Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Am I a Hypocrite?

Let me just save you 10 seconds of pondering and say the answer is "Yes. Absolutely yes." I'm a hypocrite every time I profess to care something about the purity of the gospel and then blow an opportunity to share it. I'm a hypocrite when I say that worship and church ought to be taken seriously and then check out in the middle of a hymn or a sermon. I'm a hypocrite when I criticise haughty judgmentalism and then assess someone's spirituality based on their appearance or whether I happen to like the person or not. So let's get the question out of the way; I am without question a hypocrite.

Now I've had three people, two of whom I already trust and respect (nothing personal Chris, I just don't know you yet) suggest in a wholly appropriate way that my post yesterday is inconsistent with my post from two days ago. I'm going to plead innocent on that charge, knowing that my heart is deceitful and wicked and that I might be justifying myself without reason.

But let me tell you about some points on which I'm not going to justify myself. First, I used extremely poor judgment in assuming that because I had divorced the ideas of my post from the specifics of the situation at hand, then the discussion could be about the ideas, not the personalities. I should have either stayed out of it or made my intentions to that effect crystal clear (of course, even that would not have worked because despite two protestations to make this about ideas, even this morning I see that another post has violated my request).

Second, I overestimated the obviousness of one key fact. In their comments, readers clearly made a connection to Bob; they did not make or discuss the equally valid connection between the "I" and GCC. Clearly, the "I" in my post is someone that I believe to have sinned, whether by action, inconsistency, or negligence. Some folks feel that that point is being forg and the debate is over the messenger. I do not think that either the offenders or the messenger should be overlooked, although every indication is that the offenders are responding wisely.

Finally, I used the term, "shepherding the universal church." A friend who is a friend because he's honest with me told me a few months ago that I "speak truth with a barb attached." Good call, SB. My choice of wording was my concise summary of Bob's stated intentions in his first post, but it was not a wise way to make my point. I don't agree with Bob's choice of method (and I've talked with him personally about that), but my choice to inject language capable of ratcheting up the emotion in the debate was wrong.

In these matters, I was wrong. I take James 3:1 seriously, and this time I blew it. I ask your forgiveness. (No need to post; I'll assume that you do unless you tell me otherwise.) And in the middle of the paragraph above I noticed that Bob has a new post, so I'm off to post a link to this apology there.

Thanks to all who were a help in this situation.

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