I have a few guiding principles when I do “public theology” (i.e. when I write for non-academics). The two most relevant for this post are:
- I will avoid controversy for its own sake; I will not make my career by being mean to people.
- I will not avoid controversy out of fear or personal inconvenience; after listening to others, my church, and my conscience, I will (respectfully) speak my mind.
I am willing to take grief from others for what I say. I am less willing for others to take grief because of me. It recently came to my attention that that has happened. I do not know details, and what I do know I will not share. I will only say that nobody came to me. I learned about this on my own, and it disturbed me greatly.
I suspect several of the headaches I might have caused owe less to what I have said than what others have said about what I’ve said. But the distinction is irrelevant! If I get pelted with stones in the public square, I am at least partly to blame if the person next to me gets hit. I am responsible for my words and the way they effect the people I care about.
So I am going to take a breath. A deep breath. This will be a momentary pause, probably only a couple of weeks, at most. A breath is not permanent silence, but a moment to allow me to collect myself before my next utterance. In the meantime, I thank you for your patience. I covet your prayers and counsel as I consider what to say next and how to say it.
David J. Dunn, PhD