PNWTI's Statement on Hospitality
PNW Theological Institute discussions are spaces for people to hospitably discuss doctrines for the purpose of cooperative, collaboraitve learning.
Understanding and embrasing the word "hospitality" from the above statement is a critical component of PNWTI.
Discussions aim not for neutrality or unbiased sharing; instead, discussions aim for fairness and generosity. A better metaphor than neutrality is hospitality, which is what happens when people you disagree with are visiting your home and must be welcomed with generosity.
Imagine you have a guest visit your home. You extend to them a form of hospitality. Likely, you and your guest hold some beliefs and preferences that are the same, others that vary yet are compatible, and still others that are incompatible. When discussing beliefs and preferences, you and your guest mutually agree not to try to change each other's mind; merely share perspectives, knowledge, and opinions.
Accordingly, discussions will not aim for a neutral objectivity, which is not really possible, but rather a generous engagement with rival ideas in the same way you take in friends with whom you enjoy a good discussion from different points of view.
"Hospitality" in the context of PNWTI doesn't mean we avoid discussing areas where we disagree, nor does it mean we attempt to suspend our own beliefs and preferences. Instead, we openly discuss in an effort to understand each other better.
Objective Reality and Divergent Opinions
Doctrine makes truth claims about objective reality. While there is a universal, objective reality, we accept that none of us has a complete and inerrant view thereof.
Therefore, establishing a consensus opinion on any single component of doctrine is not the goal. In fact, aiming for consensus is contrary to the goal. The goal is to understand the many various and sometimes divergent doctrines in such a sufficient way as to be able to accurately describe and explain them even if we might disagree with any.
PNWTI's 3 Insists
Therefore, PNWTI insists on 3 things:
- First, PNWTI insists on acceptance of non-conformity. Should conformity happen, so be it, but PNWTI believes we should encourage an enviornment in which non-conformity of opinion is entirely embrased.
- Second, PNWTI insists on acceptance of objective truth. There is an objective reality, a singular, correct set of doctrines.
- Third, PNWTI insists on Christian hospitality when discussing doctrines.