A few weeks ago I spoke at a church and closed with a quote from Sarah Bessey. One of the volunteers in that church loved the quote and was talking about it with others when she decided to Google Sarah’s name to find out more about her. She then had a few questions after realizing Sarah’s theology may be more different from her own than she realized (and was a bit uncomfortable with it).
The pastor of the church relayed this story to me and we had a great discussion that anyone who communicates publicly for a living understands. Every person you quote comes with a risk. I know pastors who don’t share their personal reading list of books to avoid comments from others. Or just watch what happens if a pastor mentions the name Rob Bell (I once got reprimanded by a church member for simply following him on Twitter).
The safest way is to never quote anyone. But this comes at a loss for the community itself. The church then becomes an echo chamber of repeating ideas and reinforcing what is already believed. It’s essentially the same formula for a cult.
The question behind this discussion boils down to this: Who can (and should) we learn from?(more…)