I intended to regale you today with a tale of just how I’m not that “little lion man” anymore that choice, experience, and upbringing have led me to be.
But that would be a lie.
Oh, I have changed, for sure, but not nearly as much as I would like. The fact is, when I try to be assertive I often land flat-footed, and with a resounding thud. You need look no farther than: the Crosstalk Blog to see evidence of this. (Look in the comments for a Gravtar of a guy with Bieber bangs in a pink shirt).
Basically, the article there contains an “open letter” to Adventures In Missions, laying a charge of heresy at its feet. All of it seemingly based on nothing more than some books that Adventures recommends. This bothered me a great deal–for two reasons:
1) A family friend is currently engaged in one of these trips, and I know him to be a wise and discerning individual; and,
2) I “met” Jeff Goins on Twitter, and he has been nothing but kind to me–commenting here, encouraging me, retweeting some of my tweets. He seems like a cool guy. Now I realize that being “nice” and “cool” don’t absolve one of heresy, but I don’t get that sense from Jeff at all–he seems to be a sincerely Jesus-loving guy (even if he did positively review Eat, Pray, Love What’s up with that? 😉 ).
For whatever reason, the author of the open letter, called Jeff (and AIM’s founder, Seth Barnes) out by name. In my mind, irrespective of whether or not Matthew 18 pertains specifically to personal matters, if one has concerns about a ministry, one engages that ministry directly–one doesn’t dump an “open letter” on the Internet for all to see. The way I see it, that’s a douchebag move.
For the these reasons, I waded into the foray at Crosstalk, leaving this comment:
“Allow me to point you to Jon Acuff’s excellent article on “Open Letters”. The thing that bothers me about open letters of this type is the fact that the writer generally doesn’t even bother to take the time to reach out to the folks he/she’s writing about. And that is unbiblical. Ingrid, why don’t you call AIM/Barnes/Goins to clarify these things. Your open letter serves only as preaching to the choir. While you’re at it, show me one person who is 100% correct in their doctrine and/or theology. Honestly, in my estimation, all your letter has served to do is wound a lot of sincere Jesus-loving people doing kingdom work. This is really nothing short of a digital stoning. I will be praying for you.”
I include this comment here because, two weeks later, it’s still awaiting moderation. (My other comments–to my shame–you can see on the Crosstalk blog). I stated my concern, and expected–reasonably, I think–to be addressed in an adult fashion. When this didn’t happen, I went into full-on snark mode. Again, to my shame.
I wish I’d taken a play from Jeff’s book (as he did at Crosstalk), and graciously, lovingly engaged my “critics.” (And they weren’t even-technically–my critics, but Jeff’s, and AIM’s). But no, I became the “little lion man” again. I lashed out. And it galls me to admit, congratulated myself for my clever “wit.”
I was mad, and in my anger sunk to the level of what (I think) is nothing more than a pharisaical dogpile (I wanted to say “circle-jerk, but that’s unkind). In my anger, I believe I sinned. Let this then serve as my open apology: ladies–Claris, Ingrid–and Mr. Dry Bones, I’m sorry. I see that you have a heart for doctrinal purity, and I respect that. I also, in this case, respectfully disagree.
Hereinafter, I want to live by the words of St. Augustine, who said, “In the essentials, unity. In the non-essentials, liberty. In all else, charity.” In this case, I sinned by not acting in charity (love), and I’m sorry. Please forgive me.
Like the titular character in Mumford’s song, I really “effed it up this time.” Have you ever done the same in trying to do (what you thought at the time) was right? Let’s hear you in the comments.