For a long while it’s bugged me that the apostle Thomas’ name has gone the way of a byword. “Don’t be a Doubting Thomas,” some wryly throw about. It’s like what has happened to Albert Einstein – for such an intelligent man, we only use his name as a sarcastic insult directed at “stupid” people. Today, I think Thomas is the apostle we should most aspire to be like. And I’ll tell you why. Read More
Some of you may have seen the recent articles that came out yesterday and today, of SocalityBarbie and the lampooning of all things deemed pretentious, fake, and hipster. I reckon you’re probably not thrilled to have your name tacked right on the front. There seems to be a lot of bashing on desiring to “live authentic” and appreciate your surroundings, to enjoy well-made things, and to actually follow Jesus as a young person. The things that do well eventually are mocked – it’s the envy of human nature. But I’ve seen other Christians making fun of you, claiming that you’re promoting a cheapened form of “cultural Christianity” and mocking the things you enjoy and like. Maybe it’s to seem cool. Maybe it’s a legitimate theological beef. Regardless, I want to leave you a brief note of encouragement. Read More
In my last post, I talked a little bit about the merits of criticism and judgment. Reading comments that others have shared and just taking some time to meditate on this over the course of the day, I feel like I have a little more to talk about with this one.
Like I said before, I think that it’s a bit naive to say that there isn’t wrong in the world, in the same way that, feeling ill, it would be naive to say “I don’t have pneumonia” until one is bedridden and debilitated. Sometimes something is genuinely wrong, and it needs to be addressed. I think the crux of the matter of criticism lies in the motive.
Here’s one of the big questions, in my personal opinion.
How productive is flaw-finding?
I’m not one to minimize flaws and make flippant the pain of sin. Anything that detracts from real peace is clearly an extremely negative thing. I run from it like a man runs from a ravening lion or a lumbering behemoth in the woods, leaping over underbrush and branches, feeling the nettles and horsetails and settler’s bedstraw clawing for my elbows and ankles. Frequently I run right into it, though, in my attempt to escape sin. Thank God that God isn’t disinterested in my struggle, and strives towards a permanent and perfect disentanglement.
One of the things I recognize about myself is that I have an easy time presenting God’s truth and a hard time presenting God’s grace. I get frustrated easily and angry. Of course, God’s truth and God’s grace are inseparable. You can’t have one without the other. So, in essence, I still don’t fully understand either.
“Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.” (Hebrews 2:1)
I still remember hearing a gentleman at a political meeting tell the gathered group that he had thought of the idea he was currently sharing while “not paying attention at church.” As he was speaking, because of varied distracted conversations between people not listening to him, this man ended up repeating that statement three times. I found that significant.
“Why,” I asked to myself, “would this man even bother going to church if he wasn’t even going to try to pay attention?”
“I honestly just don’t get it Matthew,” my English teacher sighed. She settled further into
her chair and took in my complete lack of concern for this intervention. “You are such a talented
student and I love hearing how you engage in class. I mean it. I love the way you get involved
and ask questions.”
“Here it comes,” I thought to myself. “They all say it.”
“What is it going to take to make you successful in this class?”
There is a lot of hate in this world. There is a lot of hate in America, even from within the Christian Church. Sometimes that ‘even’ becomes ‘especially’. Mahatma Gandhi famously said “I don’t reject Christ. I love Christ. It’s just that so many of you Christians are so unlike Christ.”