Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Those Fighting Fundamentalists...and Others

Fundamentalist Christians have been saddled with the pejorative "Fighting Fundies" for good reason, it seems that we/they like a good fight about as much as anything else. Especially a good theological tussle. That's what we live for, right?

There has been a lot of ugliness and snark floating around the blogosphere lately. If you don't know what I'm talking about, then you are probably only reading my blog. In which case, you have excellent taste and refinement. I mean really, why go anywhere else? But if you do browse the other blogs, then I don't need to go into detail about it.

So, I wanted to make a quick remark about what I think of the latest salvos. Honestly, I think that it is par for the course. In fact, I think that great theological leaps are often made in the midst of name-calling, dirty, theological fist fights. As I look back over the history of theological snarkiness, I find that some of the most well-known heroes of the faith were some of the nastiest name callers around. One was John Calvin. Calvin often referred to the pope in such snarky ways that if he were alive today he could get some serious heat going in the blogosphere. Of course, nobody outsnarked Martin Luther. Nobody! He was the put down, character defaming, caricature, ad hominem genius. He called the pope and his "popish knaves" everything from monkeys, to devils, to demons, to anti-Christ, to things I can't write in polite company. Of course, the pope and his band of merry men returned in kind. But they couldn't touch his level of snark with a ten foot pole.

Am I endorsing this sort of mean-spirited debate? Not really. I'm just pointing out that it is no surprise, and that it is not nearly as bad is it could be or has been. Here's the deal: We are passionate about our God. In fact, we love him more than college football, wives, husbands, children, hunting, fishing, living, breathing, and even the Colts. If you start poking his theology, expect some hot retort.

I think the problem goes back to what we believe Christian discipleship means. When Jesus says, "Love your enemies" and "Turn the other cheek," we interpret that to mean we need to be limp-wristed sissies. When someone says something absurd about God, or the ministry, or our loved ones, we are supposed to piously roll our eyes toward heaven and shrug it off without more than a "God bless you." The only problem with that in my mind is the little whipping that Jesus gave the money lenders and the "Zeal for thy house hath consumed me" quote.

No, we're not Jesus, and we're not perfect. We often overreact and say hurtful things. But occasionally, we should slam the shifty, the hucksters, the rapscallions, and the heretics with prejudice. And when they cry and don't repent, we can poke them again...in love, of course.


brother terry said...

I once read a story about how Billy Graham tackled and subdued a man who was lurking around his house and then spent time praying with the guy while they waited on the police.

That's tough love!


joe kennedy said...

we're all guilty of it, it seems.

sorry i sounded like a jerk. i just hate it when people tell me that i and my friends are pathetic or drunk with confusion.

he links to slice of laodicea that said some very nasty things about the death of kyle lake back in october/early november. that he considers them like him hints toward something more frustrating. it all came out in that post.

i apologize.