7 February 2020.

The holiday ends this weekend, and with it normal service will resume. Despite the weather, (though we have avoided the worst).

Last night Kea and I ended up discussing the local church, and we considered the following.

  1. We have a duty to confront evil, initially quietly, and then more openly if that is refused. Because evil, left alone, leads to a false spirituality that can damage and destroy the faith of some. The loss of the faith of any person grieves God, and so it should grieve us.
  2. The strivers for status and power generally do not use meekness, gentleness and kindness. The use shame, control, and condemnation. They tear down rather than build up.
  3. The church will always be infiltrated by those who see it as a vector for their other agendas. These agendas often involve gaining power and usually involve damning as many people as possible — with either false sins or preaching against true sins without any mention of repentance or that Christ came to save us.
  4. For most of us, our call is not to be that public. It is to be faithful to our ministries — which include being a husband, wife, father, mother, son and daughter (particularly with elderly parents) and the tasks God calls us to do, in church and in the community
  5. There are many who use rhetoric and virtue signalling to say that they are holy. Generally, they can be ignored. We need to seek and imitate instead those who are seeking holiness.
  6. (And you can generally tell them because they will seek correction, and learn from criticism).

My question with the text is twofold. The first is that I don’t think I am that pure and peaceable. The second is that I have in the past turned anger to alliance with people by being gentle and open to reason — though at times it took every ounce of effort in me not to descend into satire and snark — but others simply refuse any gentleness and double down in condemning you.

James 3:13-18

13 Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15 This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

I don’t think I’m responsible for how people react to the truth. I may be responsible for saying it. For the truth does cause division, and by being peaceable and reasonable we may bring people to the truth.

But those who work on fear and damnation? Do not be like them.

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1 year ago

These are excellent thoughts to consider, Weka.

I especially appreciated the distinctions between “meekness, gentleness, and kindness” and “Shame, control, and condemnation” as indicators of what truly motivates us and others in our interactions with fellow believers.

Thank you.