s a way of life. It’s about loving God first of all, which frees us to love our fellow human beings, to practice self-sacrifice rather than demanding that someone be sacrificed for the sake of the group.Jesus was a line-in-the-sand-drawing type of guy sometimes, sure, but something tells me he wouldn't have erected any sort of socio-theological border fences to decide who could follow him and who couldn't.
The evangelical obsession over who is "in" and who is "out" seems to me to be not only incredibly unproductive, but also antithetical to the very heart of the gospel. And anyway, as Rachel Held Evans so aptly stated, "Maybe what makes the gospel offensive is not who it leaves out but who it welcomes in."
So what does this have to do with blogging ethics?
Well, I think we all recognize that the border police mentality is harmful when The Gospel Coalition does it. Or when John Piper does it. Or when Denny Burk does it. And rightly so. Because it is. It's rude and unchristian and it sets a very bad example both for those who are already firmly planted in the evangelical camp and for those who are on the outside looking in wondering what all the fuss is about.
But I fear, at least for myself, that I don't recognize that mentality is harmful when I do it. I don't see that when I jump down a commenter's throat for asking a sincere question, when I assume the worst motives from every blogger who disagrees with me, when I unleash the full arsenal of my argument in a single comment with reckless disregard for the heart of the person on the other end of the computer, then I am the border police.
I am the border police.
The only difference is I'm policing a different border. A more "progressive" border, sure, but maybe I haven't come so far from fundamentalism after all.
And the thing is, I don't just want to police a different border, because that mindset is fundamentally harmful and bankrupt at the core. I want to stop thinking in terms of borders, in terms of who is "in" and who is "out." I don't just want to preach to my own little choir. I want to actually change minds and hearts. I want to hold up a light. I want to point a new way forward.