Play the Ball (and other rules for debate)


Noted pastor and blogger Tim Challies reminds us to “play the ball not the man” in his recent post. Included are 7 rules that we should think through as we participate in a debate or discussion over theological topics (or any other issue). These “rules” help us wrestle more honestly with the topic under discussion as well as be fair to the people we engage with.

#5. Gillespie’s Rule B

The fifth rule also belongs to Gillespie and states Represent and engage your opponents’ position in its very strongest form, not in a weak ‘straw man’ form. “Do all the work necessary until you can articulate the views of your opponent with such strength that he says, ‘I couldn’t have said it better myself.’ Then and only then will your polemics not misrepresent him, take his views in toto, and actually have the possibility of being persuasive.”

Our quest should be for a better understanding of the truth, not being right. I recommend reading (and following) the rest of the post.

TED Talk: Philosophy in Prison


You think you know right and wrong? Then can you tell me what wrong is? No, don’t just give me an example. I want to know about wrongness itself, the idea of wrong. What is that idea? What makes something wrong? How do we know that it’s wrong? Maybe you and I disagree. Maybe one of us is wrong about the wrong. Maybe it’s you, maybe it’s me — but we’re not here to trade opinions; everyone’s got an opinion. We are here for knowledge. Our enemy is thoughtlessness. This is philosophy.

Damon Horowitz is asking us the same question that Socrates posed to Euthyphro. What is right and what is wrong? Kant wrestled with that as well and came up with the “categorical imperative” which is mentioned at the end of the talk. If you are wondering what that is read this and if you are really interested read this.

TED Talk: Gen. McChrystal on Leadership



I came to believe that a leader isn’t good because they’re right; they’re good because they’re willing to learn and to trust. This isn’t easy stuff. It’s not like that electronic abs machine where, 15 minutes a month, you get washboard abs. (Laughter) And it isn’t always fair. You can get knocked down, and it hurts and it leaves scars. But if you’re a leader, the people you’ve counted on will help you up. And if you’re a leader, the people who count on you need you on your feet. – General McChrystal