|Philipp Jakob Spener|
Forefather of Pietism & neck braces
Pietism and Civil Discourse
In the piece, Winn identifies four characteristics from the Pietist tradition, specifically from its forefather, Philipp Jakob Spener, characteristics that comprise a Pietist theology for civil discourse. (Civil discourse being something that is sorely needed these days, and something I tried to model yesterday in my response to a piece by Michael Shank on Mennonites and politics.)
But here are the four characteristics with some commentary:
- A spirit of good faith - In virtue terms, I'd call this "charity" in the more classical sense of caritas, which connotes "costliness, esteem, affection." A related virtue would be kindness.
- A genuine openness to being taught - Winn rightly notes this requires the virtue of humility. We cannot assume beforehand that we are in the right, and we must always be open for the pleasant surprise of being wrong, learning something new, or understanding someone at a deeper level.
- A love for one's neighbor - I'll note here the brilliant quote I came across from Jamie Smith the other day: "The neighbor could be a friend or an enemy, a foreigner or a brother. The call to love the neighbor is a call to love all of them - that is why all of Jesus' injunctions to love are taken up in the call to love the neighbor."
- The hopeful commitment to God's peace - Hope and peace both being virtues/gifts/fruits of the Holy Spirit that, along with joy, ensure that we not become dour and spiritlessly duty-bound, where life becomes "just one damned thing after another."