RHE and the Failure Or Refusal to Listen to Critics

Dear Evangelicals,

Part of the reason your sound is so roundly cursed in some circles is because of the following.

A failure or a refusal to listen.

When we reject their accusations out-of-hand without an honest conversation about if we got our viewpoints wrong.

Granted, I have heard much of Rachel Held Evans with which I vehemently disagree. That said, it is damned near impossible to utilize the death of someone to tastefully show where you think they were off or heretical. I think we might want to rethink how we approach our theological adversaries.

Many times, we tear at other Christians, and at the worst times. We refer to them as heretics, monsters, abusers, and all other sorts of things.

We did it with Matthew Warren’s family.

And others. And Father gives us the opportunity to redeem our time and days, so that we can walk well in the “days [that] are evil.”

So, evangelical church that I have left, who often speaks as though your reputation will be marred if you are not quick to share where you disagree with a major theological figure who dies, I would exhort you to demonstrate a quickness to listen, and a slowness to speak.

You do not need to demonstrate a tasteless knee-jerk response to justify your theological position in the MIDST OF AN OBITUARY.

Indeed, when we use our authority in Christ to speak insensitively about others and parts of our tributes breathe the air of criticism so close to the death of someone for whom Christ died and with whom we so greatly disagree, it can land as though we are rejoicing over their death, or potentially taking pleasure in their death, which is not the example of our L-rd, who “takes no pleasure in the death of the ungodly.” Regardless of your evaluation of a person’s life, it comes across as opportunistic to use the occasion of a person’s death in order to get mileage for your position.

A few years back, a relative of mine died who walked with a considerable double lifestyle, and I did not use the occasion of their death to bring that iniquity to light.

In light of Evans’ untimely death, evangelical leaders should not use the funeral meats to coldly furnish the dispute tables.

The body is not even in the ground and we are rushing to protect our reputation, as if it is not clear where we stand theologically.

I had a relative who was sexually molested by a pastor, and instead of protecting the victim, they fired my relative. Their argument? They wanted to protect their reputation.

Our stewardship of words would be better placed in articulating that someone is dead, and then at a later date, say where we disagreed with them.

Never pass up an opportunity to walk in discretion towards another with whom you disagree.

When we use our sound to repeatedly trumpet our disagreements with someone and the context is not appropriate, we may not be practicing the best stewardship, and may open up the door for the further devouring of our sound.

Fifth head of Leviathan, gang.

#letthereaderunderstand

WHAT?!?!?!? A/K/A The G-d Who Gives Us Real Choices…And a Bit O' Daigle

and said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die.”

Exodus 20:19 (ESV)

Question:  What is worse than not being able to hear G-d?
Answer:  Being able to hear G-d clearly and rejecting what He has to say.
You will read this a hundered different times in the average evanglical Sunday School classroom, and still it is possible to miss G-d’s heart for His people.
G-d clearly spoke, and the people of Israel clearly heard His voice.  The problem here is that they did not want to hear His voice anymore.
The commands could have been too harsh-sounding to them, they could have imposed to much on the independent spirit of this Giver nation that liked to be in control, or they could have just thought, great, another master, and we have just gotten over our PTSD.
Whatever the issue, they basically told G-d to stop speaking to them.
And that is heartbreaking.
It is heartbreaking for the Father of Lights, to have created His people, and for His people to say, “we do not want this thing called relationship with You.  Moses, the Exhorter, is much more user-friendly and approachable.   He is easier to grumble against (Ex 15:24, 16:2, 17:3). We will speak with him.”
But the moment they stop wanting to hear the L-rd’s voice, out of a religious spirit, which is part of the Giver DNA, then trouble begins to happen, and it culminates for this same people in Numbers 13, where they reject the command of G-d to enter the Promised Land.
And my question for us today is, “have you rejected hearing His voice recently?”
In keeping with the spirit of Chanukah, have you rejected the deep voice of G-d?  Have you chosen the shallow, partial, incomplete, and familiar voice of what you think is the fullness of His voice instead of hunting for the complete fullness is?  You spirit knows when you have rejected that voice in some season or matter.
If so, I am being G-d’s prophet and exhorting you to repent, renounce your covenant with the Spirit of Deafness, and with Darkness, and come back into the light so you can do business with G-d.  Not with religion, not with denomination.  Your Father.  He has things He wants to speak to you.  Some of those things are fun.  Some of those things are joyous.  And some of those things are hard and sobering.
But He does want to speak to you, dearly beloved.
And now, I have some repenting to do…
The alternative is the Canaanite Iron Bowl, a structure that enforces your inability to hear G-d in not only the areas where you have rejected Him, but also in the areas where you want to hear Him.
Some of y’all have flat rejected His counsel concerning relationships.  He has given some of y’all free will when it comes to a relationship and has told some of y’all, “You will be blessed if you move into this relationship, but I am not forcing you into this relationship.  You are not required to have this relationship.  But if you want it, I a completely fine with it.”
Some of y’all are so gung-ho about “obeying G-d” and wanting to know “the will of G-d”, that you cannot fathom the idea of G-d treating you like a son and giving you free will in a matter.
And you need to get used to the fact of not only being able to hear and accept the command of G-d, but also the times when G-d gives you a choice that he will bless, either way you go.
Some of you need to quit assuming that G-d’s a binary “yes and no” machine only, and need to get into, nay, dive into, and dig into, the G-d Who Gives Us Real Choices.
Discern when G-d has something clear to say for you to obey, versus when G-d has a choice for you to make and really is okay with the choice you make.
 
AND WHILE WE ARE AT IT…ESCAPING THE SNAKES DEN
And while I am at it, let me jump on the concept of Lauren Daigle briefly, and remind the church of something.
It was not a failure on her part, what she said about homosexuality being a sin.
Here is what it was, gang.
She was avoiding the trap of a snakes’ den.
Oh, I am sorry that offends some of y’all.
Unfortunately, some followers of Christ are so rabid for every public figure to denounce this or that sin, that our idolatry when it comes to holding one sin above all others for examination has kept us from the place of “being wise as a serpent”.
Daigle did just that.
Some of the church needs to get a freaking grip.
Some times, we need to recognize when the culture is setting us up for a trap, and ignore the trap.
Sometimes, we need to avoid some conversations, because there is bait involved.
The church in some places, has royally sucked at not taking the bait.
And it is our job to learn which unfruitful conversations to avoid.
Let me close with my paraphase of some of Paul’s final words to Timothy.
Avoid idiotic arguments that lead to more jackassery.Screen Shot 2018-12-05 at 5.55.53 AM
Gang, enough of our putting pearls out there before swine.
And good on Daigle for following Paul’s advice letter-perfect, and for increasing in Matthew 10:16 authority.
More of us would do well to emulate that principle.
Instead of wasting our time making rushing to worship at the altar of denouncing every sin.
Go right ahead if that (stoning believers without pondering their motives) is how you want to spend your time on earth.
But that will not build a lasting ministry in this Mercy season.

ἄφες τοὺς νεκροὺς θάψαι τοὺς ἑαυτῶν νεκρούς.

For those that cannot read the above text, here is some help.

νεκροὺς (necrous) means “dead” and θάψαι (thapsai) means “I bury”.

Sometimes we need to quit arranging funerals.  We are living, gang.  And some wish to go on acting like they are dead.