This summer, as I plan for the fall and spend time with family, I’m re-posting some of the more popular blog posts from the first half of the year. I’ve been blown away by the response as new readers find the blog and long-term friends revisit the conversation. Please read, enjoy, and share widely.
Your mouth is a big problem. So is mine.
One of the more difficult disciplines humans have to master is practicing the wisdom of Ecclesiastes. We are taught, “there is…a time to keep silence, and a time to speak (2:7b).” We can all attest to moments when we should have done one, but instead choose the other to our own detriment.
Over the last few days, many people have spoken publicly about a tweet sent out by John Piper. A week before that, Pat Robertson sounded off about infidelity and a week before that, Mark Driscoll had some interesting thoughts on driving an SUV. Each set the Christian blogosphere and cable news.
I’m not concerned with Piper, Robertson, or Driscoll’s words here, but rather the question of why so many responded to them publicly. For many people, highlighting Piper’s quickly deleted quotation from Job, and Robertson’s and Driscoll’s words, was unnecessary and divisive. It gave them more publicity, which accentuated the negative.
Likewise, many believe that whenever a publicly known celebrity pastor or Christian group, like Westboro Baptists, spouts unhelpful words, we should ignore it. Rather we do better to focus on our own theology and the good so many Christians are faithfully saying and doing around the world.
I get that. I understand the impulse to disregard, to sweep it under the rug, and let the our brighter lights shine. There is a place for that. My difficulty with this approach, though, is that in doing so allows the most dangerous, hurtful, and damaging words and ideas to implant themselves as the norms for Christianity. My desire here is not to convince anyone to take a particular approach to dealing with these upheavals, but to articulate some of the reasoning why those who publicly voice their concerns feel compelled to do so.