The Sharpening of Tools
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In 1 Samuel 13 of the "Old" Testament the Philistines sought to handicap the ancient Israelites by requiring them to come to them for the sharpening of their tools, but I wonder if that strategy didn't backfire. The relationships that were developed and the spiritual seeds that were planted through those transactions and interactions may have done more to undermine their own belief system than would have been done had they imposed no such restrictions. Now there were God-fearers springing up in Philistia who wouldn't have emerged otherwise. We are often made "sharper" through our engagement of the culture around us as it raises questions and arguments we hadn't considered, and, if we are honest, we will have to "save the phenomena" as Plato would say and come back to it and think it through more thoroughly and convincingly. That's how paradigms get expanded and that's how convictions deepen, if we're willing to risk the engagement. There may even be a new tool added in the process!
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