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  • Writer's pictureCole Feix

First Things

Updated: Jun 10, 2018

Let's set out some ground rules. So We Speak exists to give a voice to Christian conviction, truly Christian conviction. Sometimes, and on the internet more often than not, the medium is the message (in the words of Marshall McLuhan). For our purposes, the tone is the message. Everything, from the voice of the writing to source selection, communicates something. We want to intentionally communicate our vision in everything we do - "just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts" (1 Thessalonians 2:4).

First, we will speak the truth.

Because our allegiance as believers is to God first, we have to speak the truth. Not because it's plays to a base, gets more clicks, or offends the right people. We are as committed to the truth as we are to Christ. The current media landscape provides for so much untruth it can be overwhelming sorting through it all. Of course we're not infallible, and not every issue is black and white, but above all, we seek to write things that are true. And if we don't we'll own it and make it right.

Second, we will seek to speak the whole truth.

What isn't covered is more revealing that what ends up on the front page. There is an interesting trend of positivity going on right now - Steven Pinker's book Enlightenment Now, Hans Rosling's book Factfulness that Bill Gates is giving away free to any 2018 college graduate, Adam Ford's interesting explanation behind selling the Babylon Bee and his new site the Christian Daily Reporter - that is essentially a response to what doesn't get covered. Some are pushing back on the negative nature of the news, but perhaps the greater crisis is the selectivity of what stories get covered and what people get to know about the world. There's no way around selectivity. There's simply too much news. But, what if space constraints weren't a cover up not ignoring ideologically inconvenient stories? We can't promise to write about everything. We can promise to do our best to be well rounded and intellectually honest.

Third, we will abide by the steel man principle.

I'm not sure who actually coined this principle. I came to it by way of Alan Jacob's fantastic book, How To Think. He credits Robin Sloan, who credits Chana Messinger, who credits Mackenzie McHale, and so on... Whoever came up with it, it's an amazing principle. We want to present the best form of every argument, whether or not it is the one that has been presented. Sloan presents a great picture of this kind of dialogue:

"There are two debaters, Alice and Bob. Alice takes the podium, makes her argument. Then Bob takes her place, but before he can present his counter-argument, he must summarize Alice’s argument to her satisfaction — a demonstration of respect and good faith. Only when Alice agrees that Bob has got it right is he permitted to proceed with his own argument — and then, when he’s finished, Alice must summarize it to his satisfaction."

This is the kind of dialogue we want to foster. No straw men allowed; only steel men.

Fourth, we won't waste your time.

We've adopted a line from Axios that characterizes our approach to information: smart brevity. The best, most cogent, well-argued, thoroughly vetted content in the shortest amount of time.

These are the things you can expect at So We Speak. Our sincere hope is that you would be informed about the world without being conformed to it. Speak boldly!


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