Here it is…
In case you are unfamiliar with Festivus it is a made-up holiday from Seinfeld* that is celebrated around the time of Christmas. During Festivus family members sit around a table and “air their grievances”. According to Frank Costanza, “at the Festivus dinner, you gather your family around, and tell them all the ways they have disappointed you over the past year!”
That may be what the SBC needs.
At this years family get-together (the SBC Annual Meeting) let’s block out about 4 hours and have our own little Festivus. We will have the Tradionalists take to the mic and let us Calvinists know exactly what their grievances are. Is it our theology? Tell us. Is it some hybrid form called New Calvinism and the real problem isn’t theology but it’s an attitude? Tell us.
During this “Airing of Grievances” Calvinists must remain silent, stroke their beards and listen. (If any Calvinists is not bearded or any Traditionalist is, then that can be covered during the “airing of grievances”). No blogging. No tweeting. No coughing. No reading the Institutes. No putting together a ready defense. Just listen.
Then the Calvinists get a turn. Do you feel that a few straw-men have been erected and then torched? Tell them. Do you want to discuss what appears to you to be Semi-Pelagian? Tell them.
And just as it was for the Calvinists, during this “Airing of Grievances” the Traditionalists must remain silent and use their Libertarian free wills to simply listen. No blogging. No tweeting. No giving of altar calls. No cutting up the Institutes. No putting together a ready defense. Just listen.
Once we have aired our grievances and we know what we are really dealing with and we know areas that need to be repented of, perhaps we can forge ahead and then decide whether we want to amicably part ways or whether or not we want to use some sort of document (like maybe the BF&M) as our guideline for cooperation.
Is Festivus the Only Option?
At this point Festivus seems like our only answer…
That is apart from humility, repentance, and a painful gaze at our own soteriological camp. But I think the airing of grievances may actually be more fun to watch. Perhaps we could sell tickets and support local missions. We may need another Festivus to decide how the money should be spent, but it could be wise to schedule these every year from here on out.
In all seriousness, I do believe that it would be helpful for us to actually agree about what we are disagreeing about. Perhaps some sort of “Airing of Grievances” would be beneficial. But until we are in a spot to suspect ourselves more than our soteriological counter-parts I doubt it’d do more than generate blog traffic. It may be better to save the more pointed critiques for your own camp and leave playing defense up to the Lord.
That’s my solution. Do with it what you will, SBC.
P.S. Those of you that get to attend NOLA can decide whether or not you want to challenge the newly elected President to a “Feats of Strength” in order to adjourn.
*By the way “The Statement” would make a great name for this particular Seinfeld episode we seem to be living through in the SBC.
If you like Seinfeld here you go: