Working overtime for the first time in a long time brings blessings, but it also limits my time in other interests. Writing for this blog has been one area that has floundered in recent months. Fully developed posts or articles are especially difficult so I decided for this post to just list some random thoughts and ideas kicking around. Maybe I’ll return to them for a deeper look, and maybe this is all I’ll say. Enjoy (or vehemently disagree)
On christians who are afraid of civil conversation because then their ideological brethren would accuse them of being soft or unprincipled…
If you encounter a differing viewpoint in conversation, and your overall response to the person’s point(s) is mocking dismissal or slanderous side-tracking, then you’ve just lost on numerous fronts. I’ve seen some of this in online forums lately and it’s really disturbing, especially when practiced by claiming Christians. Essentially what one side was saying to the other was this:
“I’m so morally and intellectually superior that I don’t have to answer any of your thoughtful questions. By not engaging with your question or comment in any substantive, mature way, I put you down and stand on your neck in victory. I make fun of your position and you personally. I’ll dismiss your questions with off-topic and unrelated blather until you shut up and leave. And now I’ve won the argument.”
In fact this method, which many ‘christians’ have adopted from right wing talk radio, does not win an argument, and it thoroughly discredits and sullies their own positions (unless you’re already an avid practitioner and enjoy the same macho rush of verbal bullying). Besides, it’s very unChristlike and nobody has ever been attracted to that in the long run.
My advice; Stop the hot-air posturing. Humble yourself and engage the other side’s questions and clearly state your own opinions and beliefs. The other side is not a left-wing reporter out to get you. The question isn’t a gotch-ya. It is actually a gesture of respect in giving you the stage to present your side of the issue, and it shows they want to listen to your POV.
On Occupy Wall Street:
Maybe OWS wouldn’t have to be so radical and nutty if the american Church did a better job at living and prophesying against the culture’s (and the elite’s) obsession with money and power.
On the downfall of Penn State:
I’m becoming more convinced that when large amounts of money and power become concentrated in one’s life it seems to have a moral, spiritual and mental impact – and generally it’s not a redeeming or bettering impact either… This phenomenon seems to be especially acute in my time and our american context. When you’re raking in more than you need or know what to do with, it seems to do something to your soul, your heart and brain… The evidence is so abundant – from the Kardashians to Joe Pa. And yet I know of many christians who are tripping over themselves in their headlong rush to worship at the altars of Ayn Rand’s darwinian free market fundamentalism or the charismatic prosperity preacher’s revelation of the sugar-daddy god. Shame, shame shame.
On american evangelicalism:
Amidst the darkness there is light. Small pockets of reformation exist but when will it come to my geographical area? Rock & roll, pop culture mega-churchianity continues to grow and mount its ivory towers… When will the fruits of – “the end justifies the means” spoil to the point of turning enough people off and cause them to run elsewhere or fall to their knees in repentance?
On Michael Moore:
I’ve just read his memoir Here Comes Trouble and I must admit that some of my impressions of him were changed. In some ways I gained a more positive picture of him and in a few other ways his unsavory points were confirmed. I recommend the read and one thing is clear; he is not anti-american like his accusers charge.
On institutional maturity:
Growing up in the american evangelical wilderness, the stress was on individual maturity. This isn’t bad, but it tends to miss the equal importance of institutional/systemic maturity. Step back and look at the big picture of our world and you can see immaturity and maturity in evidence at the macro level. america is an adolescent, immature country and it behaves like a spoiled, narcissistic teenager in comparison to some other more mature nations. The predominantly independent/non-denominational evangelicalism that has grown so rapidly in america is also in this stage. It is not a mature institution, hence some of its deep issues despite its “growth”. So what does maturity look like for a community, a church and a nation? The way of Jesus holds the key I believe. And yes I also believe that institutions can follow Jesus, as the individuals therein choose His way in all things.