The Table Video

James Houston & Steve L. Porter

I Contradict, Therefore I am - James Houston on Finding Stability and Balance through Dialogue

Emeritus Professor of Spiritual Theology, Regent College
CCT Scholar-in-Residence and Executive Board Member / Professor of Theology, Spiritual Formation, and Philosophy at Talbot School of Theology and at Rosemead School of Psychology, Biola University
November 25, 2013

James Houston (Regent College) explains two dangers for Christians: novelty and imbalance. These can be resisted by seeking stability and balance, which can be promoted by openness to dialogue and healthy disagreement. Moderated by Steve Porter (CCT Associate Director).


I think one of the dangers for the Christian is novelty and the whole nature of a PhD is that nobody has ever done this research before and so this whole concept that we latch onto something new is always going to create instability for our life.

I think another problem that we face is imbalance and so you could say that the sense of the transcendent was so strong in the desert fathers and their concern for their soul and their relationship with God that in the process they forgot the body and that extreme asceticism went far too far.

So probably Edwards, Jonathan Edwards is very wise when he’s giving the profile of the 12 features of what he thinks to be the portrait of a Godly Christian. The middle virtue is balance, symmetry, and I think symmetry and balance only comes from dialog with each other. So the most wonderful thing in the world is to have a wife who doesn’t agree with one thing of what you believe and her contradictions help to reshape your dogmatism.

[Another Male Speaker] You wouldn’t be speaking from personal experience would you?

I think I’ve said to Rita, my wife, you’re not Cartesian, I think therefore I am, you simply say I contradict therefore I am. [laughing] [gentle music]

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