Whistling Boats

I just finished a book by a 19th Century preacher named Phillips Brooks called "The Joy of Preaching." The book has some great insight, but it was a slog to get through most of it.

One particular passage caught my attention though - especially as it relates to much of the blogosphere. Brooks was writing to caution preachers about sitting in judgement on other preachers - either for their zeal or a perceived weakened hold on truth, and says:

"We are like steamers lying in the fog and whistling, that we may not run into others nor they into us. It is safe, but commerce makes no great progress thereby, and it shows no great skill in navigation."

It seems like much of the Christian blog world exists to lob potshots back and forth at other Christians. Certainly there is a time and place to decry heresy. There is also a time and place to debate minutiae. But a lot of what I read on the blogosphere and hear in a lot of Christian circles gives life to Brooks' analogy of two ships.

It's easy to blow our horn at people we don't agree with. It's easy to make sure we don't bump into them, and they don't bump into us. But if our only goal is horn-blowing, we might as well stay home. That kind of activity makes zero progress and takes zero skill.

Great navigational skill is required to make progress in foggy areas. Timeless words.