Anonymous 1 and Anonymous 2 (respectively) had the following to say in response to my last post. I just wanted to say Thanks.
so you are assuming that one cannot show kindness and love without being firm on what is sin and what is not? I am not saying make it part of every conversation, but know that if you are point out blank asked, be ready to give the biblical answer. And not be afraid that if you tell that biblical answer that the person will "turn from Christ". If they turn from Christ because you gave them an honest answer about the sinfulness of their lifestyle, it is not because you were not kind (unless you weren't kind about it),it is because the price that God asks of them is too high. Continuing on in what is comfortable for them is more appealing that the possibility of struggle, dying to self and wrestling with God. By making kindness and truth mutually exclusive, you play a little language game that plays on peoples emotions. Frankly Benjamin, I don't think you are very mature at all. I realize you are young. I was somewhat disturbed by your story about how you were thrown out of the ministry where you met your wife. Yes, a bunch of silly rules. To be honest, I think an overseas mission organization has no business putting a mixed gender group of young single people on a boat, in the middle of nowhere. It is a no win situation. But for you to broadcast the whole thing proudly and smear their name isn't really terribly Christlike to me. My husband and i were asked to leave a church over a petty appearance issue. I am sure it would resonate with you and other emerging church types. It was dumb, stupid and legalistic. Not to mention rooted in the pastor's control issues with his own kids. But for us to put it up on the web, with names places etc would be probably even less Christlike than what this guy did. I think it is meanspirited and vengeful for you to post stuff about this ministry. Did you take it up with them before you broadcast it? Yeah, there are situations of extreme spiritual abuse that probably warrant this (such as say the folks in Texas or the branch Davidians or the boston church of christ or something) but not your ordinary every day ministries making a mistake sort of thing. We privately hinted at people who told us they were going to this pastors church that "they might want to keep their eyes open' but that's about it. That is the Christian way.
You are so full of pointing out the faults of other Christians and the church at large that you fall into that very same sinfulness. You have a lot of spiritual pride at how "Christian" you are compared to the garden variety one's of us who don't self identify with your movement. Deriding people who liked the "purpose driven life" and then going to say that YOUR Christian reading material is oh so much more intellectual..yeah...real Christian. Nauseating is more like it. I suggest instead of focusing on the faults of other Christians, that you look inward at yourself and your own pride and smugness and yes, judgementalness. If you need to compromise what god says in His word to prove you are not judgemental, all the while being VERY judgemental towards your own brothers and sisters in Christ, then you have a serious problem. I have noticed among the wishy washy emerging church people, there is a disproportionate number who grew up around or were themselves ridiculously hardass and cruel about their judgements on the world. Now that they have grasped they were too harsh, they have just flip flopped. No middle ground Just flip flop. And switched their judgemental hearts onto more mainstream Christians instead. there is no critical thinking. no dealing with heart issues. Just being as nasty and derisive to Christians they see as "old school" as they once were to people trapped in sin. the devil must love you.
and here's A-2
my God. I have never seen a more prideful rant in my life as your blog. You have no CLUE how judgemental it is to sit around and judge people for spending money on Xmas. Are we not as Christians supposed to be evaluating our OWN lives, our OWN hearts instead of deciding on the basis of externals where everyone else around us is at. yay for you...you think you are "kewl" because you don't think taking a stand on homosexuality when point blank asked is biblical. But you apparently have no problem whatsoever with ripping other Christians a new one because you have made casual observations about what you "think" are their priorities. I do think American culture, as a whole, is way too materialistic. And i hate messages that tie achievement/financial gain into the kingdom of God. Because they are NOT the same thing. But who are you to be deciding what any individual may or may not be spending on holidays is appropriate. Do YOU buy your kids any unneccessary goodies? Do YOU ever spend money on something purely for pleasure? Probably you do. You do not know that the person spending a lot on a holiday may be making a far far greater contribution to a third world country than you would dream of. Are you their personal accountant who has examined their records??? Hmmm..I thought not.
I..am...just...appalled. And freely throwing around cusswords and using "kewl" every other sentence "doesn't" suddenly make you "real" and "relevent". An examined, humble life is what makes you relevent. Not peppering everything with the f-word.
And anonymous three had the following to say in response to anonymi 1 and 2.
I read things like that and think "wow, I'm sooooo glad that's not me – that person must be miserable" – or, in your case, maybe you can think "wow, that person must be EVEN MORE miserable than me!"
This last made me crack up. Thank you, A-3! =)