June 27, 2011 by J. Truett Glen
Thoughts from the Glen is a blog on which I will address questions and topics that I find meaningful. My experiences and enlightening moments in life have answered many questions but have also raised many more. In contemporary American society it is difficult not to be confronted with some meaningful and confusing questions about what is “right” and what is “wrong.” The culture’s taste in entertainment and views on progress are constantly stretching traditional convictions on what is socially acceptable and what is not. How we respond to these questions shapes our lived reality and the reality of those that we are intimately related with.
When I finally finished my bachelor’s degree in Biblical Studies, after 10 years of bouncing from school to school and concentration to concentration, I began considering what I would study in graduate school. My father had been pressing me to pursue an MDIV so that I could join him in “The Ministry,” but I was at a place in life where I didn’t feel at peace about pursuing that path. I thought over what I was passionate about and what I had invested my time in over the past 6 years and came up with ETHICS! No, not really. What I discovered was that I was passionate about delving into how to conduct life in a confusing and problematic world. I had led small groups in churches filled with college aged individuals, worked with the Navigators on the campus of Texas A&M, and started a collegiate ministry at the College at Southeastern. During my engagement with these college students I discovered that they too struggled with questions about how to conduct their lives in a way that honored their faith in Christ. I discovered that I was not alone in these matters and that I found a great deal of fulfillment in helping others find paths that God had showed me while I stumbled through the thick forests of morality and the search for “truth.” It is the very fact that the terms “morality” and “truth” are so loaded that I compelled to engage what they represent and help others do the same. After looking around at graduate programs for a while I came to understand that to study ethics is to study these complexities in life that I had been so drawn to over the years. So, I pursued a Master of Arts in Christian Ethics.
After many years of walking these “forests” I have now found myself in a position where I can actually spend a good deal of time interacting with others on life’s challenging issues and provide for my family while doing it. I am blessed with this privilege. I do not “deserve” it. Nor do I believe myself to be the best at it. However, I have been granted an opportunity and I look to make the most of it. This blog is an attempt to make the most of it.
On this blog I will interact with all things ethical and many things theological. I had a blog for some time named “The Interrelational Church” that focused on issues concerning church polity and the theology behind it. I will still interact with the ecclesiological discussions that I facilitated on my old blog in this one, but I will focus much more on issues of morality, philosophy, apologetics, and sociology on this blog. This expanding focus represents the topics that I have studied over the past seven years and the current teaching opportunities that I have been given. Please join me in engaging topics that aren’t always easy to engage and I encourage you to offer grace in the midst of that engagement.
To incorporate a Brad Pitt line, “I cannot abide” hateful speech. Disagreement is going to be had, but if disagreement turns into personal attack I will erase the comments and block future interaction from the agent of transgression. The following are examples of such comments that I will not abide: “you are an idiot,” “your views are stupid,” “You’re going to Hell,” “I hate (plug in ethnic or social group).” Amazingly enough, there are ways to suggest that one believes that a perspective or belief is wrong without attacking the person that believes them. I realize that there are sensitive individuals out there that will take your disagreement with their beliefs very personally and will be offended that you don’t agree with them. This phenomenon is very hard to avoid and I don’t expect commenters to disengage from saying what they believe simply because someone thinks you are the devil for believing it. Just make sure to try and season your speech with grace and you should be fine.