Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Inflammatory

My wife and I traveled to New York to West Point for the plebe-parent weekend this last Thursday to Monday. While we were on the grounds of the U. S. Military Academy on Friday, I met and talked to another parent whose son and my son were acquaintance. I'm being purposefully ambiguous as to his identity and some of the details, like his bio and career. Anyway, after awhile I told him I was a Baptist pastor in California. He is in Alabama, where Baptists abound and is Bible-belt territory, unlike where my church is. I found he was a former Episcopalian, married Catholic. I asked him to give me his totally honest opinion, and I wouldn't be offended one bit, whether he thought that all the Baptists down there have made Alabama a better state, a better place to live. He said something pretty close to this: "They help preserve the morality and the family, which is good. However, the daughter of the Southern Baptist pastor and my daughter both play on the volleyball team, and his daughter told my daughter that because she worshiped Mary, she was going to hell."

Now I don't know if that's what this Baptist pastor's daughter said exactly to this man's daughter. However, if his daughter didn't receive Jesus Christ alone for salvation, she was going to Hell. We spent a little time after that talking about pluralism, taking different points of view, and how that things had changed in the way of toleration and speech. He seemed to enjoy the conversation. What the pastor's daughter said to his daughter, many would call inflammatory. And yet it was true. It was something like what I think Jesus would say. It was bold.

Saturday night we attended a banquet there in the cadet mess hall, a gigantic stone block structure in the middle of a mammoth barracks that the cadets lived in. You really would need to see it to get a sense of the immensity and the impressiveness of the place. Everyone was in full dress, we ate a banquet meal, and the president of Rwanda spoke. We were seated with another plebe and his family, filling out a ten person table. In the midst of the meal, the mother of the other plebe asked whether we were hoping for one of our daughters to attend West Point. My wife and I both said, "No." I told them that we did not believe that women should be at West Point. We did not believe that the roles of women should be egalitarian, but complementary. They all nodded quietly. No comment. I think many would call my comment inflammatory.

Let's shift back to something I wrote at the end of my last post about women wearing men's clothes. I said at the end of that essay that the particular young ladies whom I had described were an abomination to God for having worn pants. One commenter said to another commenter that what I wrote was inflammatory. I based my statement on Deuteronomy 22:5, which says that the person who does such a thing was an abomination to God. I applied that verse to them.

Is inflammatory good or bad? I think the connotation is that it is bad. You've done a bad thing if you've been inflammatory, I believe, based on a modern understanding of the term. I think that many won't say the truth because they don't want to be "inflammatory," as if avoiding that has risen to a higher moral plane than the truth itself. So you abstain safely from being inflammatory, but in so doing leave the truth unsaid.

Speak the truth. It's loving to do so.

4 comments:

d4v34x said...

Bro. B.,

A question has occurred to me. Can a person simultaneously have his sins covered by the blood of Christ and be clothed in His righteousness and an abomination to the Father?

As for the comment in question, it did seem redundant to me, as you had plainly stated your case re. Deut. 22:5 and what that meant for today. To add the final statement felt unnecessary (again, to me), and I could see how some might feel it was meant vindictively, (although, love thinketh no evil).

Kent Brandenburg said...

Just a technicality, but I don't believe our sins are covered by the blood of Christ, but removed by the blood of Christ. I believe that sins were covered in the Old Testament by the blood of animals, but what Christ did is more than what those animal sacrifices could do. I hope that didn't come across as inflammatory. ;-) Your question is difficult, because I think that justified people want to practice righteousness. However, they still sin, and sin in a way which rises to the level of them being an abomination, that is, disgusting God with their actions. Will He still save them? Yes. But saved people should and will care about what God said throughout His Word.

I don't even know the ladies in question, could not have addressed one of them by name, so I didn't either mean it or feel it in a vindictive fashion. People who love God want to obey His commandments and without grievousness, so this was actually helping them. Something vindictive, I would think, would be harmful to a person.

I don't believe "think no evil" is the best of 1 Cor 13 to apply here. 'Thinking evil' is bringing up something you have done in the past that is evil, essentially logging and then dredging up what someone has done in the past. However, a person is not believing all things or hoping all things, when he doesn't think the best.

d4v34x said...

Yeah, I remembered believeth and hopeth vs. not keeping a record of wrongs after I posted. Not sure if that's a translation issue or a archaic usage issue, but I get tripped up on that.

philipian2511 said...

Is inflammatory good or bad? I think the connotation is that it is bad. You've done a bad thing if you've been inflammatory, I believe, based on a modern understanding of the term. I think that many won't say the truth because they don't want to be "inflammatory," as if avoiding that has risen to a higher moral plane than the truth itself. So you abstain safely from being inflammatory, but in so doing leave the truth unsaid.

To the first I would say it depends. Is the inflammatory true? If so could it possibly be considered rebuke and perhaps misunderstood by the recipient? In that case I would consider it good! If to fulfill a personal agenda or perhaps meant vindictively, its bad.

I believe that in this day and age one among many of our numerous enemies is humanism. Humanism, because it states that mans chief end is his happiness. Man not happy = bad. Man happy = good. So when we state the truth it tends to upset most folks. They get upset and feel bad, so in turn the truth is bad. Now, I say most because some can see that what we are stating has the intent seeing them correcting a wrong. So I believe humanism may have its hands in this as well?!

Finally, above all else we must state the truth Jesus would have and in our pursuit of Christ likeness we should as well.

Just my 0.02.

Respectfully Submitted,

Br Steve

Gal. 2.20