I’ve participated in a few internet arguments in my day, especially several years ago when social interaction on the internet was fairly new. It didn’t take me very long at all to realize that arguing on the internet was about as fruitful as an orange tree in the arctic. Occasionally, though, I will step into the ring for a few minutes, not to argue, but to present some facts that might be relevant to the discussion. If someone tries to bait me into an argument, I leave. After all, if I’m going to waste time, I might as well waste it doing something more fun!
Just this week I defended a friend on the internet when I saw that someone was criticizing him with false information. In the comment section, I pointed out that it’s one thing to disagree with my friend’s approach to ministry, but quite another to make a charge against him that was factually false. I corrected the inaccuracy…the blog author responded by defending his perspective…I made one more comment to clarify my point and moved on.
I love the internet because it is the people’s media. Anyone with access to a computer can publish his opinions and beliefs for anyone else in the world with a computer to access. And, at least at this point, it’s tax free (Keep your hands off our internet you evil politicians!). What I’ve learned through the years is that arguments that have the best chance of changing my mind on an issue are the ones that are Scripturally based with a spirit of love. Someone has pointed out…
Truth > Grace = Fundamentalism (“sever the relationship when needed”)
Grace > Truth = Liberalism (“compromise the truth when needed”)
Jesus = FULL of Grace & Truth (John 1.14)
So I don’t even listen or pay attention to the name-calling, angry, self-proclaimed “discernment” people. Neither do I give any time of day to the “What we believe doesn’t matter as long as we’re sincere and loving” crowd (not that I ever gave them the time of day). I really only want to listen to those who are attempting to produce a truth-filled, grace-saturated articulation of a position on a matter. Show me that and I’m all ears.
Several years ago, it became all the rage for churches to adopt mission statements. When establishing mission statements, perhaps the most popular approach today is to emphasize the Great Commission and the Great Commandment. It’s not uncommon to hear mission statements like:
“A great commitment to the Great Commandment and the Great Commission will produce a great church.”
“To glorify and honor God by fulfilling the mission the Lord gave His followers through the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) in the Spirit of the Great Commandment (Matthew 22:37-40).”
“We are a people committed to living and teaching the Great Commandment (loving God) and the Great Commission (loving others).”
This is all well and good, and I may be guilty of nitpicking here, but these statements can be misleading. You might be thinking, “How on earth can those mission statements be misleading?”
At the risk of being overdramatic, I have to say that this may be the most powerful life story I’ve ever heard. Louis Zamperini has lived a life that tops anything you’ve ever seen in the movies. Laura Hillenbrand, also author of Seabiscuit, does a masterful job of putting you right alongside Louis in his Olympic and War adventures. I found this Youtube video featuring a CBS documentary on Louis followed by an interview with Louis and a Q&A session with a USC journalism class. The 2 hour video is priceless.
My recommendation is that you read the book BEFORE you watch this video. You’ll enjoy the book and the video more if you read the book first. So for those of you who’ve already read the book, or for those who can’t wait, enjoy:
We did this song this morning and I love it!
I have previously recommended David Platt’s outstanding book, Radical. Below is a brief clip from Dr. Platt speaking (as a guest) at Cross Church of Springdale, Arkansas. It’s a good summary of his book.
Dear American Christian, how you respond to Platt’s message, either through the book or this video, reveals a lot about your brand of Christianity. Is your Christianity too influenced by the American materialistic mindset? How you respond to this critical message reveals a lot about the condition of your heart (Matthew 6:19-21).
You may actually be a Christian who claims to not to embrace the Health/Wealth gospel (aka prosperity gospel). But if you find yourself offended by Platt’s message or making excuses to get around it, you may need to probe your heart a little deeper…you may be more prosperity gospel than you care to admit.
On a side note, during David Platt’s message at this summer’s Pastor’s Conference, Matt Chandler (also on the program) tweeted that David Platt “preaches like he’s in pain and I’m grateful to God for him.” That’s funny. And true.