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Peter Turner's original vision for Eschewmenical was a place where the diversity of Christian opinion would be sought and aired. While remaining professional and cordial at all times, we would eschew the inter-denominational "courtesy" of avoiding known "divisive" issues amongst Christians.

In other words, we should be arguing about the Eucharist. We should be arguing about church governance. And we have argued about the precise role of the will in regards to salvation.

But you know what? I've long held that the vast majority of Christendom is post-denominational. We have so much in common, that it takes effort to look past it. For everybody who says "the church is so fractured," the truth is that while we may fracture over style, the vast majority of what we believe is remarkably similiar.

We all believe in the divinity of Christ. We all believe in the incomprehensible surpassing majesty of His power and love. We all know that we are saved by grace. We are grateful for it. (Okay, we do have a few 'peculiar' and idiosyncratic posters, and we have explicitly non-professing posters, but the point is that this site is remarkably aware of how much homogenity we have.)

So here's why I would like to propose something.

I think we need non-Christian writers in Eschewmenical. I'd love to ask for contributors from Islam.se and Judaism.se. I actively would like to hear from the atheists, agnostics, and other non-believers. In short, I want this forum to expand it's notion and audience.

I would like for topics to remain the province of the Nicene community - after all, it is a site for the study of Christianity - but let's get diverse. (I know, the longer we stay, di-verse it gets!)

What do you guys think? Is this a step too far?

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I, for one, would be opposed to this.

Whether you consider post-denominational or not -- whatever the different traditions and branches in "Christiandom" mean to you, the scope of this site is Christianity. That is more than a large enough scope to keep us busy.

There are other sites on the network. Judaism.SE, Islam.SE, and Philosophy.SE all have their own sites and respective scopes. And they can all have their own blogs. If we want to run a series of posts in cooperation with them that hit the same topics from are respective positions that would be fine. However inside the scope of this site and this blog, the scope should be limited to representing positions that claim the umbrella of Christianity.

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It depends on the topic.

I think we've seen a good amount of diversity in the topics we've covered so far, especially the doctrinal issues like "what is the church" and "faith vs works". We may all have somewhat similar views, but we do have real differences, and the blog is a good venue to air those differences.

For some subjects, other perspectives may be beneficial. For example, on the topic of the flood, an atheist in a school district that has added creationism to the science curriculum. Or on the subject of church and state, a Muslim living in a "Christian nation".

But most of our blog topics don't really lend themselves to outside perspectives. An agnostic will not have anything to contribute on the role faith and works play in our salvation, or what is the right way to be baptized. A Jew or Muslim will not have much to add about why Easter is so significant.

So for most blog topics I don't see the value of non-Christian perspectives, but for some they might be welcome.

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I don't care how diverse we get, but I've noticed the articles trending toward something I almost always agree with, so we're either all gonna become Catholic Bloggers (ala Leah Libresco) or we're going to have to actually look for something to fight about.

I mean, I was kind of trying to raise some sort of controversy when I semi-defended selling indulgences, but no one seemed to care.

However, whatever we do, the subject matter has to remain theology, not philosophy and not science.

What we can do on the blog, if we wanted, is communally take on Dawkins, Hitchens, Hawking, Russell, Paine, Voltaire, Sartre, Marx, Shaw and Melinda Gates (and whoever else we'd like to communally vilify). I think it would be fun!

  • Your explanation of indulgences actually made them seem reasonable. I couldn't find an angle for complaint. Similarly, I was trying for controversy in my faith-vs-works post. Knowing that this community has a lot of Bible-believing Calvinists, I deliberately framed Arminius' dilemma as a choice between Calvinist teachings and the Bible. No one raised any objections; I'm not sure why. – Bruce Alderman Aug 6 '12 at 17:27
  • @Bruce I've got a sinking feeling people just aren't reading it. I know one user, Brilliant, who's got a ton of posts on the main site who'd never heard of the blog till I told him about it a few days ago. (although constantly being on the top of stackexchange.com/blogs is good evangelizing, for the site and Jesus) – Peter Turner Aug 6 '12 at 17:32
  • @Bruce Alderman: Personally, I can't stand the way comments work on the blog. If I have to write more than a paragraph or two, I just skip it. My plan was to use points in other people's posts to generate questions for the site (or BH.SE), but I'm not keeping up with it. As for generating real controversy, I thought I would be a real firebrand preacher against the heretical denominations. But I can't bring myself to do that, for some reason. ;-) – Jon Ericson Aug 14 '12 at 19:05
  • @Jon me too. I'd rather just hit +1 on your guy's posts and have it out with you in chat. It could even say "Peter Turner likes this". – Peter Turner Aug 14 '12 at 19:07
  • @JonEricson would threaded comments help? I think I have button that turns those on...or are they threaded already? If so I think there is a button that turns them off. I'm still trying to figure out what buttons I can press and knobs I can twist on this thing to make the experience better – wax eagle Aug 16 '12 at 12:36
  • @wax eagle: Not that much, I think. The real problem I have is that I can't edit comments or use Markdown. See this meta-question. – Jon Ericson Aug 16 '12 at 15:35
  • @jon ah, in that case i'll support the meta question – wax eagle Aug 16 '12 at 15:49
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Not per se, but they shouldn't be excluded either

This is not Christians.SE. Nor is is NonChristians.SE. It is Christianity.SE. That is the topic to which the blog should hold. The theistic position of the author should not matter as long as it is well written, well reasoned, and on-topic.

If this were a SE site about the French language and usage, would you seek to exclude the non-French?

If this were a SE site about paintings, would you seek to exclude non-painters?

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