Monday, December 20, 2004
Quotes of the Month
I have nothing original to say here these days. Don't get me wrong, I still say all sorts of original, heretical things, but I prefer to say them in different settings (e.g. among fellow Balaam's asses). So, for now, I'll just post things others have said.
People who claim to have a special love for the Reformed faith confuse me—the same goes for people who say they have a special love for the Catholic faith, the Baptist faith, and so forth. Saying "I love the Reformed faith. It's so rich and full of meaning" seems about the same as saying, "I just love my hand. My hand is great. The rest of me is okay, but my hand is just awesome. Let me tell you about the history of my hand, and about what great things my hand did when I was twelve—when the rest of my body had gotten stupid and ugly." I have no love for the Reformed faith, but that's because I don't think there is such a thing. My foot and my eye and my hand and my tongue all have the same mind and same spirit—the Joshua Gibbs mind and spirit. Lutherans, Methodists, Pentecostals, whoever writes for Credenda anymore, Willow Creek—all these have the same mind, the mind of Christ. The Reformed church today is at odds with this. We lack great love.
Earlier in this post, Josh wrote that "We should not publish mockeries of these people and display them to the rest of the church, let alone allowing the world to see our 'unpresentable members' (and our lack of regard for them)." Which reminds me of another quote, from an article I read last night in Touchstone:
The way that we speak of our Body needs to reflect the Body itself—the world will judge us by the way that we love one another. We need to speak of ourselves as being one, think of ourselves as being one, treat ourselves corporately the way that we treat ourselves personally. In that the majority of the people that look at this website call themselves Reformed, and because people who call themselves Reformed generally have a bigger problem with ego than people who call themselves anything else—I'm putting forth a general invitation to, in this coming year, give up being Reformed. Try not thinking about the fact that you're the hand, try thinking about the fact that you're the body. Try to not speak of the history of the hand, the glory of the hand or how the hand saved civilization. Don't try to discern the hand in fellow saints, discern the body. Realize that your goal in life is not to make the foot or the eye into the hand. Your goal in life is not to make the hand huge and the ass small. Your goal in life is to bring glory to the Head.
But humor doesn't have to hurt. You can poke fun at people, even satirize and parody them, without adding the unmistakable element that takes delight in kicking another person down. What a Christian must not do is present raw ridicule—humor primarily designed to scratch our itch to hurt another person. We use wit to defeat, employ cleverness to demolish, and bask in showers of applause after partnering with murder. The outraged, and perhaps sputtering and inarticulate, target rightly recognizes that your wish for him is destruction. No wonder is it, then, when he responds in kind.
Sarcasm just breeds more of the same—self-defending sarcasm, bitterness and retaliation. But good humor, even satire, protects the target's dignity and invites him to laugh along. Well-done humor stimulates reflection and reconsideration. The best-honed humor, deft and well-targeted, can nudge a change in the course of the world.
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