Friday, September 01, 2006


Lately I’ve interacted with a blog that angers me and from which I should really keep my distance. It’s just that I ran across it back in January when End of the Spear was released and this blog (and many others like it) were spewing hatred and lies toward Steve Saint and Mart Green, and for that matter, doggonit, everyone else I respect, appreciate, imitate, and attempt to emulate. I first tried to comment when they were spreading lies about Steve Saint. This wasn’t even a matter of opinion, it was an outright lie, and I knew better. I was blocked from posting any comments. For some reason (I’m guessing that roadrunner changed my IP), eventually I got a comment on attempting to come to the defense of another Christian who was being slandered, and promptly was mocked, ridiculed and damned by all the other commenters.
It’s not really that I’m addicted to reading that blog, but that I’ve felt some kind of complex to be there and expose the fact that they are flat out lying about what other Christians are saying and teaching. Of course, my comments are nearly always corrected “quotes” or scripture references and are nearly always blocked.
The blog has grown an outrageously large readership (35,000 per week) seemingly as some kind of sideshow, and has grown increasingly outrageous in the past few weeks. It’s as if the contributors are running out of things to hate and mock and scoff at so they’re making things up and becoming more obviously exaggerated. I have no doubt that VERY soon, some contributor will make a comment on another’s post and incur wrath and in next to no time they will have eaten one another. Good riddance.
Tonight I made a level-headed, wise, intelligent, mannerly, kind, thoughtful observation that surprisingly, they posted. I was scoffed at for my ignorance by three separate comment posts, chastised by the original poster, and my IP was promptly banned so that I could make no response. I’m sorry, but that feels very much like having your hands cuffed behind your back and shoestrings tied together while someone sucker punches you and raises his fists before his cheering friends as if his strength and stamina had just defeated his bound opponent. But in all fairness, that IS the only way deceit can defeat the truth – by hiding it. But more surprising that a bully would do this, is that so many people would stand close by and cheer him and pat him on the back. I guess they feel empowered and victorious too.
Honestly – I believe I am speaking truthfully here – I rarely get angry. What I feel is sorrow, pain, compassion for someone hurting, someone broken or damaged. When someone shows so much evidence of misery, I hurt for them. But tonight, I confess, I was furious. I felt physical fury. My feelings weren’t hurt. I felt no compassion. I was mad as heck. I calmed down enough to come out to the kitchen where Will asked me what I’d been doing. I told him the whole story without the anger in my voice. He took over my anger for me, went to the website and composed a comment in defense of his Dad who couldn’t possibly ever be wrong (you mean, unChrist-like, bullies!) Thankfully, he had to post from the same IP and laughed when he also got the screen that informed him that he wasn’t allowed to post comments. We chuckled together.
Well, I didn’t mean to ramble out my anger so long there. Really that was supposed to be a short setup for the next bit.
When I got to the gym to pump out my venom, I plugged my iPod into my ears and learned that the latest installment of Gempfcast had found its way onto my hard drive so I was able to hear the rest of the first chapter of “Jesus Asked”, by Conrad Gempf. I’ve really enjoyed the three installments heretofore, and have commented on Gempf’s wonderful voice. But tonight it was set against a starkly contrasting backdrop. How glorious to hear someone speaking from his heart about Jesus and His teaching after so much hammer-handed hatefully misused quotes of Spurgeon, Tozer, MacArthur, and Calvin. How very different a teacher of the faith sounds compared to a defender of a doctrine.
As I was listening to Gempf speak from his heart about Jesus with that soothing, peaceful, fascination-soaked voice, I thought about what Jesus’ voice must have sounded like to the marginalized, ignored, demeaned, and abused cast-offs He loved so much. I thought of how healing and refreshing He must have been after the teaching of the Pharisees. A lifetime of beatings with a sledgehammer of law misappropriated selfishly and pridefully had left wounds that would seemingly never heal. But along comes a voice, the very Word of God, issued through smiling lips. Here is a soothing balm that, with a word, heals years of festering, open wounds. Grace. It’s a humble word that screams in the ears of the self-righteous. It’s a soft word that penetrates the penitent, and pummels the prideful. It’s a gift by which justice is withheld while the judge remains just.
I heard it and felt it tonight, the stark contrast in the sound of the tyranny of law juxtaposed with the freedom of grace.
Thank you Conrad, for your heart, your work, and your voice.