Archive for the 'Blogging' Category

i hate it when that happens
(or I hate it when that happens)

Luke 18:10-14 (NKJV):

Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.

Jesus’ parable of the Pharisee and the publican (aka tax collector) is something that many of us cling to. This world is lousy with Pharisees (particularly as described in this parable) and the advent of the blogosphere just gave them a bigger bully pulpit and a louder megaphone. Trying to disabuse readers of some of their silliness — more specifically, trying to help others avoid the pain brought to me by the Pharisees in my own life — is one of the primary reasons that I write.

Well, apparently, God deemed that I needed to be smacked right between the eyes last night. It occurred to me — rather jarringly — that I have been guilty of living as though the publican prayed:

‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this Pharisee.’

In short, I have been proud of my lack of pride. I’m not sure which this is more — stupid or shameful.

It’s all about humility.

I have a feeling that I’m not alone. I hope I am, but I kinda doubt it. If the shoe fits, your mileage may vary, etc, etc ….

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(or Ricky Bobby becomes a theologian )

In case you were not aware, pastor/author Francis Chan is stepping down later this year after a decade and a half as teaching pastor of Cornerstone Church. This video gives a short description of the decision. It’s also a bit amusing, as the guy who was interviewing Chan had no idea what was coming. Watch his face in the first few minutes.

There’s a longer video here — as Chan addresses his congregation regarding the decision.

Now, of those who know who Chan is, there are probably very few who didn’t already know about this transition. So why bring it up, anyway? Well, a sure sign that you’re getting older is that you have déjà vu more often (after all, if there’s “nothing new under the sun”, you’re bound to get more re-runs the longer that you’re on the planet). And I had a massive, two-fold case of it recently.

Piper-esque déjà vu

While some of the reaction to Chan’s decision has been positive — “Wow, rock on, bro; sounds like God is doing some serious stuff in your heart and life” — there has been other reaction that has been quite negative. And the negative reaction isn’t just coming from the far-right fringe bloggers who only care about attaching labels and don’t give a rat’s glutes as to the actual veracity of what Chan writes and teaches. Rather, it’s coming from writers who, while further to the right than I am, I would consider to be rational and capable of conversation with those with whom they disagree. While it’s not clear in some cases, many of these bloggers certainly seem to be people who like/admire Chan. As I said recently about the crucifixion of John Piper, with friends like these …

Actually, a lot of the hub-bub surrounding Chan is quite reminiscent of the firestorm around Piper. And much of the same reasoning that I discussed in my last post about Piper applies here as well. For instance, while Chan’s track record is not as extensive as Piper’s — and it looks like it may never be, at least publicly, as God takes Chan off the radar — it’s still pretty clear that the guy has lapped me (and probably you) a few times spiritually. And while (again) no one gets carte blanche, I’m thinking that a Christian brother needs to be given at least a tiny bit of the benefit of the doubt.

Since the Chan issue has no whipping-boy (a la Warren in the Piper issue), there are some points of divergence in the criticism. One of them seems to be an appeal to cessationism. Now while I think it’s a wrong viewpoint, I don’t have a major beef with cessationism. Unfortunately, in most cases surrounding the criticism of Chan, it’s tied to something with which I do have a major beef.

Many of the writers criticizing Chan would claim to believe in sola Scriptura, and if that’s what they truly believed, I would agree with them. But what they are actually espousing is not sola Scriptura (the belief that Scripture is the highest and ultimate guide for the Christian’s life), but solo Scriptura (the belief that Scripture is the only guide for the Christian’s life). Sola places things like counsel from other Christians, teachings, and guidance by the Spirit on a lower level than Scripture. Solo dismisses them entirely.

Now I would imagine that the writers who espouse solo would argue that that’s not what they’re saying. But when Chan specifically states that he’s been diligently searching the Scripture to be sure that this decision aligns with God’s Word, there are only two conclusions at which we can arrive: (1) the aforementioned critics are ignorant of Chan’s statement* or (2) the aforementioned critics are genuinely espousing solo Scriptura. If the latter is true, then — to be intellectually honest and consistent with their beliefs — they need to stop attending church immediately (and throw out chunks of the Bible, to boot).

(And yes, I recognize the conflict of a believer in solo Scriptura throwing out chunks of Scripture. This is simply illustrative of the lunacy of such a belief.)

One other thought on this. I defy anyone to watch this two-minute video of Chan and tell me that this is not a man who takes the Bible very seriously.

Bobby-esque déjà vu

In Talladega Nights**, there is a conversation between Ricky Bobby and his team’s owner, Larry Dennit Jr., after Bobby has won a race. Dennit chides him on the “obscene gesture” that Bobby made, specifically as it relates to the NASCAR points and sponsorship dollars that it will cost them. The following exchange ensues:

Bobby: With all due respect, Mr Dennit, I had no idea you’d gotten experimental surgery to have your [censored] removed.

Dennit (indignantly): What did you say?

Bobby: Whoa, whoa! I said it “with all due respect”!

Dennit: That doesn’t mean you get to say whatever you want to say to me.

Bobby: It sure as heck does! It’s in the Geneva Convention. Look it up!

(The censored word refers to a portion of the anatomy often attributed to manliness.)

While the criticism of Chan and its theological ramifications are quite disturbing, I find it down-right terrifying that some of Chan’s critics are employing the same logic as Ricky Bobby. They might not use the phrase “with all due respect”, but they often employ some radical, wild-eyed (and usually generic) example, quickly followed by “I’m not saying this about Chan, but …”

Puhleeeeeze, Sparky. If you’re not saying it about Chan, then why even bring it up in a blog post that’s all about criticizing his decision? I’ve looked it up. The Geneva Convention does not allow you to make crazy accusations about mythical third parties in the midst of a criticism of a real person, but preempt any cry of “foul” by simply saying that your crazy accusation was not in any way related to the real person.

With all due respect, we’re not as stupid as you show yourself to be.

* I know for a fact that this is the case for one critic. He’s actually proud of his willful ignorance. Don’t confuse him with the facts; his mind’s made up.

** (not a movie I’d recommend, FWIW)

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(And yes, this title is a riff off of one of the more measured — but still wrong — criticisms of Piper’s decision.)

It was noted earlier this year that John Piper has invited Rick Warren to speak at this year’s Desiring God national conference. This has been public information for at least a couple months, but was more formally announced in recent days.

When this announcement was made, to quote Tillie in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? , “all hell done broke loose”.

Now, admittedly, I was a bit surprised by the invitation. There are some things that Warren has written which strike me as being in error, as best as I interpret Scripture. And, then there’s those dang Hawaiian shirts.

But, on the other hand, some of the criticisms of Warren take asininity to a height that would give a Sherpa a nose-bleed.

Either way, I wouldn’t consider Warren to be part of (what I affectionately have termed) “the Piper posse”. But hey, I have a great appreciation for Pastor John. And ya know what? Before further investigation into any issue, if he and I disagree on something, I’m putting my money on him turning out to be the one who is right.

Does that mean that I give him a free pass and blindly follow whatever he says or does? No, not by a long shot. (And I’d venture to say that he wouldn’t want that, either.) In fact, I know there are some issues that he and I disagree on, and I’m fairly certain that my view is correct.

There is, admittedly, a part of me that wants to say, “C’mon; this is John freakin’ Piper we’re talking about!!” But even setting aside any “celebrity pastor” status, we have to look at the man’s track record. And ya know what? At the end of the day, we’re talking about the track record of John freakin’ Piper.

(And the circle of life is complete.)

Seriously, if I’m going to claim anything even approximating intellectual honesty, I need to hear him out even if he says that all 43-year-olds should be painted purple and hung upside-down from a flagpole next Wednesday. Granted, that one would probably need a long expository explanation; but, to whatever degree I ought to give the benefit of the doubt to any Christian brother or sister, Pastor John should be getting it ten-fold.

And yet we’re hearing nothing but criticism for Piper’s decision. Some of it may be valid; some is tiresomely obtuse, rehashing sad (and untrue) whacks at Warren; and some of it takes the form of crap like this (referring to Piper’s upcoming sabbatical):

If [I] had just endorsed Rick Warren and brought him to my conference, I’d take a sabbatical, too. Permanently.

But all of it (that I’ve seen, anyway) is ostensibly coming from those that like and/or admire Piper. With friends like these ….

What I am completely incredulous about, though, is that Piper made clear why he made this decision and some of the criticisms actually quote his reasoning — verbatim — and yet miss the whole thing. Part of what Piper said was this (emphasis mine):

When I wrote [to Rick Warren] … I said “the conference is called ‘Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God.’ I want you to come. You are the most well-known pragmatist pastor in the world. I don’t think you are a pragmatist at root. Come and tell us why thinking Biblically matters to you in your amazingly pragmatic approach to ministry.”

One of the corollaries to Occam’s Razor says, “Never attribute to malice that which can be explained by stupidity.” In that spirit, I’m going to assume that those who quoted Piper (and yet totally whiffed on the content of the quote) did so out of a mistake and not a willful blindness born of a hatred for Warren. So let me spell it out. And let me do so by past example.

A few years ago, Piper invited Mark Driscoll to speak at a DG conference. The God-blogosphere was all abuzz with what a Bad Idea this was. Most of it surrounded predictions that Driscoll’s invitation would result in a plague of locusts in downtown Minneapolis and a protest headed by Chris Rock and Quentin Tarantino over all the foul language that Driscoll would use.

And when, at the conference, Piper gave Driscoll a mild bit of fatherly admonishment, many of the critics took this as validation of their prognostication, as though Piper had rent his clothes in agony and apologized for screwing up so badly by inviting Driscoll. When Piper heard that his words were being used to bash Driscoll, he was appalled.

Now, I don’t know if you’ve noticed (and if you only listen to him to find new stuff to criticize, then you probably haven’t), but Driscoll has become a bit more mature and a bit less rash over the last few years. In short, Mark is growing. While all credit goes to God on this one, I’d bet dollars-to-doughnuts that his relationship with Piper is one of the tools that God is using in this process. And maybe, just maybe, the fact that Piper invited him to speak at DG helped to show how much Piper meant business.

So now Piper is cultivating a relationship with Rick Warren. And here’s what I hear Piper essentially saying:

There are many ways in which you and I, foundationally, believe the same things. Now in my sphere, the way that this plays out in my life and the lives of many of my peeps is XYZ. But in your life, this plays out differently. Show us how you get from point A to point B.

Honestly, this is a challenge that Piper has presented to Warren. But not in the sense of throwing down a gauntlet. I believe that Piper truly believes that there is a path from point A to point B, and he is genuinely interested in seeing how this plays out. Right there is enough reason for Piper to have extended the invitation.

But even if we assume the worst, and there is not a path from point A to point B, and Warren falls flat on his theological face, who’s to say that the whole Piper posse influence doesn’t cause Warren to step back and think some things through? While Warren is not a young buck (so he probably won’t have the Timothy-Paul relationship with Piper that Driscoll has), it’s hard to imagine him being involved with someone God is using mightily and not being affected in some way.

There are only three conclusions that I can reach about much of the virulent criticism:

  1. There are many professing Christians out there that not only think that Warren is in error, but genuinely believe that God is totally incapable of changing him. Even if we set aside the laughable nature of such a view, it becomes even more ludicrous for someone to claim any affinity for Piper — someone who is all about God’s sovereignty — and yet believe in such a wimpy God. It would be more logical for Ahmadinejad to claim that he greatly admires the teachings of a particular Hasidic rabbi.
  2. There are many professing Christians out there that think that the worst will happen — Warren’s head will start spinning and he’ll vomit pea soup from the pulpit at Bethlehem — and yet Piper won’t do or say anything. An examination of Piper’s track record would indicate otherwise. At one conference (and I’m not even sure it was his conference), one speaker said something with which Piper strongly disagreed, and when it came his turn to speak, he made no bones about the disagreement before launching into his message. (This viewpoint also points to a God who is totally incapable of protecting His sheep from error. See previous comment about Ahmadinejad.)
  3. There are many professing Christians out there that don’t want to see certain people drawn closer to God, because it would upset the apple-cart of their philosophical belief system — something that I doubt God gives a rip about.

Perhaps there is a fourth, more charitable, conclusion out there. But, frankly, I ain’t holdin’ my breath.

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ed. Note: I wrote this last week when I first read the “April Fool” post at Wittenburg Church Door. The post and the use of “fool” demanded a response. Since it was Holy Week I decided it best to wait.

I have a colleague who appreciates modern art. He really really appreciates it. I like it, but I’m not sure I always appreciate it. Whenever I question the value, or worse, the talent of the artist of a piece, the response is inevitable; “This says more about you than the artists/art.” He may very well be right.

This response is what came to my mind when I read a blog questioning John Piper’s decision to invite Rick Warren to fill the pulpit at Desiring God 2010. I believe the angst says more about the blogger than Piper. If you have read the comments here for any length of time you are familiar with both the blogger and the arguments against Warren… the sad, tired arguments.

For the record, this is not so much a defense of Warren as it is a critique of this brand of discernment, of Christ and culture, logic, and tiresome accusations. In a recent blog Chaplain Mike at Internet Monk took Warren to task for suggesting Easter can be leveraged for church growth – I think I understand Warren, but it sounds bad. I agree with Chaplain Mike, and if you read his blog you will see the difference in approach.

Apparently the blogger at Whitenburg Church Door does not agree when Piper says “…I don’t think he’s emergent. At root I think [Warren] is theological and doctrinal and sound.”1 That he disagrees is obvious by the first question the blogger suggests Piper ask – “What is the Gospel ? Be as complete as possible with your answer.” Clearly Piper promotes the true Gospel, which is designed to imply that Warren does not… so it makes sense that this would be the first question. But Warren better pay close attention to the condition – he best be as complete as possible. As we have seen, if he assumes anything, is he leaves out a word, if he uses the wrong words – his Gospel will be rejected. If the blogger really wanted to know the Gospel which Warren believes all he need do is read it.

The rest of the list shows a lack of cultural discernment and questionable logic. The list of questions is not supposed to be “an exhaustive list” – oh but it is… it is very exhausting. It is exhausting to see, yet again, the tiresome arguments of “Issa” and “Murdoch” and “Ecumenicalism.” The latter point best illustrates the real issue – guilt by association. Whether it is associating yourself with Arabs, or associating in person with a President, or associating with Catholics – it’s all about outward appearances, about associations, about some perceived endorsement. Fortunately, Piper is not so worried about such tangential things. Piper wants to get to know Warren, to see what makes him tick, because (like many of us) he likes Warren but is frustrated by some of his stuff. This is the respect one servant of the Lord should show another… the respect one brother should have for another brother.

1 Piper quotes taken from Wittenburg Church Door blog transcript.

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So, I’ve started going through the Bible on my iPod (with the long trip back from TN, I’m now somewhere in Numbers), using the stuff from folks at The Bible in 90 Days. (I don’t know that I’ll make it through in 90 days – my goal is just to go all the way through it again).

Needless to say, I’ve picked up an appreciation for more of the narrative and its flow as a listener (rather than a reader).  My problem w/ reading is that the footnotes, line notes, references, etc. all become very distracting and send me off on far too many bunny trails.  So, while reading through the Bible is an excellent study, for me (at least) it still misses some of the narrative aspects.

[For example, hearing Joseph - no longer able to hide his identity from the suffering of his brothers - tearfully confess his identity to them, has never been so powerful a picture to me than when I heard it (instead of reading it).  I'm sure I must have driven through a dust cloud at that moment, since it seems some of the dust stuck in my eye at that point of the story.]

So, I had to laugh in my most recent drive at the following verse in Numbers:

Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.

I know Rick Frueh has quoted this before, but coupling this verse with the accepted tradition that Moses is the author of Genesis – Deuteronomy, the irony finally hit me.  This is also why, a number of commentaries suggest that it was likely a later prophet who added this parenthetical clause to the Torah (and not Moses), since simply writing it would nullify itself.

And so it was, after I laughed, I got to wondering how many times I nullify the content of what I’ve just said, just by saying it…

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Based on the common P2P as shorthand, I offer up F2F as shorthand for “Face to Face.” This is how we should envision ourselves as we post and particularly comment – be it on this blog or any other.

This was driven home to me, recently, in a quite experiential manner. I had a discussion, in real life, with a person face to face, on a topic… a topic I had also recently engaged in on this site. “Recent” is relative, so there is no point conjecturing to which thread I refer.

What struck me in hindsight was my demeanor when arguing a theological point F2F compared to the same argument on the web. The obvious advantages aside (e.g. – body language, facial expressions, history), our F2F discussion was equally impassioned yet it lacked the common escalation I so often engage in on the web. I am not sure why this is. I suppose it is hard to become frustrated and blunt when sitting across the table from someone. I suppose it is harder to be come angry and escalate the rancor when the person’s response (which include their own anger and hurt) are readily visible. There is still something removed and anonymous when arguments are held on the web – even when they are between people who have a history F2F.

We see this all too often in our favorite ODM sites. I am convinced they label people way too eagerly, of course, but I bet (I certainly hope) that they would not be so quick and eager if they knew the person, if they bothered to conceive their point of view, if they engaged them F2F.

We are guilty of this as well. For all the ways in which we struggle to be different… for all the ways that we actually are different… for all the way I believe our approach is superior and more in the spirit of our Lord… I am guilty of saying things in such a manner as I would never dream of doing to a brother/sister in Christ F2F… We are guilty of saying things in such a manner as I would never dream of doing to a brother/sister in Christ F2F.

Maybe P2P is a good reminder: peer to peer. “Peer” – a person of the same legal status. If I do not know this is even more true of those of us in Christ, I don’t know noth’n,

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Here is a recent submission we’ve received here at PPP.Info:

I have written a book called, “The New Pharisaism: How Spiritual Bullies Attack the Church.” The book deals specifically with the damage caused to church leaders, Christian ministries, and local churches by organizations such as “The Berean Call,” “Slice of Laodicea/Crosstalk America,” “Light House Trails Research Project,” “Media Spotlight,” “Southwest Radio Church,” “Apprising Ministries,”"Understanding the Times,” and many others.

In the church today, we are faced with a new level of intensity when it comes to spiritual abuse and bullying. As you know, this New Pharisaism falsely claims that New Age, Eastern mystical, and occultic practices are being introduced into most churches in America as part of the apostasy of the last days. This inflammatory and divisive material has made its way into local churches through individuals and small groups of bullies who have used it for their own selfish gain and self-promoting agenda.

My book also deals extensively with how to stand against this attack and how to find healing and recovery after the attack has occurred.

I believe that the book is an invaluable resource for your readers and anyone who is dealing with Pharisees today. The book is fully documented with scores of footnotes and is based on the careful exegesis and the sound exposition of God’s Word.

“The New Pharisaism” is available as a ebook download on my website at www.thenewpharisaism.com. On the website, you can also read about my credentials, download the introduction preview, and see the table of contents.

I would be most appreciative if you would let you readers know about this book.

Thank you and may God bless,

Pastor Bill Slabaugh

Has anyone read this? Any volunteers?*

*- My pocketbook is running incredibly low right now, so if anyone has $13 and reads this, I’d be interested in a review…

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I remember when my father got his first label maker. It was a long time ago and the labels it produced were the thick plastic kind with raised letters. Unlike contemporary label makers that actually print, this maker was really a crimper. The label was produced by crimping the plastic band to produce raised letters. In the process the coloration of the plastic was removed on the letters – thus raised white letters on a colored band. At the time it really was cool. Fortunately, my father resisted the temptation to label everything… though he did label a lot of things… a lot of things.

Labeling has a certain function of course. It allows things to be identified easily. We label a file so that its contents can be known at a glance. We label a bin so that we can know what’s in it without opening it. Some people label shelves or cabinets to prevent others from placing things in them that are forbidden. We label things to identify their owner.

Labels are potentially useful, very useful.

They can also be very useful in categorizing people. Followers of Jesus were first labeled Christians in Antioch. This was because the church there was comprised of mostly Gentiles who had embraced Jesus as Lord and Messiah – calling them Jews would not work. A new label needed to be created, and it stuck. Labels are very useful in identifying and categorizing; Christian, Liberal, Gay, Calvinist, Egalitarian… are labels.

Labels are also potentially dangerous, very dangerous.

They can be very dangerous in categorizing people when those assigning the label wield them – not as a shortcut, but as a weapon; when they are assigned out of laziness; when they are assigned based on secondary or even tertiary issues. Labeling is the ally to all who practice Guilt by Association.

We all do it. We all label. Sometimes we do it correctly, sometimes we do it incorrectly. Some however are more consistent in their misuse of labeling than others. Some excel at weapon-labeling and for them it is not a tool as much as it is a first step… a step from which all other steps must proceed.

This was recently illustrated to perfection through two different exchanges between select writers here and self-proclaimed discerners, both of which took place on the sites of the latter. I say self-proclaimed so as to be clear this is not a label I have assigned to them, they have done so themselves.

The thing that was interesting about both of these cases, even though the labelers come from wildly different scenarios, was the consistency of using labels as weapons, the lack of logic, lack of thought and… well lack true discernment. This is where I venture into speculation – I speculate that labeling has become short-hand because it is easier than actual thought, it is easier than actual research. It is easier to connect the dots of guilt by association (even if such association does not really exist), then label. And once the label has been applied – it matters not what the person actually says, does, or believes. The label has been applied – the case is closed. Don’t bother with what is actually in the bin or folder, just label it. Don’t bother discussing or researching or getting to know what a person believes or does – just label them.

For example: In one of the conversations I was labeled as unsaved, Emergent, a follower of a false Jesus and anti-Semitic. There are more, but these will suffice.

I am anti-Semitic because I advocate a two-state solution in Israel/Palestine.
Never mind that I never said anything against any Semite and even affirmed Israel’s right to exist.

I am unsaved because I disagree with someone who is filled with the Holy Spirit.
Never mind my profession of faith, my reliance on God’s grace, my repentance, my faith experience of God’s grace… all were summarily dismissed – the Holy Spirit never disagrees with himself, and we disagreed, therefore I have not the Holy Spirit. I must admit I admire the logic: “I am filled with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit never disagrees with himself. Therefore, by disagreeing with me you prove you have not the Holy Spirit.”
Apply label – unsaved!

I am Emergent because I referenced a common faith, a faith shared with said Holy Spirit believer.
This I found comical, since the reference was not to some interreligious experience, or even interdenominational ecumenicalism – it was a reference to the shared faith between the discerner and me. I was attempting to establish common ground in Christ. The use of the phrase “common faith” was enough for me to be labeled.

I follow a different Jesus because I refused to label someone else as “Not a Christian.”
This became the crux of the matter. Even though I laid out exactly what I believe, even though my beliefs are thoroughly orthodox and biblical, even though these beliefs were never addressed or disagreed with – I follow a different Jesus based on guilt by association, based on connecting the dots, based on being labeled. Never mind that all I did was refuse to label someone else, who I do not even know.

We also practice hypnotism.
Never did figure out what that was based on.

When I pressed for an answer as to which of my very detailed beliefs the discerner found lacking… I was referred to the story of the disciples brushing the dust from their feet. This and other examples of the misuse of Scripture in the labeling process could easily be another post in and of itself. This tactic is used because discernment is not the goal, answers are not the goal, knowing is not the goal – the label is. Above all else, the label must be defended.

Other writers experienced similar labeling, mostly based on equally shallow, tangential, and irrelevant criteria. I chalk it up to laziness, joy in hostility, and a false-discerning attitude.

The point is this. Labels are very useful tools; when applied properly and with a little thought and research. They can also be hurtful, inaccurate and sin; when they are applied flippantly and in spite of reality.

Labels are useful in defining the contents of a bin or folder; they are useful in categorizing and identifying people. But they are worthless and worse when one applies a label without looking into the folder or bin first. They are even worse when they are applied in direct contradiction to the contents of the same.

Let us all learn from the abuse of labels and use them wisely and apply them accurately.

I have left out the names of the discerners and their sites because they are not the point. I prefer it remains that way.

UPDATE: Since this has run its course, and it was pointed out that without links the facts cannot be checked I am updating the post: the sites that labeled us using shallow, tangential, and irrelevant criteria are Rapture Ready. and Discerning the World.

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at least three times in the past couple days i have seen people take a quote, change the meaning, then argue against it. in all three cases the changing of meaning was in extent. a person made statement of possibility or probability or limited in scope. this was then turned into an all inclusive universal truth and argued against.

for example, the original comment may have gone something like this;
if you hike to the bottom of the grand canyon you may fall off a cliff and die

to which someone responds:
what do you mean hiking the canyon means i’ll die! i’ve known plenty of people who have hiked the canyon and lived…

i’m not sure why this happens. maybe it’s sloppiness and haste, maybe it’s just expecting the worst of people, maybe it’s just the heat of rhetorical battle, maybe it’s just easier to argue against absolutes as opposed to nuances.

the problems are:
it is disingenuous to change the meaning of someone’s comment by pouring obviously unintended meanings into them – then countering the argument no one made in the first place.

it serves to elevate the angst and anger as people try and point out the error… and tempers flare.

it also serves to foster needless tangential discussions.

so, for the sake of time, effort, peace, and accuracy… before responding in disgust or disbelief, please take a moment to discern that you have; a) accurately interpreted and quoted the source, and b) you are countering an argument someone actually made.

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I don’t believe it has been mentioned here formally so I’ll do so. Please keep Michael Spencer, aka the Internet monk in your prayers. He has been sick for some time now and announced at his blog yesterday that he has a cancer diagnosis.

From his post:

I have a cancer diagnosis. It’s complex, but has been quickly diagnosed once I was in the Markey cancer center. We know have a plan. Many weeks as some of you know, but that is my life for now.

It is amazing how small the world has become since the invention of the internet by Al Gore and it is amazing how we can learn to love people we have never met. iMonk is an honest man whose writings have touched many of us. I’m passing this along to him so he knows that the PPP community is praying as well; and to you in order that you might pray and continue to do so.

So I pray in the Name of Jesus and the power of the Spirit that the Lord will deal with this illness in a mighty way and bring healing to Michael and his family.  I pray for the doctors and nurses and other attendants who will wage this war on his behalf by administering medicines and counseling and more. I pray for his family that they will be supported and loved by their community during this difficult time. I pray for Michael that his faith will be strengthened as he fights this against this disease. I pray the Lord will soon return him to full health. God Bless you Michael and Godspeed.

Thank you.

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