I believe that it is in Screwtape that Lewis says something like the modern man has been conditioned to have a dozen incompatible ideas dancing around in his head. And Lewis himself was not this way, as his friend Owen Barfield testified, when he said that what Lewis thought about everything was contained in what he said about anything.
I don’t pretend to be anywhere near where Lewis was, but I can openly avow that this is what I aspire to.
But I have noticed in my zealous pursuit of this particular desideratum — or is it universal desiderata? — that our modern fragmented world has ways of pushing back. Some of this is just in the nature of the case, and some of it is malevolent. This is what I am referring to.
Because it is not possible to say everything every time you speak or write, that which you would desire to be implicitly connected can easily be denied, misrepresented, or slanderously inverted by your foes (and misguided friends). Multiple flanks are always exposed. You can be associated with people you do not want to be associated with. You can be charged with holding things you do not hold. You can upbraided for your unconscionable sin of omission, in that you did not mention the doctrine of imputed righteousness in your essay on gun control.
Bringing things down to the particular is the beating heart of incarnational Christianity. And when you bring it down to this particular, to this application, not that one, you are not excluding the necessity of coming down on another particular, in another application, on another issue, at another time.
Another difficulty is that the attempt to believe what you believe and live out what you do in terms of a comprehensive worldview, all under the name of Jesus, means that you will be wrong a bunch. This leaves you open to the charge that you are the guy who is “often wrong, but never in doubt.” But this is simply the cost of doing business — a lot of what parades as epistemic humility is nothing other than cyacowardice, a neologism of my own that I respectfully submit to our generation’s leading lexicographers, in the hope that they will see the pressing need for it. Whenever you have a lot of something, you do need a noun for it.
Think of it this way. The attempt to link the lordship of Jesus to whatever the issue is — whether gun control, birth control, border control, or control systems — does have the possibility of error. The refusal to do so has the certainty of error, and shows a distinct lack of self control. Leaving all the definitions under the authority of MSNBC, Google, and the devil is mere capitulation, not wisdom. The path to wisdom means getting out there and putting it on the line. The path to wisdom is a gauntlet, and you are going to get whacked on the head.
But to reapply a comment of D.L. Moody, I like that way of doing it better than other people’s way of not doing it.