Saturday, April 4, 2009

What is Slope Sitter?

I can't tell you how many times I've heard the phrase "slippery slope."  It's usually offered as some kind of warning-- "That leads to a slippery slope"-- an ominous prediction of what will happen when someone follows a certain line of thinking.  Asking certain questions or allowing certain thoughts will inevitably lead to a dangerous point of no return.  I used to use this phrase a lot.  I guess I've always figured it was true.

Recently, though, I came to the realization that I've been perched on the side of that slippery slope for quite some time.  Quite happily even.  

Let me explain.

I grew up as what you might call a fundamentalist (and I use that term not in the good sense, such as The Fundamentals published in the early 20th century).  While I hate using labels to describe a person, you might get a sense of what I was like with words such as: right-wing, Republican, liberal-hater, vitriolic pro-lifer, gay-basher, pre-tribber, young earth 6-day creationist, stereotypical Bible-thumper, "see-the-world-in-black-and-white" evangelical Christian.  I use those terms not to impugn those who wear those labels proudly; rather, I offer them as a quick snapshot of my beliefs.  If you are (or were) someone like that, or know someone like that, you are probably nodding your head in recognition.  You know the type.  Well, that was me.

But somewhere along the way, I started to realize that the way I saw the world didn't satisfactorily answer the questions that life posed to me.  I started to wonder if it were possible to be a Christian and actually think differently than I was taught to think and still be "saved."  The thought frightened me a little.

The last four years or so have been a time of intense questioning and searching for me.  Rather than turn my back on my faith, I feel like my faith in Jesus Christ has deepened and matured as I've tried to rethink issues I assumed I had already figured out.  I have by no means come to the end of my search.  But I've come to the point of accepting the fact that I don't know everything and can never know everything, and there's a certain freedom in admitting you just don't know!  I've learned to live with disconnect, with uncertainties, and with unanswered questions.

I've been thinking about starting a blog for some time-- not to point fingers, not to try to change people's minds, but rather as a humble offering to those who may also be searching and questioning everything they thought to be true.  I hope to offer some of my thoughts on hot-button issues and maybe some lesser known issues, areas of disagreement for people of the Christian faith-- from theology, to politics, to science and beyond.  

Francis S. Collins, in his book The Language of God says, "...mature observers are used to living on slippery slopes and deciding on where to place a sensible stopping point."  This blog is about finding those "sensible stopping points."  I hope you will help me in that search.  Welcome.

One simple request-- feel free to comment, but please keep all comments civil and respectful.  I don't mind questions and comments that challenge the status quo-- I strongly encourage them-- but I will not tolerate mean-spiritedness.   Thank you.


Connie said...


I have to tell you, I am really looking forward to reading this blog a lot!

In a lot of ways, I feel with you... and I'm a pastor's wife!

Thank you for all your intelligent, hard-working thinking and writing. I wish you could get paid.


E. A. Harvey said...

Thanks Connie!

I don't need to get paid--the therapy of writing is worth its weight in gold. :-) Ha!

Anonymous said...

Again, kudos for this blog.

As for the previous mindset you describe, I wonder who doesn't cleave to some pretension or other at the outset. Given the particular characteristics you outline, this is a hopeful sign to me, that you are reexamining it all. If it can happen once, it can happen with all, is what I "hope to hope."


E. A. Harvey said...

Anon- thanks so much. I think you're right-- we all hang on to some pretensions that we learn from our youth (or certain phases of our adulthood, I would venture). I too am hopeful about the changes I see in my life and in my thinking. The tricky part is that I know I can become just as dogmatic, hard-headed, and bombastic with my new set of ideals as I was with my old ones. Living the examined life is a minute-by-minute task, and I hope by God's grace I will always have a teachable spirit that can learn, grow, and admit when I'm wrong. It's hard, though, and very humbling.

Thanks for visiting my blog--hope you come back often!

jaigner said...

Thanks for your post. My experience is very similar to yours. We serve a higher throne than that of legalism, moralism or patriotism.