Reject Either/Or; Pursue Both/And
I ran across a powerful quote this week that I’d like to share with you. Abigail Dodd— a Christian, wife, mom, and theologian—writes this regarding our current cultural moment:
It’s possible to believe that widespread, stealing, burning, violent rioting all Summer was
damnable, and that the violent storming of the capitol was likewise damnable. It’s possible to
believe that there were innocent protestors caught in both. It’s possible to believe that
COVID is real and especially dangerous for some, and also that the panic the media incited is
unhelpful at best and harmful for millions at worst. It’s possible that ethnic partiality is sin to
be repented of, while also believing that the cultural narrative of the pervasive mistreatment
of anyone who isn’t white is a lie, used for political, social capital.
What Abigail captures here is critical for us to reflect on. We live in a polarized era. And in this era, it’s more socially acceptable to pursue an either/or approach to truth, rather than a both/and approach. It’s more socially acceptable to view reality in stark terms of black and white, rather than viewing reality with different hues of gray. Some things are black and white. Yes. But some things are not.
As Christians, our goal is to believe, live, and speak the truth. In some situations (like our current cultural moment), to capture the truth we must reject simplistic, either/or answers to complex social problems. Instead, we must accept and pursue both/and answers when appropriate. This might mean people don’t like us. Oh well. The truth is worth suffering for. Our allegiance is to the truth and to communicating that truth in whatever way the truth demands.