Where I Saw Jesus Today

I saw Jesus in a great place today.

I get discouraged sometimes by people who claim to love Jesus, yet in their online discussions rip and savage one another.  Communicating with others online is something of a neglected artform.  Because we don’t have the extra advantages of being able to assess one’s inflections, body language and positioning, we’re left with just the words.  Few, myself included, take as great a care in their online language as they do in person.  Precision flies right out the window and it carries understanding with it.

At Mars Hill, we are no different.  We have a separate section for the women to discuss theology because the men at Mars Hill can be…vicious.  Brutal, even.  This is often misunderstood as discussion when it is nothing more than statement and restatement of one’s personal opinion.  Bugger the facts, we have personal opinion!  We used to save that sort of slice&thrash for the young men who are just getting their personal theology down pat.  Now we can slice&thrash anyone who shows up on the site with an opinion that doesn’t fit the conservative FoxNoise mold.  We had one gentleman who wondered why Mars Hill doesn’t recycle and use more green technology and I think he gave up discussing it because of the ridiculously overblown response he received and is now off doing things about finding ways to contribute his knowledge and experience toward finding out whether or not this technology is financially possible for the church.  But the initial response he received was embarassing.  Jesus wasn’t anywhere in that verbal rumble.

But that’s not the point.  That’s just one way to argue one’s apologetics.  Beat and whip and slice and dice.  Or.

I got an email today from a friend who was deeply concerned that an online discussion he was having with someone who is very, VERY high up in an ex-gay organization was…well, that he was being a stumbling block.  “Was I vitriolic or barbed, as this person claimed?”  His contention was that politics and religion are all well and good, but that societal change comes from people who are changed by Christ.  He argued for the gospel and for people over politics and power.  Theologally factual, contextualized in love.  What a refreshing change from the norm.  Discuss a hot button issue and leave someone with their dignity intact?  What kind of a man is THIS?

What kind?  One I want to emulate.  I saw Jesus not only in his responses, standing for the love for those unsaved gay men and women who need to hear the unvarnished gospel, separate from the heavy baggage that politics can carry, but in his deep concern that he not come across as one of THOSE Christians who, in their zeal, turn more people away from the gospel instead of bringing them closer.  Jesus is the stumbling block for this world; they cannot understand the truth and power of the gospel until they content with Jesus and who is claims to be.  We need to present Christ and Christ alone, and not legislate him into places he does not want to be and make the gospel more offensive to mankind than it already is.  My friend knows this.

If you’re reading this today, my friend, I just wanted you to know that I saw Jesus in you today and I am proud of you.  Keep fighting the good fight and loving those you discuss Jesus with.  You did (and are doing) great!

~ by WriterRand on July 13, 2007.

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