Namecalling and the Gospel
I think for the most part using the words "sides" and "camps" are unavoidable when discussing this thing. Regrettable, sure. But practically unavoidable.
The key, I think, is to make sure when we talk of sides and camps, we're not perpetuating an us-versus-them rhetorical atmosphere. No person is the enemy. ("We don't wage war against flesh and blood" and all that.)
Today in the TalkBCC Forum someone on my "side" called Dr. Foster a terrible name. This is inappropriate, unnecessary, and wrong.
This is what happens when we go into this sort of angry, namecalling, spirit-of-accusation mode: We dehumanize our intended target. David Foster is not a _________. He is a man with strengths, weaknesses, gifts, and flaws. Like you and me. And like you and me, he is also two other things -- a sinner and a person for whom Jesus died.
We cannot reduce anyone in this process to anything less than who they are as human beings. We have to personify, not villify. We are made in the image of God.
What the elders and Dr. Foster and you and me and everyone else need today is the same thing we've needed every day since the day we were born: the Gospel. And when you think about it, one of the firstfruits of the Gospel proclamation was the day Jesus was born. That Christmas day marked the miracle of the Incarnation.
The Incarnation, then, is really the first great principle of the whole gospel. God became man; God became man for man. He stooped. He deigned. He did not treat us as things or enemies; He personified Himself and treated us as brothers. "Behold what manner of love the Father has given unto us! That we could be called the sons of God!" That gives me goosebumps, folks.
The Incarnation affirms the dignity and the sacredness of people. The incarnate body of Jesus restored the imago dei tarnished by original sin. That's good news!
Be the Gospel in this situation, to yourself and to everyone you interact with. Affirm their dignity and humanity and worth as people. Be Jesus to them, is what I'm saying, I guess.
We will honor God in this process, whatever the result, by treating everyone involved in it as real people with real hurts in a real world. (Sounds familiar, somehow . . .)
This assumes, of course, you have a basic grasp of how to go about doing the Jesus thing. If you don't, then you have bigger fish to fry right now than calling people names on a message board.