A Word of Caution (For Readers and Writers)

By: Jon Meerdink

On July 15, it will have been four months since the great Cardboard Magazine project took off. I, for one, am glad to be along for the ride, if only in a limited capacity.

Over the past four months, we’ve examined a wide range of topics, including racism, homosexuality, missions, worship, politics, movies, and a score of others. I’m happy to see each of the writers who contribute to this blog (or magazine…blogazine?) tackling such big issues with fervor and excitement.

But now, having completed a third of a year as a group, I have a word of caution. Actually, five words: be careful, and be humble.

Each of us is doing our best to examine serious issues in the world, and I think that’s fantastic, but I think we need to address each of these issues from a careful, humble perspective. It’s important to realize that even though we’re each accomplished writers in our own right, we’re all still relatively new to this ballgame. As far as the two thousand year scope of Christianity goes, we’re pretty small fish in a pretty big pond. Chances are, almost everything we’ve written about has been written about before by many people, so our contributions to the conversation may be minimal.

I recall a situation from junior high. One morning, our sixth through eighth grade Sunday School class got bumped up to the high school class for some reason, and we were invited to join the discussion. I don’t even remember the topic, but I do remember quickly feeling that I had a vital piece of information I needed to share. I jumped in boldly, being a bit of an arrogant kid, and shared what I had to say. The room was quiet for a second, then someone cleared their throat and said “Actually…” and proceeded to destroy everything I’d just said. Humiliated, I shut up for the rest of the class. Clearly, I was lacking a little humility.

Now, obviously the situation here is a little different. We all have a lot more experience (and wisdom, hopefully) than I did as a youngster. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t heed the same lesson I learned. It’s possible, as we examine various topics, that someone else might just know more about what we’re trying to talk about than we do. With than in mind, we need to write from a place of humility, not arrogance or false confidence, if we’re to have any legitimate stake in future conversations.

As we enter the second third of our first year at Cardboard, let’s keep this in mind. There will surely be more great discussions on controversial topics in our future, and I’m confident our discussions and articles will come from a humble, truth seeking perspective. I think Paul’s words in Romans 12:4 are appropriate here: “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” The context of that comes from a discussion on spiritual gifts, which fits perfectly with what we’re all putting on display here. Let’s make sure that whenever we sit down at our keyboards, we’re using our gifts not to show what we know but to attempt a humble entry into the greater conversation that is Christianity in the world today.

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