On September 28th, I announced my withdrawal from the TOB Debate.
However, I began to reconsider this after returning from a discernment retreat which took place the weekend of October 1-3.
Normally I am not this fickle (or fickle at all - I generally stubbornly stick to my decisions and stand by my word), but I am returning to the debate.
I cited four reasons why I was withdrawing. However, I believe that they no longer apply, or at least to the degree they did before. I will reprint them and respond in square brackets [ ].
1. Frustration. I have found that too many good points and arguments that are being made from those on "our side" of the debate (for lack of a better term) are either being ignored or the substance of our arguments are not being engaged or responded to (fallacies are used, etc.).
[I have decided that I will continue to point out the fact there has been no response. If it is responded to with more silence, I simply reinforce that point. I think that would be a valuable contribution to this debate, even if I end up saying the same thing over and over].
2. Exhaustion. I do not mind putting in the time and effort I have - if it bears fruit. However, when one puts in a great deal of time and effort, but his well-crafted and well-formulated arguments are ignored and his "opponents" in the debate turn around and post another "defense" by shifting to another aspect of the debate, one begins to feel demoralized, and this can drain a person.
[I feel very much refreshed after my retreat. And since I said all of these are related, since Point #1 has been resolved, this will help resolve Point #2 as well].
3. Poor Stewardship. Considering that the dialogue continues to follow this pattern, considering such a small number of us are participating in this debate, and considering that Mr. West and other TOB presenters are probably not among those following this discussion, I believe that I am spending too much time and effort for such little effect or outcome.
[Once again, a consequence of the first two. It should be added that I will be writing less now due to what I stated in Point #1]
4. Primary Focus. When engaging in "religious debates" (or debates of any kind), I often find that (a) I lose my peace, and (b) my prayer life suffers. These are sure signs that one is straying from the path God has called him to follow and thus must pull away or at least "detach" from the debate.
[I have “detached” and as I pointed out I will also be “scaling down”, which means these “religious debates” will probably not continue to cause these problems as they had before my retreat. However, I will continue to monitor this very closely].