Monday, July 30, 2007

The Crabbe and Goyle of Christianity

A lot of hoo-ha has been stirring over in the anti-emergent corner of the blogosphere. It concerns some posters a couple of folks made which poke fun at the views of some postmodern Christians.

As I looked at the blogs of the gentlemen who put together these posters, at first I was a little irritated, but then I was embarrassed. They reminded me of my own theological past. They took me back to a time when I used to beat up people with theology and scripture. I was a pretty good Bully for Christ.

The best measure I could use to describe myself at that time is Crabbe and Goyle. In the Harry Potter series, they are the two thugs who hang out with Malfoy and use their relationship with him to intimidate and harass people. Their relationship to Malfoy is sycophantic. I think many aspects of my relationship with Christ could have been fairly described in similar fashion.

Lewis says that evil cannot succeed in being evil the way good can being good. Evil is not original, it can only exist as a corruption of good. Evil needs good, but good does not need evil. Harry could go on fine in life without Crabbe and Goyle, but they could not go on without Harry (or someone like him). Their nature requires an enemy, someone to be against, or better yet - someone to beat down. Without someone to shove below them, Crabbe and Goyle would not know what to do with themselves.

I am not even sure how to talk about this type of Christian without getting into mudslinging. When I read the blogs of some of these anti-emergent folks, I just see a lot of anger and frustration wrapped in christianeez rhetoric. I also know that if someone had pointed out this behavior in my past, I would only have shouted louder and more obnoxiously.

I have been a Christian for 25 years. Only in the past few do I feel like I have started to be a follower of Christ. I grew up hearing that our faith was different because we had a "relationship" with God. I believed all those years I had a relationship with him and, I suppose, on some level I did. However, I feel like it is only now that I am beginning to discover what relationship means.

Speaking of posters, I thought these responses from Emerging Grace were wonderful.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Thank You JK Rowling!

Thank you dear lady for the gift you gave us. Thank you for such a wonderful closing. Your choice of ending with so many stories of redemption give a little hope in these troubled times. May God Bless You.....

and goodbye Harry... we will miss you!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Going to the Manti Pageant?

I have Mormon Coffee on my Google Reader list. I am not a fan of their approach, but I do find some of the posts interesting and pertinent to life here in Utah.

They recently did a post on their trip to the Manti pageant this year. The pageant is an outdoor theatrical re-enactment of parts of the book of Mormon and the life of Joseph Smith.

When Mormons gather in large groups, organizations like Mormon Coffee take the opportunity to evangelize. Contrary to typical evangelism, these street preachers carry signs designed to provoke and belittle Mormons, while yelling similar slogans.

On their blog, Mormon Coffee was inviting Christians to come down next year and join them in sign carrying and yelling (Click here to see the post). In the comments section I tried to post my experience at the pageant. Since it is a moderated blog, it has to be cleared. My comment was not posted, so I am going to try to recall it as best I can here.

I had the opportunity to attend the Manti pageant last year with some neighbors who had invited my family. We were sitting outside the fenced area since we had some dogs with us. A street preacher was making his way down our row. He was yelling out to the small crowd behind the fence about deception, Mormons going to Hell, etc. When he got to our area, he singled me out declaring that I was blind and needed to be open to the truth. I couldn't get a word in to tell the guy I wasn't Mormon. My neighbors snickered at the irony of his choosing the one non-Mormon in the group to yell at. This reaction made him angrier. He shouted at us a little louder, then stomped off.

It is said on the Mormon Coffee blog that if one person comes to Christ, all of this (yelling and sign carrying) is worth it. Therefore, it is considered that the methodology works. I think there is a difference between something working, and something being efficient and effective. My neighbors saw the shouting as confirmation that their beliefs are correct (after all, why all the persecution if Mormons aren't right?). From that view, I don't think you have forward momentum if you take one step forward followed by four steps back.

I am sure there were some good hearted and sincere street preachers out there. For the most part however, I observed only frustration and anger. When the totals are tallied, I think the street preachers do more harm than good.

I am disappointed that my original post was deleted. I know it was better than the above (I was in the groove that night).

Seeing the street preachers out there makes me realize how careful I have to be when I open scripture. They are a living testament that you can get scripture to justify almost anything. If they truly feel that Mormons need converting, I think they can engage in a way that does not destroy community.

A wise woman once told me, "Don't pull weeds unless you are willing to stay and tend the garden". These street preachers come in... do enormous damage with their verbal violence... and then leave the scene in a wake of destruction - that those of us who live here have to clean up.
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