Dr. Mouw, the president of Fuller Seminary, recently published an article which I really liked in the campus newspaper here at Fuller. The title, The Importance of “And”, sums up one of the directions I have been moving in. Below are some excerpts.
“In a recent casual conversation one of our veteran Fuller trustees was making a point about two things that he considered to be relevant to the subject at hand. He started his sentence by emphasizing one of the items he was concerned about, and then went on to make his next point by using the word “but.” He stopped, however, in mid-sentence. “I have to keep remembering something that David Hubband taught us.” He said. “When you are intending to emphasize two important things, try to connect them with ‘and’ rather than ‘but.’”
I was glad for the reminder, because I often find myself saying “but” when I should be saying “and.” David Allan Hubbard-my distinguished predecessor in the Fuller presidency and a mentor who taught me many good lessons-wanted Fuller Seminary to posit smooth connections between things that evangelicals often see as being in tension, or even in direct conflict.
I remember his key examples. At Fuller he would say, we are both evangelical and ecumenical, we encourage learning and spirituality, and we promote evangelicalism and social action. When we use “but” instead of “and” in talking about the relationships between such items we run the risk of fragmenting what in God’s mind is clearly integrated.”
This past year I have been playing with a jigsaw puzzle of theology, spirituality, philosophy, worship, and culture, trying to put as much of it together as possible. Mouw’s words help me sum up in part what I want to see happen. However, at times, even the word “and” dose not do justice to the junctions I would like to create. I wish there was a word that summed up the five things I listed above, because that’s how I see them. If you put theology, spirituality, philosophy, worship and culture in a blender, the thing poured out is what I really get excited about.