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  • Virginia Brown

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.


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