I just read another piece calling out someone for calling out someone else. Maybe there was a third level of calling out in there. I’m not sure. It’s all pretty muddled at this point. The point is, calling out people is bad and we need to call them out on it.
There aren’t many things that make me want to quit blogging, but the unending circle of making sure we’re morally superior to “those other guys” is one thing that makes me vaguely consider it.
Let me be very clear. I am totally okay with people writing blogs wherein they disagree with the writing/teaching/tweeting of any other person. It’s usually big names like Mark Driscoll or John Piper or Rachel Held Evans or Rob Bell. They do something that rubs someone the wrong way. So folks will write about it. Some will write about the actual content, some will attack character. Some will look for dialog, some are using the names to get blog hits.
Whatever. It’s how blogging works. I get that. Most of the time, even if the content is less desirable, there can be positive outcomes from the discussion about their words. There may be clarification offered, or sometimes an apology for something that was stated poorly. It’s not always pretty, but it’s often beneficial.
But then? Then comes the part that I hate.
We see that the person that we like got called out for their words. And we don’t like that.
So we get all hyper-spiritual and we start writing about unity in Christ. And we write about Matthew 18 and going to our brother privately. And we write about being silent. (Because nothing contributes to silence like another thousand words or so about the subject.)
Here’s the deal. I don’t think that Jesus has a whole lot to do with it. Mostly, we just don’t like that the person or the ideology that we associate with is under attack. Or sometimes even just questioned. It feels a lot like WE are being scrutinized.
It doesn’t sound great to say, “Please don’t pick on my friend,” or “Please don’t question my belief system.” So instead we make it about Jesus or the Church. Instead of “Don’t upset my friend,” it becomes “Don’t upset Jesus!”
But seriously, can we stop? Not the discussion of ideas. But the discussions about those discussions.
And if we can’t stop that, can we at least be honest? Can we please stop dragging God into it?
It sucks when someone who is a friend gets run through the shredder. I hate seeing someone who I know being called names because I know that it actually hurts that person. They’re not just a persona, they’re a real person who has feelings. It can be really tempting to want to get spiritual about how hurtful it is to the Church when we tear down a brother or sister in Christ. But that’s not why I’m upset. I just don’t like seeing my friend in pain.
That’s okay. We’re allowed to empathize with our friends. I think it’s good when we do.
But I don’t think we’re doing ourselves or our faith any favors by dragging God into these arguments. Instead, we make it seem like we worship some petty deity who gets humphy because this blogger called out that pastor or because that pastor called out this author.
By all means, stick up for your friends and for your beliefs. Let your friends know that you care about them, and let us know that you care about your beliefs.
But stop bringing Jesus into it. It’s just making me absolutely crazy.
And I’m pretty sure Jesus doesn’t want that.