"And beauty immortal awakes from the tomb." James Beattie
Well, the hoopla over the Doug Wilson quote has died down since Jared Wilson apologized and deleted the post. I am glad that he did so and I think the apology was a nice touch. However, and with TWW there is always a however, I have a confession to make. Although I found the quote deplorable, I had far bigger concerns that went well beyond the quote. In fact, dare I say these concerns eclipse even the quote itself?
Here is the problem. After the brouhaha started last week, Jared, along with Doug Wilson, started responding in a perplexing way for those who claim to want to be missional, the latest “it” word in the Calvinista lexicon. Jared tweeted "You can lead someone with poor reading comprehension skills to context, but you can't make them think. " (Tweet-7/14-presumably aimed at some of our readers who dared to disagree with him.)
I was really mad when I read it. In fact, I replied to his tweet : I suggest you read 1 Peter 3:9 “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.”
I want to clarify my response. I do not believe that our readers either insulted him or were evil. But, I think that this was how he, along with Doug, perceived the disagreement. In fact, On Wednesday I will show you that this is exactly how Doug Wilson felt. My response was meant to get him to think in a “Biblical” manner about his tweet and comments. Of course, there was no response. (I am beginning to love this twitter stuff).
Today is Part One of this post. On Wednesday, Lord willing, I shall write Part 2. Today I hope to explain to you how Deb and I view blogging and why I think the “band of bloggers” over at The Gospel Coalition could “take a clue” from us. Yes, I am saying that the men can, and should, learn something from two women.
When I first became a Christian, at the age of 17 during an episode of Star Trek, it was like a light had invaded my dark and confusing non-Christian world in Salem, Massachusetts. I knew few Christians and my parents thought I went off the deep end. And so I began to search for Christian books to read. I found some at my local library. The Cross and The Switchblade made me cry. Then I found CS Lewis and, through his remarkable eyes, I began to understand more and more about this incredible life to which I was called. He rent the curtain over my eyes to reveal a world far beyond the present and physical. In a book of his quotes I read this and my life was forever changed.
“It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilization—these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendours.” CS Lewis The Weight of Glory.
Suddenly, everyone who crossed my path became those immortal beings. I would look at the policeman, the cashier, the lady pushing her grocery basket as unimaginable immortals. To this very day, I think of people who cross my path in this way. Last year, my husband and I gave a talk for a large group of medical students. I presented this quote along with a challenge. I told them that there are many people who are on the periphery of their lives at the hospital such as the man who mops the floors and the woman who collects the dirty tray at the end of the conveyer belt in the hospital. These are the unnoticed ones. I asked them if they have ever tried to meet that woman behind the wall to see what she looks like or did they ever try learn the name of the man who sweeps the floors? Surely their name are known to our Father who dearly loves them. Why don't we love them as well?
I offered two $50 gift certificates to the first two people who could talk to one of the “overlooked” people and send me a picture of their encounter. Two hours later, a student texted me a picture of him standing with a smiling George, the man who collects the carts at Walmart. He texted that George is trying to earn enough money to bring his family to the States from Jamaica. He talked of his loneliness and, surprisingly (to the student) he said he really liked his job. The medical student said, “You are right. George is not a mere mortal. I learned something tonight. Thank you for challenging me.”
My husband cringes when I walk into McDonalds during road trips. I usually end up meeting people and talking to them in the line. He knows that a 10-minute stop will often turn into 30 minutes. I love people and often try to imagine them as they will be. It is during these times I become missional in my thinking. I try to understand others, what makes them tick, and when and if, the time is right, I may discuss my faith in such a way as to intrigue, not to offend.
I, as well as Deb, look at our blog in the same way. We wonder about every last person who visits us and imagine what they look like, what their story is and consider ourselves blessed to have encountered them, even the grouchy ones. Grouchy people may not know this but they have the ability to make us laugh, at times. Our lives are richer for the presence of all readers, even if we differ on issues of the faith. People have shared a bit of themselves with us and we do not take that for granted, ever. Neither of us ever imagined such wonderful people wanting to dialogue with us. Thank you all so much!
This blog is not a place for us to merely pontificate although we are growing rather adept at that, much to the dismay of those we discuss. Yes, theology is important. Even more so is love, respect and honor. This is not a blog for certain kinds of Christians. It is a blog for all types of people. Hopefully, through our writings, you can understand who we are and why we love our faith so much that we want to protect it from those who might use it for their own selfish purposes. Never forget that all of you are prayed for and, sometimes, cried over. There is many a day in which I pace my kitchen, angry at those in the church who have hurt so many wonderful people.
That is why I have been stupefied by the responses of the very leaders of The Gospel Coalition. These are the ones who have lectured all of us on becoming MISSIONAL and write books and attend conference after conference on being missional I do not know what the Wilsons were doing when they answered the comments of those who were hurt by the quote. But I will say this loud and clear-Jared and Doug Wilson were NOT missional. And that is what I cannot comprehend.
But, I am beginning to think that they define missional very, very differently than we do at The Wartburg Watch. I will elaborate on what I think they really mean by missional on Wednesday.
However, in the short term, I want to make a strong statement. It was deplorable for the Wilsons and other commenters to tell the many people who disagreed with the infamous quote that they had poor reading comprehension or that they needed ESL. The ESL statement was particularly despicable since it has racial and cultural overtones. Since Jared writes a blog, I have to assume that this sort of response is the Calvinista version of missional. If so, I do not expect hordes to be dashing to join such churches in the near future.
Jared Wilson said he would be happy to take emails from people about this issue. I sent him one on Friday but, unfortunately, have not received an answer. I will do my best to represent the email here. I forgot to keep a copy since it was sent at his site. I end the post with this unanswered note.
I wanted to let you know that I am deeply disturbed about the responses you made to my readers who commented on your blog. In fact, I think these responses are far more important and concerning than the actual post. Your comments about their lack of reading comprehension were particularly troubling. The Gospel Coalition claims to emphasize missional but your responses were anything but missional.
I received an email from a man who said that your response to him demonstrates the reason that he no longer trusts pastors. For others, who have been deeply hurt by the church, your response was one more slap upside the head.
Richard Wurmbrand once said, “When you crush a flower, it rewards you by giving you back its perfume. When you crush a Christian, he rewards you by giving you back his love.” I pray that this will be the case in the future.
I wish you God's blessings.
Lydia's Corner: Malachi 3:1-4:6 Revelation 22:1-21 Psalm 150:1-6 Proverbs 31:25-3