Friday, April 03, 2009

Slow to anger...

The past week has been frustrating on one front. I've chosen to engage various conservative voices regarding the 'emerging church.' Two quick thoughts this morning: 1 - I enjoy the intellectual excercise. Thirteen years of Christian day school, five years of a great liberal arts college founded on Calvin's theology, and three years of seminary make for a good biblical background. So, I enjoy interacting with the biblical text as perceived by others. 2 - Perhaps this bantering isn't healthy at all. I was just reminded of the biblical text... "For he (God) is slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness." I get angry at people who quickly make determinations about the eternal well-being of my friends. i.e. Kevin's words last week: "Doug Pagitt, who is in no recognizable way a Christian..." When very frustrated and equally angry, the idea of 'abundant in lovingkindness' is forgotten by me. The idea of both 'slow to anger' and 'abundant in lovingkindness' is nearly impossible for us humans to pursue well. Yet, if we are to follow the God we love, if we are going do more than admire God intellectually, then being 'slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness' are more righteous than being intellectually right in our heads... A read thru Hebrews 11 reminds me again that the faithful live differently than others. Righteousness comes at a price; it excludes throwing sticks and stones as our primary way of interacting with others. Kevin condemned a good friend with whom I've broken bread and shared wine, received and shown hospitality, and with whom I have shared in the body and blood of Christ. So, when you tell me that a friend of mine is not a recongizalbe follower of Jesus, you also question the God of the Scriptures.... and you make me more than a bit agitated. In turn, my family ends up living among my frustration. This is why I question if it is healthy for me to engage.

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