Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Conversation Boggles

Yes, I can at times get myself into trouble with things that I say. I probably can even do that enough to keep myself busy and, without trying, actually authenticate what James wrote in 3:2 of his epistle: "If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man." I'm not a perfect man. That's not an excuse; it's just true. We cannot always bridle that bucking bronco called the tongue. If you get it accomplished, write a book and share it with all. I've had my mouth fitted for my foot size before without the help of anyone. On the other hand, sometimes I say something fine and get verbally cuffed for it. I boggle at these conversations. My head bobbles with boggle. These dialogues qualify as unbridled hearing. Ears that buck out-of-control and then thoughts that go out of their proper orbit.

Usually these incidents come in a chex party mix of emotion, controversy, and prejudice. I'm not paranoid about it; I just think everyone's out to get me. I got more than a beep in traffic yesterday. And I don't think every siren has my name on it. This is essentially how the email exchange of private messages went:

Other Person: I think it is true that people who take a TR or KJV position are lemmings.

Me: I don't think what you are saying is true. People who take a TR and KJV position are not necessarily lemmings. You just can't conclude that just because they don't take the same position as you. (for my readers explanation: Lemmings are rodents and their reputation is one of following each other mindlessly off a cliff.)

Other Person: I don't get what you are saying.

Me: I am calmly saying that saying that people who take a TR and KJV position are lemmings is garbage.

Other Person: I don't like your rhetoric (speaking generally), and if you think that what I believe is garbage, then goodbye forever.

I hope you notice that I didn't say that he was garbage. I also did not say that what he believed was garbage. I was saying only that this idea that he stated---that these certain people were lemmings---was garbage. How could he have missed that? The above is not all the words, just the essence of how the conversation went. A key to his judgment of me can be seen when he generalized, coming to his conclusion of disassociating himself with me, "I don't like your rhetoric." First, that was the first time I had heard that he didn't like my rhetoric. Second, he didn't say that my rhetoric was sin, just that he didn't like it. His previous judgment of me, already having determined what he thought about me before ever confronting me one time, seems to be the cause of his distorted understanding of what I said was garbage.

Since then, he won't communicate with me. Signed, sealed, and delivered. Accused, indicted, guilty, condemned. This would all fit into the true meaning of judgmentalism. I like to think of it as condemnatory. No due process. No attempt to understand. No mediation. No forgiveness.

Are you familiar with these types of proceedings? Do they boggle you too? I am sincerely hopeful that I don't do this, and if I do, that I immediately get settled upon finding out that I've done it. I don't know of anyone right now that I have treated this way that I have not apologized and gotten it right.

Why does this happen? Sometimes it is hard to explain, but the trying of your faith worketh patience (James 1:2). Count it all joy. I can't say I like being misunderstood and judged like this, but I am content, which counts for joy. So what I'm saying is that God trys us so that we learn patience and contentment in whatsoever state we are. We are supposed to learn from it. I'm learning.

They do happen because gossip gone wild. Unfortunately, even in Christian circles lots of talk goes on about other people. That is not a reason to give up on God or to flush Christianity down the toilet. I refer you to the tongue verse above. It can occur in a church, but even more happens outside of a church situation where no kind of accountability exists. No church discipline will be had. People will verbally tar-and-feather someone. It's just what they do and how they are, especially toward people with whom they disagree theologically or politically or even personally. They are not willing to do the more difficult thing of hashing out the issue, listening to another side, and sharpening iron.

Pride is a major reason. Some people just think more highly of themselves than they ought to think. They think they are elite and won't condescend to fly with turkeys when they soar like eagles.

You've seen the bobble-head doll. That's me just this moment.

11 comments:

Derek Makri said...

Sorry all this has transpired over an article posted on SI that I thought was not even supposed to be discussed. They said they would not allow that issue to be discussed because of the flares it causes and they posted it anyway and look what happened. I posted a response to the article on my blog and hope that it gets read. I think those not for the TR/KJV are more hostile than those who are for it. Why might that be? Could it be that deep down inside they know they are wrong and are not willing to face it and therefore have to get defensive and mean about it?

Kent Brandenburg said...

Thanks Derek. I guess you guessed what this was about. I will look at your blog. I think we have good evidence for our position, and I want people to know it. I do speak authoritatively, but that comes from 19 years of pastoring. I've noticed other pastors the same way, but if you are on the other side of an issue, some, younger men, more emotional about these things, take it personally.

Don said...

Face it, Kent, you are a lemming. But, then, some of my best friends are lemmings...

Sorry, lame attempt at humour.

I really wish the rancour over differing theological positions would end. Certain issues seem to become hot button issues and cannot be discussed reasonably at all. And I'm not just talking about the versions issue.

I think there are at least two things going on that causes this: First, some people, arguing for or against a position are willing to use all kinds of hateful rhetoric and try to stir up trouble over a particular issue. (This is on both sides of any issue.) Those on the receiving end start to hear ANYONE arguing for the other position as using the same hateful rhetoric, and they become predisposed to hear the hatefulness, no matter how mildly someone may think they are speaking. From there, things spiral out of control.

I am personally on a self-imposed SI holiday, so I don't know specifically what you are referring to. But from the comments here, it sounds all too familiar.

I hope that in our exchanges we have been able to discuss things fairly rationally. I don't think we changed each other's point of view much, but I think I came to a more complete understanding of what you were saying in our Dt 22 discussion.

I think that the second reason for some of the rancour in fundamentalism (or wherever you are, I know you don't take the label!) has to do with the "all or nothing" point of view that some take. In the versions issue, it is very easy to throw around the label 'heretic' and run around separating from others. I recall a guy who argued for the KJV writing me a letter to announce that he had seperated from me. The funny thing (to me) is that I have never met him. He lives over 400 miles away. I wouldn't know him if I ran into him. I am not quite sure what has changed as a result of this letter. There are others on the non-KJV side that are trying to define all pro-KJV guys out of fundamentalism, so this cuts both ways.

I am fairly sympathetic to the point of view of the pro-KJV guys, and I think I can understand where they are coming from. They see the proliferation of versions (many of them really bad) and see this as an attack of the devil. And they have a point. Since they have a point, they begin to look with suspicion at those who would entertain the use of ANY other version, whether they are the really bad ones or the (perhaps) less bad ones. On the other hand, I suspect that a lot of those guys who want to cut off the pro-KJV guys are not really coming at this from a fundamentalist perspective. In other words, the suspicions of the pro-KJV camp are often quite correct. There is a lot of posing going on, with guys who are essentially wanting to be evangelicals, but somehow not wanting to shed the fundy label.

So with all of these things going on, I think we end up with a lot of suspicion and acrimony.

Ok, I better quit. I think I am starting to ramble. I mentioned I am on an SI holiday, I won't be back there until at least Sept 11. In the meantime, I am taking a hand at 'practice' blogging. You can check it out here if you like:

http://www.ebaptist.blogspot.com/

Anyway, you can post this or not if you like, I don't want to stir up controversy you know! I've reformed! (Sorta). But I have enjoyed discussing subjects with you, even though we don't always see eye to eye.

God bless.

Regards,
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Dave Mallinak said...

Well, Pastor B, so you won't get to change the world through SI any more. Too bad. But that's okay, I'm still your friend, and would be even if you separated from me.

As much as we may not like this fact, SI is a big-time blog, and they have the right to run their blog however they want. If they don't like somebody, they can kick them off. They don't need a reason. If we don't like that, I guess we will have to come up with a blog that is as big as theirs. And since I am doing good to type and hit (sometimes find) the submit button, I guess it won't be me doing it.

If you dance, you must pay the piper. Maybe you should have spent more time doing Thomas Kinkaid puzzles. It might have softened you around the edges more.

Anonymous said...

" As the grave grows nearer my theology is growing strangely simple, and it begins and ends with Christ as the only Savior of the lost".
Henry Benjamin Whipple

"I have seen gross intolerance shown in support of tolerance."
Samuel Taylor Coleridge

It's hard to fly like an eagle when you must ground with the turkeys.
The hardest thing in human nature to do is to remember to be sure your brain is in gear before your mouth goes in motion.

So, if you'll kindly excuse me, I need to check on mine..

ILA

Kent Brandenburg said...

Pastor Mallinak,
Would you stop being so hard on me? I'm a sensitive man. I do Kincaid puzzles. Yes, they are a free enterprise, and no shoes so no service. It was surprising to get kicked out of their store though, you know, so permanently without warning. He could have at least smacked his lips first to let me know he was coming. Does God promise protection to a blog like SharperIron?

Don,

Thanks for commenting. I respect your doctrine of salvation, many of your old school views, and your SI self-imposed fast. Looking at your blog, your parenting seems like it may have succeeded too. Be well, and be free to comment any time.

And ILA,
It's hard talking with a shoe in my mouth.

Anonymous said...

As the saying goes.. when the world gives you lemmings, make Lemmin'ade. ;*)

SP

Kent Brandenburg said...

Very good anonymous, SP; got a big laugh at that one, except it would have been a percentage funnier if you had said "lemmingade." Take that critique and drink it.

Cathy McNabb said...

Well if make you feel any better, I will follow you off the cliff Pastor Brandenburg :0)

Anonymous said...

I remember people getting their feathers ruffled over at Phil Johnson's blog because they could not identify with his and DJP's sense of humor. It is interesting to me that some of the same people had run-ins with SI. Can't be their approach can it? No...must be the other guy...

Ed Hillinon

Kent Brandenburg said...

Ed. I don't know you, but thanks for coming over. I don't think my feathers were too ruffled. Mainly questioning a standard of modesty over there, and they couldn't take that over at Pyro. SharperIron is just to the right of Pyro and I wasn't expecting to fit in there. However, they, the other guys, are the ones that want "unity" and "toleration," Ed. I am content, Ed. Did you know you're name is in the Bible, by the way?