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Tim and Rick resume the conversation on “hospitable orthodoxy” with Dr. Karen Swallow Prior. In this episode, they consider examples of people who demonstrate this idea in action and provide us with examples of truth and love working in harmony. They also draw out principles of communicating for when we enter into disagreement. This is part 2 of a 3-part conversation with Dr. Karen Swallow Prior.


Karen Swallow Prior: If you're being taught the answers before you have the questions, then it's just flying over your head because it's just words. And so I think what we need to teach and encourage and cultivate is the love of the questions.

Tim Muehlhoff: Welcome to the Winsome Conviction podcast. My name is Tim Muehlhoff. I'm a professor of communication at Biola University in La Mirada, California. I'm also the co-director of the Winsome Conviction Project that seeks to instill listening, compassion, empathy, perspective-taking into some of our most bitter and divisive disagreements. I'm here with my co-host as always Dr. Rick Langer, co-author of Winsome Conviction and co-director of the Winsome Conviction Project.

Rick Langer: Thanks Tim. It's a privilege for us to bring in a wide variety of guests. One of those that we have just finished part of the conversation with and want to pick up part two is Dr. Karen Swallow Prior. It's been great to have her. We've been talking about the issue of what she baptized as hospitable orthodoxy. Part of that is just maintaining our orthodox beliefs, but expressing them in ways that are marked by what we might think of as a virtue of hospitality. An openness and willingness to engage other people. We've talked some about that, but you gave some really good specific guidelines. This is one of the things that we really like. Because it's great to talk about an abstract concept like hospitable orthodoxy, but what in the world is that supposed to mean? So we'd like to dive into a little bit more of the details of what you offered and suggested and kind of talk about how that's worked for you and hopefully stimulate some thinking in our listeners.

Tim Muehlhoff: This is based on a great article that you wrote in 2017 for Christianity Today, entitled How To Love Your Ideological Enemy. And here's the first characteristic. Karen, I just love these because it's just... These are going to be challenging to our listeners and to ourselves. People who practice hospitable orthodoxy welcome the seeker and stranger. They do not read, follow, or speak to only the like-minded. They do not operate in an echo chamber. Would you care to elaborate a little bit? And then I have a couple questions I'd love to throw in.

Karen Swallow Prior: Well, in the first episode, we talked a little bit about how Twitter in particular is designed to polarize and divide and amplify and reward people who are divisive. So, really, it's hard to fight the echo chamber effect. On Twitter specifically. In a lot of other ways in our culture. Even Facebook algorithms. We know that's been in the news and so forth. And so we actually have to be sort of intentional about breaking past the echo chamber that the digital medias want us to live in. But in some ways, this isn't exactly new.

In my first book, Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me, the first chapter is devoted to that great 17th century Puritan, John Milton, who wrote a famous essay, a pamphlet form, called Areopagitica in which he was appealing to his fellow Puritans who were coming into power not to require licensing for a publication of events. I mean, the 17th century is a really interesting time for us today because the newly emerging print technologies and the increasing literacy... We're leading to a condition that's similar to what we have today with this flood of information in digital media. A lot of the anxiety that existed in 17th and 18th century culture about all this material that's out there to read... It's being printed. It's being circulated. And people don't... They aren't responsible. They don't know how to judge it. They don't know how to discern it.

Milton argued for what he called books promiscuously read. And he meant... Because the word promiscuous actually just means indiscriminate mixing of any kind. And so he was saying mix it up. Read the ideas of your ideological opponents. Read heresy. His context was very religious. He was a Puritan. They were trying to get rid of heresy and he was saying, but read it. Understand it. If you can't reject a heresy because you know why it should be rejected and you only reject it because your pastor tells you to, then it becomes your heresy. He literally said that.

And so all that to say... You can never invite me to talk very long without me talking about the 17th or 18th century. I'm sorry. But all of that to say here we are today. There are forces even beyond human control because there are they are built into the digital medias to try to keep us in our echo chambers and to amplify those voices. We simply must resist it. We must be intentional about watching several news stations instead of one. Reading different publications. Opposing publications. Following people on Twitter that you don't agree with. There are so many ways we can and should expand our exposure to different ideas.

Tim Muehlhoff: So can I ask... I want you to respond to an objection that I received. I would just love to get your thought. But I have to read this quote. Talk about a drop the mic quote from this article. I thought this was so good. Karen writes, "Furthermore, the Bible cautions that those who isolate themselves seek only their own desires, breaking out against all sound judgment." And then Karen, you write this. "Any so called orthodoxy that avoids the cornucopia of God's image bearers isn't orthodoxy. It's a cult." The sound you just heard was a mic.

Rick Langer: You were on a roll that day, huh?

Tim Muehlhoff: ... dropping. So Karen, I try to do this... Not perfectly, but I really do try to do this for my students. In one of my classes, they read the Quran cover to cover. When they're done, they're part of one percent of American Christians who have ever read a book outside the Christian faith. Let me just say. Parents had been less than thrilled with that addition to the syllabus. How would you respond to a parent who said... this was a long time ago, so I think we're okay... who said, "How will you sleep at night if one of your students reads the Quran and walks away from the faith?" So it's good to say, hey, read people outside the Christian faith, but what if it has negative influence as people are reading it? How would you... Now, I still have people read the Quran, so obviously I've tipped my hat, but I would love to know what's your response to something like that?

Karen Swallow Prior: Well, I mean, how would anyone sleep at night if they watched Snow White on Disney and it caused them to walk away from their faith? There are so many things that can cause us to walk away from our faith. Often, they are the softer, gentler, more hidden messages that we see around us everywhere in media. Anything that tells us that we can save ourselves or that the right person can save us or the right relationship. All of those things can cause us to not just abandon the faith, but to choose our salvation in something other than Christ. What better place than the classroom to wrestle with these difficult texts. Now, if you don't believe that the Quran is God's word, which I don't, than it has no more power than any other book. It's just a book. And so it's a book that can and should be studied like any others. Probably a little bit more important to study simply because we are living in a world where people do believe it's God's word and they do abide by it. But it should pose absolutely no threat to any believer and Milton would highly approve.

Tim Muehlhoff: I love that. You said what? Promiscuous reading.

Karen Swallow Prior: Yeah. The phrase he uses is... He argues for books promiscuously read. In my word, I call it promiscuous reading.

Tim Muehlhoff: I will say one thing. I have a friend who's a child psychologist and he would say, "Listen, when the kids are young, you lock the liquor cabinet. Because they are young and they have no discernment whatsoever. But if your one philosophy of parenting is I'm locking that liquor cabinet when they're in high school, when they come home from college-

Karen Swallow Prior: When they're 50 years old.

Tim Muehlhoff: ... when they're 50 years old, then that is not a parenting philosophy. That is simply locking everything. And can you lock the internet?" So I think we're not... We are talking about person specific and bringing people along and developing that muscle to eventually get to the place where they could handle reading the Quran or Nietzsche or different things like that. But I do love that Milton idea of eventually I think we need to try to get there.

Rick Langer: It's interesting that... I have had a few contacts in which I've had interaction with people of the Islamic faith. Many times, those have actually been wonderful conversations. Sometimes it's been sort of bizarre. One of the things that's come up in those conversations is we obviously disagree concerning the Trinity. But when a Muslim says, as some do... a vast majority of Muslims do indeed know better... but the idea that the Trinity is God, the father, God the son, and Mary. I'm kind of like... I don't know where to start. There's no point in me giving an orthodox account of the Trinity when the thing you're talking about just isn't at all what I believe. Part of what Tim's talking about, if we're going to be able to engage a Muslim, we just lose our credibility if we literally know nothing except what we may have heard from antagonistic blog posts or perhaps even a well-intended apologetics course. Because that's where a lot of people on both sides get their information from the other side.

And so we talk a lot... Tim and I talk a lot about achieving disagreement. Basically, the rule of thumb for when you are able to achieve disagreement is when I can state your opinion in a way that you nod your head ad say, "Yep, that's it. That's not only what I mean, but that's what I feel." Then, we can begin the process of deciding about whether or not we agree. But as long as I'm saying something that you're going, "Well, that isn't what I believe," you haven't achieved disagreement. You have to be able to read it and read it kind of sympathetically or sincerely-

Karen Swallow Prior: To understand it.

Rick Langer: To understand it.

Karen Swallow Prior: Everything else is a straw man.

Rick Langer: Yeah.

Tim Muehlhoff: By the way, when my students are done reading the Quran, I'll ask them two questions. One. What did you think it was going to be like? And then, second, what was the benefit of it? And almost to a student, they say it demystified the Quran. I thought it was going to be this big, intellectual... And not to minimize the Quran. I mean, it is an amazing book in many ways, but they walk away saying, "Okay, well, it wasn't as daunting as I thought it was going to be." Sometimes I think we just have to do that. You've given so much power to this. Let's actually take a look at it and break it down a little bit.

Rick Langer: One thing that you've done that's really interesting is writing for people like The Atlantic and other large scale secular media sources. I'd just love for you to talk to us about entering into somebody else's echo chamber. I don't know how to frame it. Talk to us a little about that experience.

Karen Swallow Prior: It's interesting because I grew up in a very secular, liberal part of the country. And so as a Christian, as oftentimes the only Christian I knew in my context outside of my family, I was just kind of conditioned to always be making an apology. Be making a defense of the faith and be representing Christianity. Because I was the only Christian representative. That's just how I was conditioned. One interesting thing about being published in places like The Atlantic is that I learned that there are some Christians who think that people who do that like me are just trying to curry favor with liberals is the accusation that's made. And I'm like, "Honey, you have no idea what a liberal even is." Anyway. So it's not that. I just wanted to throw that out there. For me, it really is about being a Christian in the public square and showing what we believe. Not that I represent every Christian, but just here is how a Christian thinks about this issue or that issue.

The way that it came about... and we talked a little bit about this on the last episode where I shared that the first thing I ever wrote in public as an adult was a little letter to the editor in my local paper. My story of writing and engaging the culture in this public way is really... It starts there and it just, step by step, very slowly, developed into publishing here, publishing there. And so I had been publishing for a women's blog at Christianity Today that no longer exists for a while and pretty faithfully and regularly. It was hard work because I also had a day job. Teaching. But I was really... I worked hard at it and I felt a call. I felt like it was... that people were responding. It was filling a need.

I actually was contacted by an editor at The Atlantic who emailed me and said, "Hey, I've been reading your work at Christianity Today and I would like to know if you'd be interested in pitching articles to The Atlantic." I was sort of familiar with The Atlantic, but didn't know it that well. I just thought it was another liberal publication like all the rest. It's not. It's actually one of the most fair and balanced outlets out there that really, in the classical sense of liberal, wants to represent all views. And so when I received that email, I wrote back and I said, "I'm a conservative evangelical Christian."

Rick Langer: Did you know this?

Karen Swallow Prior: Yeah. I said, "Do you want that?" And the editor wrote back and said yes. And I said okay. Not that everything... I mean, I've written on TS Eliot and Walt Whitman. Not necessarily everything I write has anything to do with specifically a Christian idea. I've written about Jane Austin a couple of times. Jane Austin is a great Christian theologian. She teaches Christian truths. And so when I write about her, I'm actually able to write about that in a way that conveys Christian truth. And so it was... The way I want to answer your question more briefly is that it was doing the work and being faithful. The doors opened and so I just continued to do the work and be faithful. That doesn't mean that everyone is going to have that happen to them, but that's because I believe the calling comes from outside, not inside.

Tim Muehlhoff: And I love the fact that an editor from The Atlantic is reading you and Christianity Today. That is really encouraging to me. And a great example.

Rick Langer: Yeah. It's a great example of what we were just talking about of, in that case, them reading broadly. Outside of just their echo chamber.

Karen Swallow Prior: Can I say one more thing about-

Tim Muehlhoff: Of course.

Rick Langer: Sure.

Karen Swallow Prior: We just make these assumptions because... Many of us. This is true of me. We've been brought up in this culture war mentality and we think that the people out there in the mainstream media are our enemies and they're all liberal and not a one of them could be a Christian or even care what Christians think. And nothing could be further from the truth. Those organizations are filled with all kinds of people. Some of them might even be Christians. Some of them might just be open minded. And so we should not make assumptions about them that way. We should treat them as our neighbors.

Tim Muehlhoff: Oh, that's really good. We'll do number two really quickly because we covered it in the first episode, but it's well worth repeating. Number two, one of Karen's observations, is those who practice hospitable orthodoxy are rooted in relationships because right doctrine is not disembodied from the love of actual people. And that is so well said. We did cover that in the first episode, so I just encourage you to go back and listen to the first episode. But okay. The third one, I think, is a great... Because I can already hear some listeners perhaps saying, okay, so I invite people in and I'm just hospitable, maybe seek to find common ground, and we never advance the Christian worldview. The Christian perspective. But I love number three. People who practice hospitable orthodoxy are not afraid to use the words right and wrong, although they use them judiciously and lovingly. I thought that was really well said. Care to expand on that?

Rick Langer: It sounds a little hard in practice to tell someone judiciously and lovingly that they're wrong, so this is great. Help us.

Karen Swallow Prior: Well, I think you guys know. You're in the classroom. We're in the business of telling people they're wrong every day.

Tim Muehlhoff: That's why I got into teaching as a matter of fact.

Karen Swallow Prior: I mean, some of that... I really do believe that teaching has formed me in ways that helps me to do these things that I'm talking about. Some people think that if you're hospitable and loving, then that means you're just going to agree to everything and never speak up. And that's absolutely not true. I mean, certainly, there are people like that, but being hospitable means that people will eventually care what you think. When they care what you think, you earn the right to say whether they're right or wrong. Now, you don't have to wait until that moment, but you can still be judicious and loving. Again, to use the example of the person out on the street corner who's saying something that demonstrably wrong. You can just point out at them and you can yell at them or you can just lovingly say, "What are you thinking? What's going on here? I don't think that's right." And so we can do that on social media or in our relationships. Just because we say that something is wrong doesn't obligate the other person to accept that, but when they actually care what we believe because we have a relationship with them, then... That doesn't mean they'll agree, but it will actually mean something to them. What our view is.

Tim Muehlhoff: You quote another gifted writer, Tish Harrison Warren. She says this. "We have a responsibility to give a specific argument. Show our rigorous theological work. Elevate the conversation." I don't think anybody would disagree with that. Here comes the part that I think is kind of interesting. "And," she says, "we welcome strong criticism and debate." At that point, I think you're getting some people saying, "I do not do that. I stay away from criticism. I'm certainly not welcoming criticism because what if that criticism challenges my perspective?" And so the Harvard Negotiation Project wrote a great book called Feedback where they said, "But that's a plus not a minus." Like if somebody points out an error in your thinking, why would you not welcome that and say, "Well, okay, thank you. That was uncomfortable, but I need to think about that." Why are we afraid of that, do you think?

Karen Swallow Prior: That's a good question. Because it is a gift, right? Evensome of my most vicious trolls.... and I have a lot. Some of them are outright lying about me and slandering me. And so that's one thing. But there are other people who... I can realize they have a perception of me. There's a context. And that's true of all of us. If I say something that somehow adds to some misperception and they have the wrong idea, I think to myself, oh, well, what could I do to... Could I have presented a different idea? This is just like teaching, right? Students misunderstand us. We get our student evaluations. A few times, I've had people, especially earlier in my career... I learned that I came across a little bit too harsh for some students. I mean, I can't please everyone, but I took that and I said, okay, maybe I need to be not so harsh. I've learned from that and grown. Life is a student course evaluation.

Rick Langer: That's a great thought. I have had... An interesting moment for me with teaching was when I decided that I was going to do an oral final exam for my class. I did this for a few years with a few of my different classes and the best part about it was what I learned. Because I'm sitting here listening... It took a ton of office hours. It was very costly time wise, but it helped me understand what apparently I had actually said to my students. Now, I would disagree. I did not say that. Like, Rick, you got to ask yourself. Do you care more about what you presented or more about what they heard? That was my aha moment. It's like it doesn't matter if you said it right. The point is you didn't say it right from the standpoint of, however you said it, they didn't hear it or they didn't retain it that way. Like I say, I got a graduate education and the difference between what's presented and what's received.

I think that's one of the things that, as you guys were both mentioning, we should welcome. Because we all have that problem. This isn't just me. This isn't just you. This is just one of those things where we think we've made it perfectly clear, but we really haven't. Now, you mentioned in here... The fourth principle you had is those who practice hospitable orthodoxy defend but are not defensive. That again is one of those, I think, very helpful nuances between two gutters. One is where we just accept everything and just kind of nod and smile. The other hand that, anything that goes wrong, we tend to need to defend against and we don't simply defend. We do it with this edge of defensiveness. I wonder if you might help us recognize that difference a little better.

Karen Swallow Prior: I think it's pretty clear when someone is defending an idea or truth or principle that they believe in and when they are defensive for themselves. That really seems to be the difference. If you don't believe this, then I take it personally or I'm going to be angry or fearful because of it. But if you're just simply defending something because you think that it's true, then... Again, the posture is different. I mean, I go out on the internet and I see a lot of people who've never read Shakespeare and don't know that, when the lady doth protests too much, it just makes the lady look guilty. And so this defensiveness... I mean, Jesus Christ doesn't need our defensiveness. The truth of the Gospel and the Bible we are to defend, but we don't have to be defensive of ourselves in doing that. It's sort of an insult to think that it all hinges on our defending ourselves. That's what I see a lot. The fear, the anger, which is really about oneself rather than the actual principle or belief.

Tim Muehlhoff: And we need to practice this. I think sometimes... I teach self defense classes. And so part of self defense si you put a person in the situation. It's controlled. That they know that I'm a Christian instructor. I'm not going to hurt them. But we need to do stress inoculation just a little bit. Karen, I wonder sometimes if people don't get defensive because they're just not used to doing this. Going back to that echo chamber thing, where everybody agrees with my perspective. And then you get a thoughtful, articulate person who says, "Well, I'm not so sure that's right," or, "I think it's like this," and you're like... That's a shock to the system because they're not used to stress inoculation.

Karen Swallow Prior: So they need to read the Quran.

Tim Muehlhoff: There you go. Yes.

Karen Swallow Prior: We've been sheltered so long.

Tim Muehlhoff: Karen, I think that's absolutely right. And I get the inclination of wanting to shelter your kids. Having three boys, I get that. But I do think in the long term, if they don't have that muscle, then you're kind of saying in the self defense situation, I'm just going to bank the fact that my son or daughter is never in a situation where they'd have to defend themselves. Again, we're locking the liquor cabinet. Borrowing from an analogy in the previous podcast. But we can't do that. And that's what I think the classroom is for. I love your idea of the classroom.

Rick Langer: I think another thing is that we want to honor Jesus. We want to do that. But I think we're confused. I think we think we're called to be attorneys for him rather than witnesses for him.

Karen Swallow Prior: Oh, that's a powerful metaphor.

Tim Muehlhoff: Cohost. He's amazing. That was good.

Rick Langer: A witness, he just shows up and says, "Well, this is what I saw. I don't know the law. I don't know all this other stuff, but this is what I saw." My favorite example is John 9. The blind man. The Pharisees are interrogating this poor guy and he's like, "Guys, all I know is I used to be blind and now I see. So sue me. I mean, what more can I say?" We suddenly take on the burden of the attorney who has to argue the case and, if we don't do our job well, then Jesus will be found guilty. And, oh, we can't do that. It's just like, guys, we're not the attorney. We're just a witness. It helps just kind of deescalate our anxiety about what we represent. Let me just say this is who I found Jesus to be.

Tim Muehlhoff: Can I ask a quick question? I found this interesting. You just said this a minute ago. You've mentioned a couple times that you have online trolls. Rick, we need to get some. I think we need to get some.

Karen Swallow Prior: I'll give you some of mine.

Rick Langer: I'm not actually feeling the need... We can talk about this later.

Karen Swallow Prior: It's a Christian thing to share.

Rick Langer: I see. Okay.

Karen Swallow Prior: You'll probably maybe find some after this airs.

Tim Muehlhoff: We'll take it. But interesting. You choose to read them. Did I pick up on that? That you do choose to expose yourself and read them?

Karen Swallow Prior: Yeah. Sometimes. I mean, it's been a lot of years now. When it started... It's complicated story. I raised my public profile and stepped into some denominational politics that I didn't know and so that's how it started. I was so confused. I was being called all these things that I wasn't and I didn't know people who call themselves Christians were out there who did this sort of thing. Who blogged lies about other Christians. It was new to me. So I did, trying to figure it out. And then of course they were on Twitter. And part of it... I've actually had to... I think I mentioned this before. If I err, I err in responding too much, but I think that's part of the teacher in me. To me, anyone who replies to me on Twitter, it's like a student raising their hand and I would never ignore someone raising their hand. But I've had to just grow in that area and just be like, I don't have to answer everything. I don't have to cast every pearl before every swine. And just be more discerning. But I still feel like I can learn when someone... When it seems like they've genuinely misunderstood something or if there's a misperception to just... Like what you were saying. To realize, oh, for some reason, this is just completely coming across wrong.

Tim Muehlhoff: On a scale of one to 10, how much do you think this podcast is going to raise your public?

Karen Swallow Prior: Oh, like 11.

Tim Muehlhoff: 11?

Karen Swallow Prior: Yes.

Tim Muehlhoff: Come on. We need to get you chocolate chip ice cream. We really should. I think five is related to four, but again, it really bears repeating. People who practice hospitable orthodoxy are confident enough to engage hard questions. What we're seeing, Karen, at least is a generation of students who are not confident in their worldview foundation. And so I think they're a little bit scared that maybe I'm one question deep on some of these things and I know I need to be more than that, but quite frankly, I'm not. And so that confidence maybe isn't there as much as we would like it to be. And if you're not confident, you're going to be defensive, I think, in a heartbeat for self preservation. So how does one become confident?

Karen Swallow Prior: That's a really good question. As someone who... My whole world was rocked when I encountered Christian worldview because I grew up without that understanding. I've taught in a way that integrates Christian worldview for decades now and yet somehow I see that it's not necessarily enough because I see people being taught the right answers. We talked earlier about the quick apologetics answers. God love the apologists. I'm not criticizing them. But I think what the real problem is is that, if you're being taught the answers before you have the questions, then it's just flying over your head because it's just words. And so I think what we need to teach and encourage and cultivate is the love of the questions. Because someone who is willing and able to ask questions at whatever level they are at and to know that they are in a community that welcomes those questions even when we might not have an answer, then when some other unrelated question and its answer comes along, what's already been formed is just a love for questions and an understanding that questions are good. And so it's not so much a matter of what question is asked but the fact that we love questions and, even if we don't know the answer, we are in a safe place to explore. That's what we're not doing. We're giving answers more than we're teaching how to ask good questions.

Rick Langer: And how to savor a good question. I think we want the quick answer and to be able to say, wow... I was talking to some folks about anxiety over doing some kind of apologetic conversation things I said, "Here, let me give you just a phrase to repeat. You know what I like about you is you make me think better. And let me come back to you and try and give you an answer." That sort of intellectual humility goes a long way to being winsome in Christ and it also gives you room to breathe. You don't have to know the answer to every question ahead of time. I would point out there's some of these things... We're talking about God, for heaven sakes. Do you think you should understand him fully? Do you think there should be no mystery left? If some your sentences have to end with a comma or a question mark, that's not a crime. I think that I... So I love that thought of saying, we need to actually have a love... the question is my friend, not my enemy.

Tim Muehlhoff: But, Rick, I'm thinking of John Marriott that we had on our podcast. He's one of the top guys writing on de-conversion right now. He's an adjunct here. And, Karen, I think his assessment would be there aren't many safe places for people to ask honest, hard questions because we don't handle doubt very well. And so I think he would give you a hearty amen and then maybe sadly say, "I don't think we're creating safe places for people to ask the hard about sexuality, about gender, about biblical issues, social issues. So maybe that's kind of a nice wake up call to create those safe places.

Rick Langer: Well, that probably moves us to the final quote you may made about that people who practice hospitality orthodoxy embrace both openness and exclusivity. Maybe that's part of the tension is being open to these questions, but also knowing there's a place for boundaries and limits and places where you say, "Hey, we can't really go there." Any comments you want to give our listeners before we close?

Karen Swallow Prior: Sure. I mean, I think there are a couple places where we need to, as Christians, remember exclusivity. For example, churches and denominations exist based on foundational creeds and statements or beliefs. Even non-denominational churches have some statement of belief. And so I do think the church, any church, is a place where it can and should uphold its statements of belief and so that doesn't mean being open to everyone. There are other religious institutions that do that. And so I think that... Part of being Protestant is that we have a lot of choices. And so we shouldn't as a church have to change simply because... and when I say church I mean a church denomination or place... just because there are others out there who have developed a different view. That's a form of exclusivity.

There's also... and I'm learning this the hard way because, again, I think my err... The way that I err is more toward empathy and understanding to the point where I... and this is something I think many of us, myself included, are kind of going through. Trying to come to a better understanding of where maybe we've been too complicit with abusers or wrongdoers because we've been too understanding and not exclusive enough. And so that's another area where we have to say maybe more boundaries need to be drawn and I cannot be with this institution or person or affiliate with them or whatever means. Some boundary has to be drawn. That also includes, in a much more trivial way, blocking abusers on Twitter and so forth. So that's an area where I'm trying not to... I'm drawing boundaries so that I don't give voice to abusive practices and behaviors.

Again, as I mentioned on the first talk that we had together, part of the impetus of this whole article was that I was with some other women forming a group called The Pelican Project. It's a place where we embody this hospitable orthodoxy. It is just for women, but I would encourage anyone to go to our website and check us out. We have a very lively, thriving Facebook group where we bring a lot of these issues and ask a lot of hard questions together and just try to support one another in being people who love Christ, love the church, and yet want to grow and challenge one another in these orthodox ways.

Rick Langer: Well, Karen, thanks so much for talking about this. We appreciate deeply the direct guidance for what does it really mean to engage in this sort of hospitable orthodoxy because... Yeah. The abstract idea really doesn't help us. We've got to figure out how to put it into action. So thanks so much for doing that. We're going to come back in our next podcast and pick up on some other things you've done relative to the power of great books for shaping our souls and leading us into a good life, which I think is just a fascinating and important topic. Some of these questions are really about how can we be shaped to be the kind of people who naturally do the things that we've described here. I'd love to dive into that a little bit more deeply. Thanks for joining us for this podcast. You can get the Winsome Conviction podcast at Apple Podcasts or Spotify or wherever you get them. And please feel free to check us out on the website as well, where you'll find a lot of other resources.