It’s been the embrace of nuance that has truly served my faith, my relationships, and it’s the way I’ve been able to make sense of this broken world.
It’s been a God-given gift that I’ve relied on over the years, probably decades. And these days, it’s become even more important to me now. I find it to be nearly essential in the complicated moments of life that are so highly emotionally-charged. Nuance has helped bring both: clarity to the mind and charity towards others. Seriously, I thank God for this.
Words like “nuance,” “third ways,” and “gray areas” are all part of my love language. They create space for the mind between the oft-harsh polarities. They provide an avenue between the dichotomy and allow for freedom in a black and white world that demands you choose their truth or risk being dismissed as a fool, outlaw or a heretic.
Nuance can be a soul-saver. It allows the heart to say, “It’s not entirely this, nor is entirely that, it’s a bit of this, that and this and that, not ok with that over there but some of this over here too.” Doesn’t that feel good? 😉
Well it does in the real moments between anxiety and joy, between faith and doubt and between two thoughtful options whose logical outcomes risk being in direct contradiction with each other. Nuance has been essential for me as a pastor. And it’s been essential as a husband, father, and as a person who values being in community with others.
I cannot think of a time where I felt the cultural extremes to this degree and as a result, I personally have needed the nuance. Maybe you can relate. 2016 and 2017 have been many things. In addition to the presidential election, we have lived through a year of cultural tension, and great personal angst. It feels like there’s an argument behind every status update and every tweet, whether it be a trivial matter or a just cause. We are constantly being told that we’re wrong, or missing something, or operating out of a set of faulty paradigms.
I learned in my twenties that the only thing harder than being right all the time is being wrong all the time. The world is filled with half-truths, sincerely mistaken or diabolically manipulative. I won’t always get it right. And likely, I won’t always get it completely wrong. I know I won’t be nuanced enough for some, and too nuanced for others. Humbly, I suggest this is because we all operate out of a sense of nuance as well.
So welcome to my new blog experiment – “A Nuanced Kind of Christianity.” My hope is to finish the fall blogging and see what happens. Candidly, I have spent most of this year talking myself out of blogging, as I am concerned with being misunderstood or with misrepresenting my God, my family, my church, and the Church at large. Among other concerns, I will have little issue pulling the plug if this is a failure or if it’s just adding to the noise.
But in the year of reading, praying, dialoging with others, I have often felt like I’d like to contribute thoughtfully, that I would a turn at the mic and say, “Hey, I hear what you’re saying, and I hear what you’re saying too. Maybe there’s something in the middle, maybe there’s a need for some nuance.” And Facebook status updates don’t always work for wordy people like me so given the medium of blogs, this feels like a place to start. So I’m hoping to blog faithfully, to contribute meaningfully to the conversation of faith, society and life.
I find identity as a concerned pastor, as a family man, and as a Christ-follwer that really takes this stuff seriously. By this stuff, I mean the complicated journey of life that is filled with blessing and pain, joy and anxiety, injustice and God’s work of slow redemption.
I’m really just trying to be faithful with it all and I suspect we have this in common, so thanks for reading, thanks for sharing the posts that resonate with you and thanks for adding to the conversation. So come friend, let us nuance together.
Grace and peace, Tim