Everyone has a pet name for his or her grandparent or great grandparent. One set of great-grandparents we referred to as “Granny and Pa on the Farm.” Yes, it is stating the obvious to note they lived on a farm. When we would make the drive to southern Kansas we would notice the silos. Now for city kids these structures prompted any number of questions. I was reminded of this while driving home with Patty Sunday afternoon from Springfield, MO. I noticed a number of silos – many abandoned and now serving as a remnant of a bygone era. That is, until it dawned on me we still have these odd structures known as silos but they do not contain grain.
Timmy Brister wrote an autobiographical post that included a video of Johnny Hunt being interviewed. Dustin Neely interviews Hunt. The overly simple backstory, which is covered a bit better in both the video and Timmy’s post, is that Calvinist Baptists and non-Calvinist Baptists (a label created to avoid the term Arminian) spent a season in the recent memory of the SBC hosting tit-for-tat conferences. Even more simply put it was a “my vision for theology is better than your vision for theology” smack down. Uncharitable. Unkind. Embarrassing – no matter which side of the proverbial subject you came down on. The good news is that Jesus takes away the necessity for such trouble between brothers, and eventually some leaders, figure this out – Hunt counts himself among them, as does Brister in his own story. It is Good News.
These are the new silos. Or the old silos.Structures are created in which people of like mind may shield themselves from the rest of the world, at least “those” with whom we disagree. Each group has its approved list of speakers, books, and conferences to attend. These events are more in the revivalist tradition remembering to convince attenders of what they already believe. Quite a lucrative circuit – if not in money then in “prestige” and “reputation” (read, celebrity).
Gerald Hiestand, who must be related to my friend Todd Hiestand quite a solid young pastor in the Philadelphia area, posted a video on the SAET website (Society for the Advancement of Ecclesial Theology). Owen Strachan, Collin Hansen, and Justin Taylor chat about “One Faith, Many Streams.” Here are some young-ish fellows acknowledging these silos. Each of these young Reformed fellows note the ways in which it has been a pattern among some, maybe even them, to listen to others for what they might “get wrong.” So, in practice we snipe from our silos, rarely engaging persons. Reminds me of a story between Spencer Burke and D.A. Carson. But, that will only serve to build another silo.
Venturing out of our silos seems to be the point of both the videos referenced in this post. But, just how far will we venture. That is the subject for the third part.