Whether it’s political disputes or theological issues, it’s not uncommon to hear someone claim to represent a middle ground, a third way, that seeks to harmonize the discord between the two sides. In a world that hates absolutes, the middle ground is often seen as the moral high ground. But is it really always a good thing not to pick a side? Kevin DeYoung had this to say over at his blog:
I’m not saying their positions are always wrong, but their position on their positions makes me nervous. I’m talking about those pastors, politicians, pundits, and publications which, at the first sign of firefight, always scramble for the cleanest spot above the fray.
The ones that always claim to transcend old polarities. The ones that always claim to be above all the silly nonsense that used to drag us down. The ones that keep their noses clean by putting them high into air. The ones that are never dirty enough for the trenches.
Why not get shot at with the rest of us? Are there not right sides to be on in some battles? Or do you not want us to see that you are at war as much as everyone else?
I get nervous when the middle ground is always the safe spot. I wonder if the two sides are being described fairly. Or if there are really twenty sides instead of two. I wonder if the sane voice of civility crying in the uncouth wilderness has something it doesn’t want me to hear. I wonder if instead of getting an intellectual argument for the truth I’m getting an emotional appeal to feel superior than the lowbrow rabble-rousers. I am skeptical of those whose first instinct in the midst of theological, political, or cultural controversy is to plead with everyone that there doesn’t have to be a controversy.
I have no desire to turn every skirmish into a war. There is more to life than belligerence. But there is also more to life than boasting of civility when battles need to be won. When the Bible tells us to seek the things that are above, it doesn’t always mean the fray.