Hi! I know you came here for humorous send-up in tribute to a fellow blogger. Believe me: there are plenty of folks out there to “hate.” (And their time is indeed coming).
That said, today I’d like to get some things off my chest. What I mean is: today I’ll be sharing some things I really hate. For reals–no joke. These are things that piss me off.
(Forgive me if I sound curmudgeonly, but I’m entitled; I’m 42). 😉
I hate that there seems to be an epidemic of just plain not listening in the church. What I mean is that there are great masses of folks who are far more interested in converting others to their points of view than they are in expressing Christian love.
We all do it, right? Assume that we’re right, and brother–or sister–so-and-so is just out to lunch for not seeing things our way.
Let me give you a personal example:
I was once in an accountability group. We were a group of four men in close confederation, sharing the deep things of our hearts, sharing our struggles, and victories. One time, I expressed the opinion that the Earth could be old–rather than young. Note what I didn’t say: that I believed in evolution. (Think “Gap Theory” here). These treasured brothers proceeded to call my orthodoxy oito question. Apparently, my conviction was on the wrong side of a line in the sand I didn’t know had been drawn. I didn’t realize that the age of the Earth had become a litmus test for a biblical faith.
My friends put me in the hot seat over this. They weren’t interested in hearing what I had to say, why I had come to my conviction. They were more interested in me accepting their POV.
When that didn’t happen…
The group dissolved. None of the relationships were ever the same again.
And I learned not to share my convictions.
More recently, I was again called on the carpet by some friends–very well-meaning friends–about my love of all things Potter. And again, I don’t think they were really interested in hearing me out–but rather in telling me why Harry Potter is “teh evils,” and that J.K. Rowling is nothing but a nasty witchy witch. I listened patiently, respectfully, but couldn’t seem to make them understand that I read for the themes, the symbolism, the archetypes. I really do see parallels to the Gospel story, and know the difference between fantasy and reality. And, no, I don’t think reading about magic is the same as practicing magic (which is forbidden).
Ok, pop quiz folks: did, or did not, Charles Dickens have Ebeneezer Scrooge consort with spirits? Yet nobody seems to have a problem with A Christmas Carol. We all seem to get that it’s about learning to love before it’s too late.
Likewise, shocking–I know, but true–Harry Potter blesses me. Yet, well-meaning folks can’t seem to leave well enough alone. I’ve got to see it their way.
These are but two examples from my life; I’ll bet there are many, many from yours.
You know what I really hate at such times as this is the Scriptural cherry-picking that goes on. For instance, Deuteronomy gets trotted out (“thou shalt not suffer a witch to live”), but Romans 14-15 (and 1 Corinthians 8-10) gets ignored. Which I think is much more germane. Paul talks about meat sacrificed to idols, Christian liberty, and love. I get that people have a hang-up about Harry, and accordingly I don’t go out of my way to share my convictions (I wrote of this last week). I learned my lesson from the failed accountability group. But I expect to be afforded the same respect.
All that said, I hate that I do it, too: I cherry-pick–I proof text–because I have a point of view I want to convey. Like pretty much everyone else, I assume I’m right, and that you’re a blockhead for not seeing it my way.
I hate how this post makes me sound like the victim, and how contemptuous–how judgmental I am–of my friends’ points of view. Because they don’t agree with me! I need to afford them the respect they deserve as children of God, and offer the same charity I desire.
It’s like this: “In the essentials, unity. I the non-essentials, liberty. In all else, charity.” (St. Augustine, I believe).
That said, I think at this point in my life, (as Donald Miller recently tweeted) I would rather be rejected for who I am, than accepted for the image I project.
Which is to say: I’m an old earth creationist, a Harry Potter lover–and a devoted follower of Jesus Christ. Take me or leave me. It’s up to you.
What do you think? Have you ever felt the sting of rejection for sharing your convictions? What did you do about it? Do you hate me now?