Archive for the 'ODM Policies' Category

On Febraury 11, 2010, the Rapture Ready bulletin board banned me for two years (apparently for dragging God into a conversation) and informed me that I am not saved.

If you’re reading this, that means that the world has not ended yet, and I am over there renewing my membership and finding out from those gracious people how to be saved before I’m eternally damned.

And if you believe that last line, when I return from RR, I want to talk to you about a bridge in New York that I can sell you for a really good price.

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In the opening verses of Joshua 22 the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh are commissioned by Joshua and sent on their way.  They have chosen to live on the opposite side of the Jordon from the rest of Israel.  So the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh left the Israelites at Shiloh in Canaan to return to Gilead, their own land, which they had acquired in accordance with the command of the LORD through Moses (v. 9).  When they returned to their land they built an imposing altar there by the Jordan (v.10).

This did not sit well with the remaining tribes.  In fact, the whole assembly of Israel gathered at Shiloh to go to war against them (v. 12).  OK, they didn’t like this – but war?  Was this really offensive enough to kill a brother?  Apparently it was, since altars were used to worship pagan gods and any worship of the God of Israel must be done in the tabernacle (cf. Lev. 17).

But before attacking them and leveling out justice, some decided to question them.  They sent a guy named Phinehas and a few leaders and  asked them how could they could break faith with the God of Israel like this?  How could they turn away from the LORD and build yourselves an altar in rebellion against him now? (v.13).  Legitimate questions – no doubt.

They responded quite definitively:

21Then Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh replied to the heads of the clans of Israel: 22 “The Mighty One, God, the LORD! The Mighty One, God, the LORD! He knows! And let Israel know! If this has been in rebellion or disobedience to the LORD, do not spare us this day. 23 If we have built our own altar to turn away from the LORD and to offer burnt offerings and grain offerings, or to sacrifice fellowship offerings on it, may the LORD himself call us to account.

24 “No! We did it for fear that some day your descendants might say to ours, ‘What do you have to do with the LORD, the God of Israel? 25 The LORD has made the Jordan a boundary between us and you—you Reubenites and Gadites! You have no share in the LORD.’ So your descendants might cause ours to stop fearing the LORD.

26 “That is why we said, ‘Let us get ready and build an altar—but not for burnt offerings or sacrifices.’ 27 On the contrary, it is to be a witness between us and you and the generations that follow, that we will worship the LORD at his sanctuary with our burnt offerings, sacrifices and fellowship offerings. Then in the future your descendants will not be able to say to ours, ‘You have no share in the LORD.’

28 “And we said, ‘If they ever say this to us, or to our descendants, we will answer: Look at the replica of the LORD’s altar, which our ancestors built, not for burnt offerings and sacrifices, but as a witness between us and you.’

29 “Far be it from us to rebel against the LORD and turn away from him today by building an altar for burnt offerings, grain offerings and sacrifices, other than the altar of the LORD our God that stands before his tabernacle.”

When Phinehas and the leaders of the community heard what Reuben, Gad and Manasseh had to say, they were pleased (v 30).  They were glad to hear the report and praised God.  And they talked no more about going to war against them.(v. 33).

Now, let us imagine what this would look like if Phinehas and the leaders each had a blog.  And let’s assume each were self-appointed watchman set on pointing out any way in which the tribes of Israel strayed from the fold – whether or not the straying violated God’s Law – or just their cultural preferences.

If that were the case, Phinehas may have indeed believed the Reuben, Gad and Manasseh and even reported this to the Israelites and praised God.  But the others were not so sure. They would blog and comment on each others blogs saying:

I do not believe they are being honest about their comments.

I do not deny they are still faithful, but I want to see fruit before I believe them.

I asked them about pagan altars, and they dodged my question with postmodern jargon like “For us it is to be a witness between us and you and the generations that follow…” – Why can’t they give a straight answer?

Others would chide  and mock Phinehas for meeting with them… saying only those with something to hide meet with enemies of Israel.

And so, even after the answers were given and the truth proclaimed… even after the issue should have been settled… it would fester in their watchful minds.

Why?  Because it is always easier and certainly more self-rewarding to assume the worst about people.  To point at other and say “They are different, therefore they are inferior” or “I want proof… proof based on my criteria.”  Or maybe just to say: “I do not like them, therefore I do not believe they are being honest.”

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“Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. – Jesus (according to Matthew 7).

Recently a group I am part of studied these verses and the surrounding context.  It is quite possible that this excerpt from Jesus’ sermon is one of the most oft quoted and oft misquoted of his proverbial sayings.  Contrary to our cultural pressure; it is obvious from the context that Jesus is not making an absolute prohibition against judging others.  It is equally clear that Jesus is calling for judgments that are fair, informed, and free of hypocrisy.

Shortly after this study I came across a new entry into the Museum of Idolatry.  It is a posting of a video… offered without comment, explanation, nor objection.  It carries the simple title: Marriage Dance?. The comments in response to the posting are but three, yet they acutely illustrate Jesus’ concerns about judging.

The posting and comments exemplify the insatiable need felt by many within the Body of Christ to judge others without restraint, without context, without relationship, and without a proper understanding of culture, and from a decided ethnocentric point of view.  In short – they judge by a standard they would never want applied to them.  They judge by a selfish standard of their own creation.

The dance is offered as an “artifact of apostasy”  - an example of “the Great Apostasy that is sweeping through the “Christian” Church.”  The misuse of 2 Thessalonians in this context will not be pursued, what will be asked is why the posting is entitled “Marriage Dance?”  What purpose does the question mark play? What is being questioned; there marriage status, their ability to dance?

The real travesty plays out in the three short comments.  The comments display and incredible lack of cultural insight and abundance of ethnocentrism – of improper judging.

Comment:

I couldn’t watch the whole thing, I turned it off before 2 mins were up. What is this doing in a church service? How is it edifying our Savior? I’m sorry but I would have walked out if I was there in person. The only good thing I have to say, it that at least they were married to each other (I hope). Still, not the thing to be showing in church!

It’s unfortunate this person cannot appreciate the manner in which people who are different from him/her express themselves to God.  Marriage was created by God.  The marriage covenant is one of the grander illustrations of the Trinitarian nature of our God… it also serve as an illustration for the relationship between our Savior and his Church.  Therefore, this dance could edify our Savior because it celebrates marriage.  And just why is this not appropriate for church?  How do you know it was a worship service?  Or is dance always inappropriate within a space used for worship?

Dance has a rich heritage in the African culture and nothing in Scripture prohibits it as an expression of God’s greatness.  The description of the video itself (which I suspect the commenter did not bother to research) gave the reason for the dance – “Married couples minister in dance: Giving thanks and honor to God for the blessing of marriage.”  Apparently thanks can only be given to God in a way that is culturally acceptable to Shar.

In response to this comment came:

You are so right, this is what is wrong with the churches today. It is suppose to be worship of the Most high God, not lifting up of the flesh.

Married couples giving thanks and honor to God for the blessing of marriage through dance is what is wrong with the churches today?  Seriously?  Again, no rationale is given as to why this is wrong, just the declaration that it is.  Though Floyd does add one clear objection – it lifted up the flesh.  This is an interesting (and rather cliché) objection. Since the Most High God created the flesh, created marriage, created the physical and spiritual bond… how is celebrating that “fleshly”  - in the improper sense.  Particularly when done in a tasteful manner.  Nothing in this video was inappropriately suggestive, or erotic.  Makes me wonder how Floyd would respond to… oh… say the Song of Solomon.  Talk about lifting up the flesh!

The final comment agreed:

Even worse than the obviously inappropriate, human-centered dance, is all the womens’ voices I hear cat calling in the background; makes me understand why Paul said women should be silent in the assembly. Boy, was he right.

This one made me laugh.  “Human (or man) – centered” is another cliché that is so over used it has become meaningless.  It’s basically code for “Anything I dislike.”  But Melba also shows a lack of understanding of the audience’s response.  No one was making cat calls.  They simply responded audibly to what they were seeing.

The bottom line is these comments show how easy it is to take our own cultural standards and assume them to be biblical… to impose on others the same cultural (as opposed to biblical) standards we hold… to assume the way we do things is the only biblical was to do things… to judge others who are different as inappropriate, as an examples of apostasy, as sinful – not on biblical standards, but upon personal preferences.

Appendices to address expected objections:

A – I am not accusing anyone of hypocrisy.  I do not know the poster or those who commented.  Nor do I intend to fully defend the Marriage Dance.  In fact, one could have come up with all sorts of biblical/legitimate objections to the theology and practice of a UCC church.

B – I found the dance posted twice on YouTube (here and here).  Each posting gives one line to describe the video.  They are “The Married Couples Dance Ministry of trinity united church of christ in chicago dance to BabyFace” and “Married couples minister in dance: Giving thanks and honor to God for the blessing of marriage.”  Neither video gave the context of the dance.

C – The issue here is not one of race, and certainly not racism.  The issue is judging others without the facts and from a false premise.

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Ephesians 2:4-6 (NKJV – emphasis mine) — But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together …

I have noted before on my blog that legalism mocks God’s grace. If we are raised in a home that doesn’t perform “worldly” externals, and all Christianity is about is not doing those “worldly” externals, then God hasn’t really saved us from much — we weren’t dead in our trespasses; we just had the sniffles.

A couple weeks ago, Neil wrote about labels, and how they can be helpful at times — and downright useless and silly at other times. The latter issue was the larger portion of his post and (although he didn’t initially identify it at the time of the writing), I was one of the people that he wrote about who had been incorrectly and unfairly labeled. (He later went back and filled readers in on who the label-ers were. ‘Twas a hop, skip, and jump from there to figure out who the label-ees were.)

Unfortunately, for any “fact-checkers” out there, the background of my incident can’t be accurately checked, as the moderators of the site on which I was labeled chose to conveniently excise large parts of the exchange in which either (a) I made a strong point or (b) they looked foolish in retrospect. But that’s not why I’m writing this, anyway …

I was attempting to answer the question “Is Francis Chan emergent?” by noting that the important question was not whether or not someone had attached a label to Chan, but whether or not what he teaches/writes is the truth. As the questioner appeared to truly be researching Chan, but coming up empty, I pointed her to a couple of book reviews and a brief (and, for me, convicting) video by Chan.

(For what extremely little it was worth, one of the book reviews included a quote from Chan that pretty much answered her irrelevant question.)

Having just made the point that the issue was truth (not labels), the very next comment — by a moderator, no less — asked me if I was emergent. Quite frankly, I was stunned at how incredibly and thoroughly he had missed my entire point. I felt like tapping the mic and asking, “Is this thing on?”

I temporarily evaded the question, as it was no more relevant for me than it was for Chan. However, after a while, it became obvious that I was never going to get that point through, even though I repeated it numerous times in different ways. So I just (metaphorically) threw up my hands and answered their question. I worked off a list of teachers/writers that one of my accusers had provided, and (I’m sure to their utter shock) largely agreed with their stances on these men.

But then I “messed up” and dragged God into the conversation (what was I thinking?):

Bottom line though: While none of those men are on my bookshelf, I do not think God incapable of using them to speak truth to me.

The responses to this statement (all of my others “disappeared”) made things abundantly clear — they were so utterly focused on these men, that they totally (dis)missed God. One can only come to the conclusion that they do think God incapable of using those men.

There was even a great, though certainly unintended, illustration of this. One of the moderators has an image in his signature line — riffing off of President Obama’s “Hope” slogan — that says “Hopeless” (complete with the same logo in the “O” as was in the original). While no fan of the president by a long shot, I have to note that this image says infinitely more about the moderator’s view of God than his view of the president.

I ran across a post on another blog today about some truly horrific people — murderers, drunkards, adulterers, pimps, prostitutes — the scum of the earth. Oddly, they’re all characters cited in Genesis, many of whom were greatly used by God. And some of them don’t even have the “good” testimonies of how they did all that bad stuff before they met God, and walked the straight and narrow ever since.

The phrase “another gospel” (riffing off Galatians 1) has been perverted in its overuse to mean “that with which we do not agree”. And, to be sure, I saw that phrase used often in the discussions surrounding Chan and others. But to claim (even indirectly) that God is incapable of using anyone requires not only the ignoring of large portions of Scripture, but an outright mockery of God’s grace and the heart of the gospel message.

That, my friends, is truly “another gospel”.

Galatians 1:9 (NKJV – emphasis mine) — As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.

Don’t blame me — I didn’t say it.

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(or Ingrid never ran over my puppy)

OK, people, time for a level-set.

It would appear that the (irrelevant and inaccurate) references to this site in the meta of Tim Challies’ post the other day have garnered us some new readers.  To them I say “Welcome”.  This post is actually in response to “pre-Challies” readers of this blog who seem to have missed something.  Before you new folks make the honest mistake of ascribing to the same misconception, maybe we ought to clear it up (again).

Many of the veteran detractors of this site routinely state that the purpose of this blog is to spew hatred against a select few.

The Greek word for such a viewpoint is “skubala“.  A (very) rough English translation would be “baloney”.

Some time ago, Chris Lyons (with input from other contributors here) wrote Our Mission, detailing what this blog is all about.  Chris outlines six guidelines for this blog, only one of which deals with the addressing of points in which we disagree with those that write the various watchblogs out there.  In fact, Chris calls this “the lowliest” of these six tasks.

Even if we throw several bones to the skubala-merchants and ignore the existence of the other five tasks, their viewpoint is still inaccurate.  Which brings me to the point of the title of this post.

I don’t hate Ken or Ingrid or Chris R or PB.  Regardless of the mutuality of the sentiment, I consider them all Christian siblings of mine.

Now, admittedly, I do hate theological error — very much so — especially when it is presented at the expense of others.  And this is what I write against.  This is why I am here.  The fact that it often happens to be presented by one or more of the afore-mentioned people (that I allegedly hate) is either purely coincidental or cited as an example.  While I sometimes cross the line, I do my best to remember that my anger is not directed at them, but at the error that they are presenting and the damage that it can do to others.

Sidenote: I do find it rather telling that one of the most vocal (and oft-repeated) accusations against Tim Challies’ post was that he didn’t “name names”.  The fact that he didn’t screams that his “beef” was with a concept, not a person.  Such writing demands that the reader not simply write Tim off as a “hater”, but actually determine if the points he made are applicable to themselves.  (Or at least gripe about the fact that he didn’t “name names”.)

As Chris noted about himself recently, I used to wield a weed-eater indiscriminately, too.  But God worked on my heart, both directly and through others, to see my sin.  My purpose here is to try to be the “others” for someone else.  Not as someone who has arrived, but as someone that’s been to a few “places” that you’re better off avoiding.

For you new(er) folks here, please be warned — the veteran dissenters on this site will state unequivocally that I am lying and what I have written here is not the true nature of what’s in my heart.  They will most likely misappropriate the first half of Matthew 7:16 as proof-text of their ability to read my heart.  These are people who apparently ignore passages such as 1 Samuel 16:7.  By tacitly stating that they are God (by the measure of this latter verse), they are committing nothing short of blasphemy.  I would ask that you think for yourselves, rather than take the word of a blasphemer.

Maybe even use a little discernment.

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Since the very beginning of this blog, we’ve been pretty firm in our “no comments are deleted” policy, with only a couple minor exceptions (with neither an attempt to silence/whitewash voices).  However, it’s becoming apparent that we need to add a little bit more to the way we’ve been managing this.

Some general observations/policies (for those unfamiliar) on this topic:

1) First-time commenters are automatically moderated until their first comment is approved.  We often run down IP addresses and match against some other sources to verify who someone is (or is not), and whether they’ve commented on this blog (or other blogs) before under different names/aliases.

2) For some people, relative anonymity is important (i.e. preventing people from tracking down personal/ID information and misusing it) and understandable.  As such, we do not demand full names.

3) “Moderation” (which puts comments into a queue for delayed approval) is used, rather sparingly for commenters who almost exclusively post items which:

* are consistently  nasty
* are consistently derogatory w/ little/no OP relevance
* ignore warnings on personal attacks against other commenters
* consistently ignore requests from CRN.Info writers

Ch-ch-ch-changes

With these in mind, we’re currently examining some changes in commenting policy (while keeping the “no comments are deleted” policy, as-is). Here are the proposed changes:

1) Commenters who wish to retain relative anonymity may continue to do so.  All that we ask is that you have a valid email address with your sign-in (which is only visible to CRN.Info writers) OR that you have the name of a CRN.Info writer who can verify your identity contained in the email field.  [example: We at least one commenter who is a single female and is concerned with her safety, and only one of our writers knows here and vouches for her as a commenter)]  If you have a regularly maintained blog that you’ve established, that’s good enough, as well.

2) We expect all regular commenters to maintain ONE name/alias by which they post (Example: We know who nc is, and he’s always nc).  If, for some reason (for instance, the overabundance of Chris’s and Nathan’s) you need to change in the future, just clear it with us so that we can keep track of you.

3) We expect that the ONE name/alias by which a commenter posts is not, in itself, purposely offensive or derrogatory toward another commenter/group/pastor/etc.

Comments/Commenters outside of these guidelines will be put in a moderation queue if, after a grace period, things aren’t rectified.

Personally, I hate doing stuff like this – particularly when it’s just a couple of folks currently at issue.  However, this seems to pop up every few months, so we might as well put it out for discussion and act upon it.

Thoughts? Additions?  Subtractions? Division/Multiplication?

Shalom

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Todd Friel simultaneously struck out and hit a grand slam the other day. The strikeout was by putting 2 and 2 together and getting 13.72349; the home run was in crystallizing one of the biggest flaws of ADM thinking in just a couple minutes.

On his TV show, Friel joined the OCRPIJNGWHTDHTFSTC* Society to dump on Rick Warren’s prayer at President Obama’s inauguration. Early in his prayer, Warren said:

And You are the compassionate and merciful one

Friel then said, “In fairness, [I] wanna take a look at Psalm 145:8″ and the verse was put up on the screen:

The LORD is gracious and merciful; Slow to anger and great in lovingkindness.

He then said, “In fairness, that may have been Psalm 145:8, although it’s not quite Psalm 145:8; it was different.”

(Gee, that’s twice that he’s said “in fairness”.  Methinks the TV host doth protest too much.)

How, according to Friel, was it different?  It turns out that most of the chapters in the Koran start by saying:

You are compassionate and merciful

Friel then states that this is “the exact phrase that Rick Warren used”.  Um no, Todd it isn’t.  To paraphrase you, “it’s not quite the Koran; it was different.”  The words “And”, “the” and “one” do not appear in the Koran.  Now I realize that this is nit-picking, but not any more than what Friel was doing by saying it wasn’t “quite Psalm 145:8″.

But hey, just because Friel picks nits, let’s not sink to that level.  What seems not to occur to him is that maybe Warren was simply stating a fact that happens to be similar to a Scripture verse and also happens to be similar to something in the Koran.

At least, I would hope that Friel would agree that God is compassionate and merciful.

In other words, maybe Warren wasn’t quoting anything.  See Todd, there’s this thing that some Christians do, where their speech is infused with references and allusions to things found in Scripture, but they’re not quoting it.  This is what happens to some people when their faith constitutes their entire life and isn’t relegated to a few hours a week.  (I’m not saying that none of that is applicable to you, but it does strike me as odd that the concept is so incredibly foreign to you.)

Friel went on to state that Warren twisted two other Scriptures when he prayed:

and we know today that Dr King and a great cloud of witnesses are shouting in heaven

Yeah, “cloud of witnesses” is a familiar phrase.  But Friel states that Warren was quoting (and twisting) Hebrews 12:1 and Luke 15:10 (a major stretch) to come up with that sentence.  While I am personally unclear regarding the dead’s cognizance of human activity on earth, again we go back to the fact that maybe Warren wasn’t quoting anything.

But here’s the kicker, and how it’s indicative of ADM thinking.  In just a few minutes of video, Friel says the following phrases (some emphases are mine, but many are actually his):

  • that may have been
  • I don’t think
  • I guess only Rick Warren knows
  • seems to be quoting
  • I guess we’ll find out in eternity
  • I think what he’s doing there
  • I also think
  • maybe that’s what he meant
  • I think he basically

That’s a whole bucketload of uncertainty.  In fact, so much so that I have to question the point of even discussing it.  Yet he presents this information with so much certainty and pseudo-authority that it’s clear that he, personally, is uncertain of nothing, and the viewer shouldn’t be either.  He takes some coincidences, mixes in a lot of assumptions, and gives the viewer an (allegedly) undeniable conclusion.  This is the very foundation upon which “discernment” (as practiced by ADMs — not to be confused with actual discernment) is built.

A few other issues of note:

  1. In criticizing Warren’s reference to praying “in the name of the One Who changed my life”, Friel certainly holds in significant derision the concept of salvation being a life-changing experience.  Was it not that way for you, Todd?
  2. Don’t even get me started on Friel’s condescending laughs and sighs.
  3. Most error contains a good bit of truth; “a little leaven” and all that.  So to state that someone who said something that appears in the Koran is quoting (or even referencing) the Koran is ludicrous.
    • “This was more than I could understand.” — There, I’ve just “quoted” Mein Kampf at greater length than Warren allegedly quoted the Koran.
  4. In trying to bolster his “argument” of Warren being spiritually inclusive by (allegedly) quoting the Koran, Friel refers to the “Jewish shema”.  Funny, but every Christian Bible that I’ve seen has Deuteronomy in it.  By referring to the shema as Jewish, Friel denies the constancy and consistency of God.  I doubt that he actually believes that the God of the Old Testament is different from the God of the New Testament; but that’s the misinformation that he purports by that allegation.

There is one thing to credit to Friel, though.  The link to this video was on Slice and it opened by saying “As only he can” (referring to Friel).  And apparently that is so.  In contrast to the ADMs, when Friel starts retrieving certainties and conclusions from bodily orifices, at least he admits to his uncertainty.  Sorta.

* OCRPIJNGWHTDHTFSTC = “Oh, crap; Rick prayed in Jesus’ name; guess we’ll have to dig harder to find something to criticize”

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(Note: This is not an indictment of the commenter that I reference here.  Several folks here and on similar and dissimilar blogs — myself included — have been guilty of the same thing.  This is an “if the shoe fits” observation.)

Earlier today, Jerry put up the first part of a multi-part post reviewing Rob Bell’s latest book, Jesus Wants to Save Christians.  Being the lightning rod that Bell is ’round these here parts, I fully expected the comment thread to degenerate quickly, and I wasn’t let down.

The third comment expressed disappointment that supposedly (according to the commenter) “those who have not read the book do not qualify for this thread”.  Jerry wrote over 1400 words, none of which (apparently) provided any ammunition for Bell to be crapped on.

So according to this commenter, Jerry just wasted his breath, because no ammo means no point in having a discussion.

God help us.

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me, on a good dayADM Policy:  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  If it is broke, don’t fix it.  Just point it out.

You know how, when shopping in a store, if you actually need help, you can never find an employee; but if you’re fine, they come crawling out of the woodwork?  I’ve yet to find a solution to the problem, but I have figured out how to alleviate the frustration a bit.  When asked, “Can I help you?” (which is only when I don’t need help), I respond, “They tell me that I’m beyond help.”  It amuses me, sometimes the employee laughs too, and (if not) it’s always fun to mess with someone who talks as though they’re reading a script and doesn’t really give a rat’s glutes about you.

Well, apparently they (who say I’m beyond help) are right.  Or at least, so would say an ADM owner.

I’m not going to name the person, and will take pains to genericize the issue so as not to make it easy to figure out.  I will give the person a pseudonym — Patrick — and I will note that (surprise, surprise) the issue was regarding the “Emerging church”.  But the exact identity/issue is not particularly relevant, especially given the fact that I’ve encountered the same kind of spirit in many ADMs.

I recently came across a post by Patrick whose main point stood in direct opposition to an argument used by others of his ilk against a statement I have made on several occasions.  Actually, it’s inaccurate to state that this was it’s main point — it was the headline, and was obliquely referenced a number of times — but there was no evidence, links, or information supporting that point.  There were, admittedly, 8 links in the article, but none supporting the point.

I sent Patrick an email noting both the dissonance between his “point” and that of others, and also the lack of information on how he arrived at that point.  His response, though somewhat brief, contained all of the following:

  • absolute non-sequitur
  • statements that only bolstered my issue
  • gross over-generalizations  (What?  About Emerging?  No, never.)
  • insight into the inner workings of others’ hearts  (What?  From an ADM?  No, never.)
  • snarky and facetious uses of terminology used by some Emerging leaders
  • a statement that his point was “quite obvious” to him
  • an accusation that I hadn’t provided proof that his main “point” was incorrect (!!!)

This last one really threw me for a loop.  Patrick makes a definitive public statement, I ask him for evidence, and he states that I haven’t provided evidence to the contrary.  But let’s not dwell on that — it makes my hair bleed.

Having sufficiently evaded/ignored my actual questions better than any politician could dream of doing, he closed his note with “Thanks for playing”.

Trying to drag the conversation back into the same area code as my point, I sent him another note, clarifying my questions, claiming honest ignorance over what was “quite obvious” to him, and (to what extent possible) responding to the points in his email.  Riffing off his “Thanks for playing”, I closed my note with “Thus beginneth round 2″.

I received a reply stating that there would be no round 2.  I asked why, and he replied that it was pointless. I (admittedly, sarcastically) responded with what seemed to be his interpretation of Galatians 6:1 :

Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, unless you deem it pointless.

His response was “Titus 3:9″ which reads:

But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless.

Never mind that the context of this verse is false teaching and church discipline, not questions.  If you don’t want to talk to someone anymore because you consider them a fool, just whip out this verse.

I’m glad God didn’t give up on me that easily.

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