Jesus had a wife?
According to a recently released scrap of ancient papyrus, some think that might be more of a possibility than ever.
But before we go moving The Da Vinci Code to the non-fiction section of the library, I thought it would be worth taking a moment to step back from any ensuing Jesus wife madness and call attention to a few important details about this issue.
To begin, the papyrus scrap in question dates (probably, its precise date has not been confirmed) to the 4th century. For the sake of the argument let’s assume that dating is correct. Personally, I’m sure it probably is. A scholar like Dr. King wouldn’t come forward with evidence like this if she wasn’t fairly confident about her dating of the piece.
However, if the dating is correct, that places the writing of the papyrus some 300 years after Jesus was alive.
That’s a long time, meaning not only was it written by someone who didn’t know Jesus, but they also couldn’t possibly have known anyone who did know Jesus or even anyone who knew someone who knew someone who knew someone who knew someone who had known Jesus.
This issue of authority was important in the collecting of what came to be known as the New Testament.
Were there other “gospels” and Christian writings being produced in the first couple of centuries after Jesus? Absolutely, but texts like the Gospel of Thomas weren’t excluded because of some paranoid, power hungry conspiracy on the part of the church. They were excluded for a number of reasons including theology, authorship, and use in the early church. In the case of the Gospel of Thomas it was excluded because it had gnostic undertones and offered no account of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection.
Additionally, and this is a really key point, the apostolic authority of such documents was of crucial importance for the early church. It wasn’t simply what was being said, but whether or not those words, ideas, and the information in them could be directly connected, and therefore confirmed, to one of the apostles or their students. It wasn’t the words or ideas that were authoritative, so much as who said them. In other words, the fact that the apostles (or Jesus) uttered the words made them authoritative.
This testing of apostolic authenticity took place in the first century or so after Jesus because the actual witnesses or at least their students, family, and friends were still alive to confirm the various accounts and teaching. And by the end of the 2nd century we had definitive (but not affirmed by a formal church council) lists from early church fathers of the writings that now comprise the New Testament
Now, that was definitely a trickier process than it might sound, but it does mean that the texts which were eventually cast aside were cast aside because those who were “in the know” didn’t think those cast aside texts accurately reflected what they knew to be true (though some texts, such as 1 Clement, were in wide use because they did contain “true” teachings, but lacked apostolic authority).
All that to say, the reason this newly discovered papyrus is so rare is, in large part, because the information it contains wasn’t considered to be true by the people who were in a much better position than we are today to know whether or not they are true.
Now, before you go thinking there was some Da Vinci Code conspiracy to cover up Jesus’ supposed marriage in a effort to maintain some sort of theological or ecclesiastical position, let me bring up another critical point.
The apostle Paul was single and he wasn’t a big fan of marriage.
In 1 Corinthians 7:8-9 he says it’s better to stay unmarried, but if a person was burning with passion (not a positive thing), then they could get married so that they didn’t fall into sin.
Maybe Paul was just mad because he didn’t have a lady friend and wanted others to “suffer” with him. More likely, however, Paul was single because his Lord was single and above all Paul (like all the early church saints) tried to live a life as closely resembling Jesus’ life as possible.
Not the sort of etherial, metaphysical way we talk about “living like Jesus” today by which most of us just mean “be a nice person.”
When the first followers said they wanted to be like Jesus, they meant trying to literally live like he did….and die like he did.
But, just for the sake of argument, let’s assume Paul’s decision to not get married was his own. Even if that was the case he would never have spoken negatively, even in the slightest way, about marriage if the one he called Lord had been married. Rather, he would have been quite emphatic about the fact that everyone should be married because it would have been yet another way to be more like Jesus.
Paul’s idea that it would be better for the follower of Jesus to stay unmarried should speak volumes about whether or not Jesus was married.
Likewise, any suggestion about Jesus possibly having a wife also has to get around, what is for me, the insurmountable problem of the Gospels.
Simply put, there is not mention of Jesus having a wife.
The gospels became the gospels of the Bible because they were considered the most authortitative and accurate accounts of Jesus’ life. If they were missing a big detail like Jesus’ marriage, those who knew him or those know knew those who knew him would have said something and, chances are, we would have 4 different gospels.
But we don’t.
We don’t because Jesus’ life was the rule of faith for the early church. Everything he did was normative for them. If he had been married, that too would have been normative and would have been mentioned in the gospels.
But, let’s just say for the sake of the discussion that Jesus was married.
What implications would that have for the Christian faith?
The answer, (if you’re not a priest) not many.
Jesus didn’t condemn marriage, so it wouldn’t be hypocritical.
Marriage and the sex that comes with it isn’t a sin, so Jesus’ “perfect lamb” status wouldn’t be affected.
If anything, Jesus’ marriage would have been a wonderful example of what a healthy and holy marriage should look like. It would have shown us what it means to be the perfect spouse (and maybe even the perfect parent).
But the example isn’t there.
There is no credible evidence or reasonable argument based on the evidence we have that Jesus was married and a piece of papyrus written 300+ years after the fact doesn’t change that.
But even if he was, it wouldn’t change a thing.
Grace and peace,
Any fan of Harry Potter will tell you that magic spells are awesome.
Say the right words the right way and your wishes will literally come true. It’s all the fun of having a genie without the need of a magic lamp.
Apparently, Joel Osteen is a big fan of magic spells.
In his new book I Declare, Osteen, that great bastion of theological insight, offers “31 promises to speak over your life.” (See the article below)
While, to be fair, I have not read the book (nor will I), his premise is the literary incarnation of every sermon I have heard him preach and both of them sound a lot like an Intro to Magic Spells class Harry would have taken at Hogwarts (That combined with his usual nonsense about the problems and challenges in your life being the result of a bad attitude. Hear that Holocaust survivors? If your attitude had been a little better you probably wouldn’t have had so many problems with that Hitler fellow).
Why do I say Osteen’s “promises” are spells in self-help clothing?
Because in Osteen’s mind we have the power to force the universe, and by extension God, to conform to our will if we utter the right combination of words, or as he calls them “promises”.
That’s not prayer, nor is it a noble act of faith.
It’s hocus pocus.
Did Jesus talk about having enough faith to speak to a mountain to move and it would? Absolutely, but reading that passage as a formulation for theological spell casting demonstrates the fact that Osteen’s literary interpretation skills are on par with a kindergartener, i.e. the word “metaphor” is not in pastor smiley’s vocabulary.
Should we have faith that God can do great things in and through our lives?
But there is a HUGE difference between praying and casting magic spells “over your life.”
Prayer demonstrates a dependence on God and a willingness to accept the fact that we are not in control. Prayer also acknowledges that, like Job, even though we may posses great faith we cannot force or even compel God to act. We can only hope and trust in God’s promises to be with us as we walk through the valley of the shadow of death.
Magic spells demonstrate God’s irrelevance in our lives. Sure we may invoke “god” in our incantations, but the notion that one can “speak promises over your life” and that those words of our own choosing are necessarily bound to come to fruition, that mentality harkens all the way back to the garden when Adam and Eve thought they could eat a magic apple and be magically transformed into God.
It didn’t happen for them and Osteen’s magic spells won’t work for him (or you) either.
I know I’m speaking to a brick wall here, by Osteen and his disciples need to come to terms with the fact that being a disciple of Jesus doesn’t give you magical powers to bend the universe to your will.
It’s a hazardous path that leads to death.
There is certainly a light at the end of the tunnel, but just like Jesus, we’re problably going to have to go through hell before we get to heaven.
Ok, enough already. That’s my Osteen rant for the day.
Here’s the article about the book in question.
Make sure you read it for yourself because Osteen’s publishers are suckers who gave away a few magic spells in the preview (they’re at the end of the article, so you’ll have to click on the link).
That’s right, free magic spells today only at The American Jesus.
You’re welcome America.
By Billy Hallowell, The Blaze
On Tuesday, televangelist Joel Osteen will be releasing “I Declare: 31 Promises to Speak Over Your Life,” his new book aimed at helping readers delve into the Christian scriptures to find purpose and meaning.
The hardcover aims to explore God’s blessings in the areas of family, personal health, finances, overall individualistic outlook and overcoming obstacles — all important areas that impact individuals’ lives. This morning, TheBlaze has an exclusive look at the book before it hits shelves.
“I Declare” is broken into 31 segments, as Osteen uses the structure to encourage readers to focus upon one theme each day over the course of a month. Throughout the book, the faith leader, who serves as the senior pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, works to inspire readers to examine their lives in an effort to attain self-improvement and a deeper relationship with God.
Individuals are encouraged to make specific declarations surrounding their personal lives and faiths. These proclamations are intended to help people progress in their personal journeys.
“I declare it is not too late to accomplish everything God has placed in my heart. I have not missed my window of opportunity. God has moments of favor in my future,“ the introduction to ”Day Four” reads. “He is preparing me right now because He is about to release a special grace to help me accomplish that dream. This is my time. This is my moment. I receive it today! This is my declaration.”
The chapter goes on encourage readers to abandon the excuses they may be giving for not accomplishing their dreams. Instead of avoidance, Osteen encourages people to push forward and to challenge themselves to succeed, regardless of the obstacles…
This semester I’m taking a class in the theology of the early church.
I love it.
The professor’s great and we spend most of our time reading the writings of the early church fathers. Reading people like Clement, Polycarp, Irenaeus, and Justin Martyr gives you a fascinating, or at least fascinating to me, look at what the rest of the early church (by which I mean everything not mentioned in the New Testament) was thinking about and dealing with.
When reading these great works, one thing becomes very clear, very quickly.
For the early church fathers (and mothers), the Christian faith was not something to be taken lightly.
For everyone deciding to follow Jesus at the dawn of the church, doing so was a dangerous, life threatening decision. For many, but not all, their decision to “take up their cross” meant, like the Jesus they were claiming to emulate, it would cost them their lives.
Countless Christians were drug to their death at the hands of lions, fire, and gladiators in the arena.
Today, countless Christians are drug off to yet another conference, concert, or fellowship opportunity.
There’s nothing wrong with those things. They can be really enriching moments, but for too many of us, these sorts of things exhaust what it means for us to be a disciples of Jesus, which is why I like Ed Cyzewski and Derek Cooper’s new book Hazardous so much.
While so many books that line the shelves of Christian bookstores today are full of reciepes for how to improve our lives, Ed and Derek are bold enough to remind us that if anything, becoming a Christian will, or at least should, make your life that much more difficult.
That is, if it’s a Christianity molded after the life of Jesus of Nazareth.
Following in the path blazed by my great theological hero, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Hazardous once again reminds us as a church that the grace we have been given is not cheap. It cost Jesus everything to give it us and “what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us.”
Grounding their argument deeply in scripture in every chapter, Hazardous makes it clear to discipleship goes way beyond regular church attendence. It reaches into ever corner of our lives, from how we treat our families, to how we conduct ourselves in public, and everything in between.
Ed and Derek, though, don’t simply critique the state of the church. They offer their readers a pragmatic paradigm for how to escape what they call a “safe faith”. It’s a paradigm that takes the extra step of engaging the reader with questions and challenges at the end of each chapter, designed to help the reader take what their reading and immediately put it into practice.
I like that at lot, but what really stood out to me in this book, and which I think sums up what their saying brilliantly is a recollection Ed had about a moment he had while he and his wife made some pretty dramatic and potentially hazardous changes in their life in order to follow the call they sensed God had placed upon them.
One night while in prayer, Ed said he felt God speak to him. God asked him a question that night which I think, not only sums up the message of Hazardous, it also perfectly sums up the heart of the Christian faith.
As Ed recalls, God asked him point blank, “Do you want Me, or do you just want Me to solve your problems?”
What a beautifully haunting question for all of us.
Make no mistake, if you choose to read this book, you’re probably in for a guy check, but it’s a gut check all of us need if we’re going to be serious about being disciples of Jesus.
Grace and peace,
Ok, technically I’m the only one actually calling it the Jesus monkey, but after reading this post from The Amish Jihadist, I’m convinced that Tripp’s words were more prophetic than he knew.
Read this post I featured last week about the botched restoration of a fresco of Jesus in Spain. (the image on the left below)
You can’t make this stuff up.
By Harry Hawkins, The Sun
The creature known as the lesula is the spitting image of a failed restoration Elias Garcia Martinez’s Ecce Homo.
The animals were found in the Democratic Republic of Congo after one was found in captivity at the home of a schoolteacher.
Experts say the young animal resembled an owl-faced monkey but its colouring is different to any other species.
More of the monkeys, also known as Cercopithecus lomamiensis, have been discovered living in the forests of central Democratic Republic of Congo living off of fruit and flower buds.
It is only the second time a new species of monkey has been found in Africa in the last 28 years.
But despite the new find, researchers warn the monkeys could face extinction – as hunters roam the area in search of bush meat.
From time to time we hear complaints about small businesses using Christian imagery or Bible verses.
Some people complain because they feel like the owner’s faith is being shoved in their face. Other’s complain that the company is using religion to manipulate the faithful into buying what they’re selling.
Can’t say, though, that I’ve ever heard of a non-faith-based company using Christian imagery to sell their business before.
It should be interesting to see the response.
In the meantime, how about you?
If you’re a Christian, do you find Legal Seafood’s ad campaign offensive? Amusing? Unnecessary? Creative? Ill-advised? All of the above?
By Jenn Abelson, Boston.com
Gay cowboys, dead grandpas — and even Jesus — are among the targets of Legal Sea Foods latest advertising campaign.
The Boston chain, which has a reputation for fresh seafood and edgy marketing, is now likening the restaurant to a religious experience, complete with its own “Jesus fish” that features the word “Legal” written in the space created by the two intersecting arcs.
Legal Sea Foods’ version of the popular Christian symbol is already emblazoned on the top of cabs around Boston and in print publications.
Roger Berkowitz, the company’s chief executive, said the ad is not intended to make a religious statement. “I’m not really trying to offend anybody,” he said.
The campaign, created by New York ad agency DeVito/Verdi, is not the first one from Legal Sea Foods to push boundaries. A few years ago, the chain roiled the waters with its $150,000 marketing blitz that took aim at MBTA workers with lines like, “This conductor has a face like a halibut” and, “This trolley gets around more than your sister.”
Here’s a post “from the vault”. Those of you who have been around for a while will probably recognize it, but as we’ve had several new friends join us over the past year I thought it would be worthwhile to, once again, share a few thoughts on the tragedy of September 11th, 2001.
I still remember where I was.
I’m sure you do too.
For me, it was 8:03am CDT on September 11, 2001, the second plane had just hit the south tower and I was asleep.
It was a Tuesday morning and usually I would have been up at 7:20am in order to roll out of bed and drag myself across the parking lot of my college dorm in order to make it to my 7:30am Biblical Exegesis class. That class was even less exciting that it sounds. So, you can imagine my joy when I found out the week before that class would be cancelled that day and I would be able to sleep in.
Of course, I didn’t get to sleep in.
A little after 8:15am one of my suitemates came knocking on my door. Having stayed up late the night before in anticipation of being able to sleep in that morning I was lost in dreamland. After several minutes of him pounding on my door I finally decided that the only way to get back to sleep was for me to perpetrate an act of violence on my suitemate in order to render him incapable of continuing to knock on my door.
As I opened the door with clinched fist ready to swing he said “You should come see this.” For some reason I thought he was talking about a video game. Being a college student I deemed this video game update a pardonable offense, unclenched my fist, and followed him into the middle room where we kept our pride and joy: a late 80’s big screen TV covered on every side in a faux wood finish.
To my surprise nobody was playing a video game. Instead, the news was on. Being that we were all college students and thus had bigger priorities in life like pizza, video games, and girls I thought it was really strange that anybody would be watching the news, especially this early in the morning.
As I stood behind the tattered old recliner that sat in front of the TV my eyes slowly adjusted to the fuzzy image on the old screen. A building was on fire. At first I didn’t think much of it. Buildings catch on fire all the time. Why in the world did he wake me up for this? So, I turned around and headed back to bed. My suitemate stopped me and said “Wait, I think you need to see this.” “Fine,” I said, and turned back around to stare once again at the TV. The image on the screen was as fuzzy as ever, but the reality of what was happening was beginning to become a lot clearer.
I recognized the building that was on fire. It was the World Trade Center. That was odd. Then I saw that both of the towers were on fire. That was really odd. At that point I finally began to realize that this might be something serious. So, I turned to my roommate and said “We should probably go down to the lobby and see what’s going on.”
When we got down there a small crowd of guys from the dorm had already begun to gather. Normally the lobby was a pretty loud place, what with the TV blaring and guys arguing over really important things like whether or not golf was a sport. That morning the room was silent.
We all stared at the screen in confusion and silence, not sure what to make of what we were watching.
Then it happened.
The south tower fell.
The silence was finally broken.
“Oh my God.”
Normally when guys see fire, big explosion, and buildings being demolished they cheer. That day we cried. All of us.
I don’t remember leaving the lobby, but somehow I found my way to my next class. The classroom was as silent as the dorm lobby had been. My normally stoic professor tried to say a few words, but all he could do was cry and mumble the same thing over and over again, “I don’t understand.”
It’s now ten years later and I still cry whenever I think about the horror that defined that day. Just ask my wife. I can barely make it through any of the TV specials on 9/11 without tears beginning to well up. Tears and anger.
By that evening ten years ago, when we finally understood that our country had been attacked by terrorists, our tears had turned to anger. Those of us who had spent much of the day crying were now ready to bomb the terrorists back into the Stone Age. They terrorized us, now it was time for us to terrorize them.
Eleven years later many of us still want to bomb the bastards back to the Stone Age. If I’m honest, I’m one of those people.
And that’s what shames me the most. I’m an ordained elder in my church. I’m not supposed to feel that way.
Yet, as painful as it is to rewatch the horror of that day, once the tears dry I still quickly find myself full of rage, justifying the total annihilation of people I’ve never met. I want them to suffer they way those people in those buildings suffered.
But then I begin to do something even worse than justifying my bloodlust.
I begin trying to convince myself that my bloodlust is actually God’s bloodlust. My wrath is God’s wrath. God doesn’t want innocent people to suffer or evil to escape justice and neither do I. Therefore, my revenge is simply God’s vengeance. I am God’s holy warrior.
Now, this is probably the point at which you are expecting a twist in the story. When I turn things around and testify about seeing the light, loving my enemies, and relinquishing my anger.
That twist isn’t coming.
I wish it was. I wish that I could be a pacifist. I wish that I could love and forgive my enemies with the same grace and compassion God has shown a wretch like me.
But I struggle.
I struggle, if I’m really honest, because I want to believe that “I’m not as bad as they are.” So, I try to convince myself that life is divided up into good guys and bad guys. Everybody on my side is a good guy and everybody on the other side is a bad guy. Good guys are pure and holy. Bad guys are altogether evil. As long as I don’t make an effort to get to know anyone on “the other side,” then I can live my life in black and white, no shades of grey, clear and uncomplicated.
But my struggle is just beginning.
As a pastor I read the Bible a lot. Doing so I seem to always come across these passages like “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matt 5:44) “If someone takes your tunic from you, give to him your cloak also.” (Matt 5:40) “Bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse them.” (Romans 12:14)
On one hand I think I can handle these passages. I’ll “love” my enemies as long as they stay away and don’t come anywhere near me.
Then Paul has to go on and say: “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32) And, of course, Jesus has take things a step further: “But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
You see, the problem with these commands is that they require action on my part. I can’t passively forgive or passively be kind and compassionate to someone. I have to actively do those things. That’s not easy.
But my struggle continues.
I want to follow these commands to love and forgive, but I’m also not at a place where I can stand by and watch innocent people suffer. I want to “seek justice, [and] defend the oppressed.” (Isaiah 1:17)
Cliché though it may be, how am I supposed to respond in the face of horrific violence, whether that be the Holocaust, genocide in Sudan, or someone breaking into my house and assaulting my wife? Do I stand idling by while others are attacked or oppressed? That doesn’t seem right. Absolutely, diplomacy in whatever form should be an option, but what happens when that fails? To be honest, I don’t know the answer.
So I struggle.
I’m torn between the Christ-like person I yearn to be and wanting to participate in the very same violence I condemn. I know well the words of Paul, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do…. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.” (Romans 7:14, 18)
Ten years after the towers fell, I want to believe that I’ve come closer to a place where I can forgive the people who carried out that horrific attack. I want to believe that some good has come out of that awful day and that I am a more compassionate, grace filled person. But every time I encounter my “enemies,” whoever they may be, hate still rears its ugly face. My first reaction isn’t compassion or forgiveness. Those things usually don’t come until after I’ve said or done something I later regret and after I’ve calmed down long enough to hear the Spirit speak, “love your enemies, bless and do not curse them.”
I wish there was a magic prayer I could say or altar I could kneel at to wipe all the hate from my heart in an instant, but hate is a long festering malignancy. It will take time, intentionality, and the grace of God for me to be rid of it. But I think that day will eventually come when He will wipe all our hate and every tear from our eyes and there will be no more violence or death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of war, oppression, injustice, and revenge will pass away.
So, as I once again watch the 9/11 memorials on TV and listen from my pew as my pastor talks about forgiveness, I will cry once more for all the people that were lost on that day and in the decade since. But this time, I hope the first emotions I feel when I remember the towers falling are not a sense of wrath or jubilation that we finally killed the man behind the attacks. Rather, I pray that God will ease my struggle with hate and grant me the grace to “act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with our God.”
I hope God does the same for you.
Grace and peace,
This morning as I was scrolling through my Facebook news feed I noticed the question of the day from Relevant magazine.
It was simple enough: “What’s your least favorite movie?”
As a big movie fan I curiously clicked on the comments to see what people were saying.
Not surprisingly I was shocked by a few of the responses, but once I got over that initial moment of dumbfoundment (I’m making up my own words today) I decided to click on “load more comments” (I was reading the thread on my phone) to see what other movies people hated that I loved or how many hated movies there were that I too loathed.
What I began to notice pretty quickly was that regardless of the film, there’s someone out there in the world who will absolutely hate it.
As I scrolled through the list of responses there were a few usual suspects (no pun intended, but a great film), i.e. anything with Vin Diesel (although I suspect those people forgot that he was in Saving Private Ryan). But what really stood out to me was the sheer diversity of films on the list and it quickly occurred to me that everybody hates everything.
Ok, maybe not literally.
Obviously, all of us have movies that we love.
But whether it was an Oscar winner or a box office flop there’s someone out there convinced it was a terrible movie.
The same is true in almost every corner of our lives.
As the political conventions of the last couple of weeks have made abundantly clear, it doesn’t matter how right you think you are about an issue, there will always be somebody out there who disagrees and hates you for it.
The same is true for sports, music, art, and, of course, the church.
There is probably no arena in which we get more passionate about the things we love and hate than religion. (Although, for some, sports might be a close second)nThere your opinion isn’t an issue of taste, it’s a matter of eternal consequence.
Or at least so we think.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to avoid this battle royale. No matter how kind, compassionate, generous, or noble you might be someone somewhere will hate you for what you believe and they’ll be sure to let you know about it.
After all, they hated Jesus. Hated him so much they had him crucified. If they hated Jesus, you and I don’t stand a chance at avoiding the critics.
Trying to do so is just a waste of time. No matter how much you work to avoid them, you eventually have to cross a bridge in your journey where inevitably a troll will pop out to scare you.
In our ever increasingly small world where social media and the internet all but force us into continual engagement with friends, family, and perfect strangers I think the challenge we face is not how to avoid those who hate us and the things we believe, but how to respond to their criticism.
Some of them will be strangers, others will be friends, but how we responded to our critics speaks a lot to how well we are incarnating Jesus to the world.
We could certainly lash out irrationally with a profanity laced tired of righteous condemnation and believe me, there are plenty of times where I would love to do that. But being a disciple of Christ is something we are going to take seriously, then that’s probably not a viable option.
That’s not to say that the alternative is for us to simply “lay down and take it.”
Far from it.
Rather, I think we have to learn how to better filter criticism. We have to learn how to distinguish between the sort of helpful criticism that enables us to see a side of things we may have missed and the unhelpful criticism that was never intended to do anything more than tear us down.
Tragically, there doesn’t seem to be space for multiple sides of an issue. Instead, we only have the “good guys” and the “bad guy” and of course, we’re always the good guys. Which means, no matter how gracious, level headed, or even “right” you may be, those who think themselves your opponents, will never be able to see you (and your ideas) as nothing more than an enemy to be vanquished.
So how do we deal with such irrational opposition and criticism?
We pray for the grace to see our critics as people who, like us, are created in the image of God. We pray this way so that we can find the strength to treat them better than they treat us, even if that love never sees any reciprocity.
We debate vigorously, but speak peacefully to those who spew rhetorical violence, knowing that more often than not we are not their real target.
We learn to recognize the irrational vitriol of those who care nothing about us and want only to use us as platform to further their agenda. We recognize it and ignore it.
And when all else fails and we’ve reached the end of our rope, we follow the advice of Jesus, shake the dust off our feet, and walk away.
It may have been that we were actually the ones in the wrong, but if civil discourse cannot be had, there is no point in staying around to chat.
These things are certainly a lot easier said then done.
I’m still trying to learn how to do them myself.
But if we are going to have the strength to answer the call of Jesus to incarnate the gospel to the world, we can’t afford to waste our energy fighting battles that can never be won.
Grace and peace,
Maybe it’s just me, but I think this video is pretty hilarious.
But even if you’ve never been in ministry before, I think we’ve all found ourselves sitting in the pew at church wondering if the pastor was being completely, um, forthright about his or her thoughts and feelings.
Whether it’s in the pulpit or in everyday conversation, more often than not being politically correct wins out over sharing what we really think.
So, kudos to these guys for pulling back the curtain a bit and having a sense of humor about themselves.