“Peace is the fruit of love, a love that is also justice. But to grow in love requires work — hard work. And it can bring pain because it implies loss — loss of the certitudes, comforts, and hurts that shelter and define us.” ― Jean Vanier, Finding Peace Link
After I spoke with Brian McLaren last Friday, my intent in posting was to portray him in a positive light, particularly since he said he was open to some form of mediation. I was excited about that possibility and conveyed that to Julie. Julie responded that she would like to seek peace with Brian and I sent Brian an email regarding her desire.
I took notes but I must have filtered those notes through my own faulty perceptions of the conversation. I was sad when I learned that there had been some miscommunication. I apologized to Brian for anything that I said that did not accurately reflect his words and thoughts.
My goal is to work with others to find a way to bring peace to this situation. In keeping with that desire, I asked him if he would like to respond to my post in any way that he thought would most accurately reflect his words and intent in the original conversation. Our mutual goal is reconciliation and I do want to work with Julie, Brian and others to make this happen.
The following is in Brian's own words. Please continue to pray for peace.
Dee, thanks for your willingness to be in conversation with me. We spoke by phone last Friday, February 6, and you wrote a post about our conversation on Sunday. On Tuesday morning, I emailed you about some areas where I felt your summary didn’t reflect our conversation, and we talked by phone later in the day. All of our conversations have been characterized by honesty, cordiality, and openness, and for that I am grateful.
You asked if I would write a clarification for your readers.
When I told you I was not contacting you representing anybody’s camp, I was trying to make it clear that I was reaching out as an individual, a fellow Christian. I had no authorization to speak for anyone else in any "camp," nor had anyone else asked me to speak on their behalf. I was speaking for myself only, and I trusted you because I sensed that you share a similar desire, as a committed Christian, to be a peacemaker and, as far as it is possible, to “be at peace with all people,” as Paul said.
You said on your post, “He said he has a number of theological disagreements with Tony and does not know him well.” That wasn’t what I said. I do know Tony well, and never would say otherwise. What I did say is that I have had less contact with Tony over the last few years compared to, say, a decade ago. I mentioned the theological disagreements not to distance myself from Tony, but to say that for me, friendship is not dependent on theological agreement.
You correctly said that I am eager for third-party review and mediation, but I did not say this couldn’t happen “until the current litigation was resolved.” I am happy to engage in third-party review and mediation whenever a fair and workable process can be mutually identified, agreed to, and arranged. In fact, that’s the reason I contacted you last week: in hopes that you would be willing to help such a process come to fruition.
You may have noticed that very soon after making your post, people seized on certain elements of it. For example, because you said that I claimed not to know Tony well, certain people were quickly calling me a liar, because they know that I in fact do know Tony well. I know you didn’t intend to put me in the position of being portrayed as a liar, but it quickly happened.
Lamentably, miscommunications are often amplified on the internet, which provides all the more reason for responsible people to exercise care in jumping to conclusions, believing the worst, etc. Scripture has a lot to say about how we communicate, and for people who identify as Christians, I don’t think there’s an online exemption.
Perhaps if you and I publicly and consistently demonstrate sincere attempts to “speak the truth in love” and to make things right when we stumble, we can set an example for more people to do the same. Not one of us is perfect, and all of us need grace and humility as we seek truth, justice, peace, and love as followers of Christ.
Again, Dee, I appreciate your willingness to speak with me, and when I brought this problem to your attention, I appreciate your desire to make it right. I look forward to continuing to do the hard and delicate work of peacemaking with you, with God’s help.