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Reconciliation is in the aftermath

‘This is a kairos moment’

By Ed Meadors | Faculty Contributor

Freshman Dianne Gabrielsen grapples with the ideas presented in Excalibur following its release last Wednesday. (Photograph by Emmie Sweeting)

Freshman Dianne Gabrielsen grapples with the ideas presented in Excalibur following its release last Wednesday. (Photograph by Emmie Sweeting)

I personally did not participate in the conception, authoring, design or distribution of Excalibur, nor did I volunteer to write this editorial. I was asked. I should also clarify that I’m not a traditional conservative or liberal. With the liberals, I favor increased gun control and stiff regulations to protect the environment, while opposing the death penalty, except in extreme cases. At the same time, with conservatives, I strongly oppose same-sex marriage out of concern for the human rights of adopted children, all of whom have been born to heterosexual birth parents. Also with conservatives, I oppose abortion, except when the mother’s life is in danger, and I strongly favor the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. With regards to the last election, I voted for neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton, instead writing in the African-American female former Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice — my personal protest, if you will.

So what’s my opinion about Excalibur?

Clearly, open forum dialog on the crux issues would be a better way. Optimal would be something along the lines of the faculty forums Taylor once organized with unanimous community approval.

Community statements via Twitter, Facebook and email have evidenced a readiness to interpret fellow community members in the worst possible light. Unsubstantiated alarms are now burdening Taylor’s reputation, unnecessarily distracting attention from the great things happening here. These markers indicate that we bear the image of our politically polarized, social-media-frenzied secular culture. A major takeaway from this ordeal is the wisdom of refraining from inflated fictional rhetoric.

The silver lining of our predicament is that we have a golden opportunity for repentance and bipartisan reconciliation for the purpose of exemplifying what American culture desperately needs — an example of intelligent people rigorously but respectfully disagreeing with one another in pursuit of truth, peace, justice and abundant life for all (especially the voiceless) — our best effort at exhibiting a kingdom of God ethos (Philippians 1:27).

Our strength, of course, is the Lord Jesus himself. He’s shown us how to live in preparation for citizenship in heaven by calling us to exude love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, humility and unprejudiced love for all people.  His amazing grace challenges us to give one another the benefit of the doubt, to critically but patiently consider opposing views, to refrain from caricature and to abstain entirely from blind, venomous casting of stones.

God’s costly grace commends us to act in compliance with divine truth and holy integrity. Jesus, Paul and John were all confrontationists, when it came to addressing sins traced to false teachings. Their words, symbolically, were “sharper than any two-edged sword,” provoking severe retaliation from religious and secular authorities alike.

God’s grace, Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “The Cost of Discipleship” still reminds us, is neither cheap nor laissez-faire. It comes at the cost of the supreme sacrifice. I trust that Excalibur adopted the Arthurian symbol of the sword with biblical nuance and quoted Edmund Burke with noble intent: “There is a limit at which forbearance ceases to be a virtue.”

The Lord himself indeed did not forbear perversions of truth; neither should his people. Whatever its miscalculations, Excalibur, read in accord with its authors’ intents, could still generate constructive dialogue in the spirit of “convicted civility.” Knowing the authors as I do, I have confidence in their goodwill toward all. Similarly, I respect other voices who feel equally misrepresented and misunderstood. Taylor champions reconciliation. This is a kairos moment for exemplifying what Christian community is all about.

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