I have a critic named Larry who comments on this blog from time to time. I don’t know Larry personally but from his comments I believe he’s a good guy. He loves Jesus and he truly wants to correct people who he sees as teaching something wrong. I see a lot of myself in Larry. Although he’d probably deny that.
Larry first challenged me on Will Some Who Have Never Known Jesus Enter His Kingdom. And in doing so he helped me wrestle more fully with Scripture. So even though we still differ I’m truly thankful for him. And by the way its still the most engaging exchange on this blog.
Larry then returned on How Do We Witness to a Culture That No Longer Feels Guilty and sarcastically used my words in the previous post against me.
No need to share Jesus. Didn’t you know that there will be some in heaven who have never known Jesus? How is that possible you ask? According to Matthew 25:31-46, non-Christians are blessed for serving needy Christians. Such a message should comfort all those who have not explicitly acknowledged Jesus.
And then again on 4 Reasons Lazarus, Not John, May be the Author of the Fourth Gospel.
In Jesus’ own words, we are short of ‘workers’ and you are spending your time arguing that Lazarus wrote the Gospel of John. Priorities!
I find that you take a text and sensationalize it to try and generate reader interest. Your blog seems to be patterned after the National Enquirer with a Bible verse or two thrown in to pique the interest of ‘Christians.’
Why do you feel the need to dramatize the scriptures? We are to sow the seed (the unadulterated, Word of God without embellishments and exaggerations), another waters but God causes the increase.
My overall take on this series: That sound you hear is me rending my clothes.
Larry’s main issue with me is that I’m teaching something false. I disagree with that but I’ll let you read and decide.
But Larry also believes that I’m sensationalistic and deviate from the core truths of the scripture. And on this point I would have to agree.
While I don’t think I sensationalize Scripture, I do post on the sensational in Scripture. And sometimes these sensational topics are outside the top priorities of Scripture. But then again, “all Scripture is God breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16) so I don’t necessarily think my noting that sex is deeply imbedded in John’s depiction of Jesus encounter with the woman by the well is altogether unimportant. In fact its connected with a larger theme of John’s Gospel and the Bible.
But Larry does have this right about my blog: I do focus on the sensational. Here are four previously unstated things I aim to do with every post. Here’s the method to my madness.
We cease to be aware of things familiar to us. Routine, or what Samuel Coleridge called the “The film of familiarity,” constantly closes our eyes to things around us. Continued exposure to the same truths break down our senses to them. While we may know something in a cognitive sense we cease to be fully aware of it. Kind of like a routine drive to work. But surprise frees our senses from the power of routine and causes to once again look with fresh eyes at what we previously took for granted. Jesus understood this. Note for instance how he masterfully twists his audiences cliched stereotypes in the story of the Good Samaritan. Surprise is a true delight and I delight in offering true surprise.
Surprise is also essential to jokes. We laugh when we discover a twist from our expectation. “I want to die peacefully in my sleep, like my grandfather.. Not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car.” Ba dum chhhh. I love to laugh but the surprise I’m aiming for has a much higher purpose than laughter. It’s designed, like Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan, to incite you to further reflection. Is it true? And if it is true what does it mean for me and what I believe?
I’m a busy person so I like blogs that have factual content and get right to the point. I love listening to stories but I don’t particularly enjoy reading them and so I typically don’t offer personal stories without a point. This story is of course a rare exception. I aim to offer overlooked information you can use in you’re study of God’s word and in you’re conversations with others.
Bottom line: I want you to be inspired and motivated to study the Bible more deeply and pursue God more passionately. If I’ve turned you off to either one of these things I am truly sorry. For some my spice is too hot but for others its too mild. I want you to know that my deepest desire is to see you more fully equipped and delighting in the God who both created and saved us.