Sometime last week, I ran across this entry by a young Christian blogger. I decided to leave him a comment, though I get the impression he completely missed my point. I left him a second comment, hoping that maybe it’ll clarify what I’m getting at.
Now, I’m going to set aside my personal feelings about his theology for the moment. I’m going to set aside the natural defensiveness some part of me feels over his comments about my religious practices. After all, at least on an “intellectual level,” I can respect his right to hold his opinions on these things. I can even respect his right to express those opinions.
But at the same time, I can only feel that this is a young man without any practical direction, and that spells disaster in my mind. In all of his statements, I don’t see even the slightest hint of a sense of how he’s going to go about living a more “visible” relationship for God. Well, at least not beyond spouting off catchphrases and buzzwords like a motivational speaker.
Of course, part of me wonders if that’s not part of the problem. I find myself wondering if he’s been to one too many “revival meetings” of a certain sort. You know, those meetings where someone stands in front of a crowd, gives a number of compelling speeches designed specifically to stir everyone’s emotions and get them “worked up for Jesus,” but then leave their “revived” people to wonder what happened once the emotional high is over and real life set in. All because while said speaker(s) got them all worked up, they didn’t do a very good job of keeping things going. (And let’s face it, there’s only so long you can keep an emotional high going. It’s one reason churches don’t have “revival meetings” every Sunday.)
What really worries me — and what should worry all Christians out there — is what kind of bridges this young man might burn in his current state. He’s so hyped up that he almost seems to be looking for a “glorious confrontation.” (Read his other two entries and you’ll see more of what I’m talking about.) And while that sounds great in theory, it’s a pretty good way of making some enemies. And you know, it’s rather difficult to share any message, let alone the gospel message, with an enemy.
And as much as it bugs me, I have to admit that we witches and Pagans tend to be grudge-holders. We tend to look at someone like this young man who, in his sincere exuberance, tends to put a chasm between himself and those he wants to “save” by his poorly chosen words and deeds, and we tend to see all well-meaning Christians through the filter of our experiences with him. So we quit listening to all of them. The rude, the well-meaning but ill-prepared, the sincere and wise, they’re all seen through the lense of past experience. And when that lense has the most confrontational of the lot embedded in it, it can create quite a distortion. (Natureally, those of us who have gained wisdom try to overcome this “filtering process,” but even we can have our difficulties from time to time.
Hopefully, someone will take this young man aside and teach him some wisdom and compassion to go along with his enthusiasm and conviction. Otherwise, I suspect this will end badly. For everyone involved.