There are a number of reasons for this blog’s sluggishness of late, but among them are the fact that some of my blogging energies have been redirected elsewhere. I will now be serving as a Contributing Editor at the Political Theology blog, so look out for future contributions there, as well as for invisible traces of my editorial touch on other posts there (you’ll be able to tell that I’ve edited them if you find random intrusions of Hookerian style). I’ve also just contributed a piece at Mere Orthodoxy, Matthew Anderson’s excellent site where I’ll be contributing occasionally in future, and my initial foray, on the recent kerfluffle over women bishops in the Church of England, has already set off some fireworks. Matt had the audacity to title it as response to Doug Wilson (which, admittedly, a significant chunk of it was), something I’ve avoided doing for four years, and so Wilson was good enough to offer a rejoinder at Blog and Mablog within a few hours.
Wilson helpfully clarifies some of his concerns in his response, though my own concerns remain largely unappeased. The question, ultimately, is not over whether satire and peremptory dismissal is ever appropriate when confronted with scholarly tripe, but over whether it was appropriate in this particular case. My argument is that such a posture should be the exception, not the rule, and that our normal posture toward those with whom we disagree should be that of “intellectual empathy,” as Matthew Anderson has recently described. Particularly, there are those who by their Christian faithfulness, evangelical witness, and diligent scholarship have earned a title to our respect, so that our instinctive posture toward them, even when they seem to have seriously misstepped, should be one of “intellectual empathy,” seeking to understand carefully where they’re coming from even as we disagree, rather than merely laughing them out of court. Wright, I think, certainly qualifies, and so while I have my own serious disagreements not only with his conclusions but with his arguments in his contribution to the women bishops debate, I think Wilson’s is the wrong way to approach this disagreement, and serves to widen the gap between American and British evangelicals, rather than helping to foster greater understanding.
I hope to post further on the women bishops topic here at the S&P next week, suggesting a better way of arguing than Wright’s, and also hopefully offering a Hookerian perspective on Parliament’s attempted interference in the matter.