I would like to say a few brief words about Thabiti’s latest, and at the same time promise to respond more extensively to his (most gracious) admonitions in a week or two. The reason for that delay is that I really want to take to heart anything and everything I can, and not just automatically “push back” against it, or accept it, for that matter. I want to inhabit the first half of Proverbs 17:10, and not the second half. In order to do that I want to read and reread what Thabiti exhorted me to think about, meditate on it, pray about it, and get advice from people I trust.
That said, what can I address now?
First, Thabiti sought my forgiveness for misunderstanding my Chicago comments, and it is a forgiveness that I heartily extend. Thabiti, thank you for doing that, and thank you for being the kind of man who is willing to do that.
Second, Thabiti made a point of agreeing with me where he could do so, and went out of his way in correcting another misunderstanding in order to accomplish it. I appreciate charitable candor in discussions like this one, and Thabiti exemplifies this kind of thing better than anyone I know.
Third, Thabiti thanked me for representing him well, which I really have sought to do, and he thanked me for seeking to be honest and consistent in the positions I have taken. I appreciate that acknowledgment. Being reviled is not necessarily as fun as it looks, and I am grateful that someone as insightful as Thabiti at least sees what I am attempting.
And fourth, and most important to me, Thabiti demonstrated to me (again) his willingness to deal with the scriptural texts as they stand. In terms of my intentions, it is this desire to never back away from Scripture that drives me. I am not trying to obey little insane racist voices in my head; I am simply trying to stand fast. I cannot express how much I appreciate Thabiti’s refusal to play “let’s pretend” with the text of Scripture.
My respect for Thabiti was already high, and I trust others have been able to see that. That said, I need to add something more. My respect for him, already up there, has now climbed up on the roof of my house, and is waving at passing motorists.