I Need My Mouth Washed With Soap...

Don't judge this comment just yet...

"Anonymous" Commented:

Hey Pete, I hope that your peity and language skills are of your own making, and not representative of the emergent church leadership as a whole. I wash my kids mouth out with soap for talking like that, and they would be ashamed that a man pursuing the pastoral ministry (which is what I will assume is your goal as a seminary student, until otherwise informed) is setting such an example for the people of God. Of course, I know it's not unique to you. I've heard plenty of other emergent church groupies not acting their age, and who use the fact that they have gotten away/"been liberated" from their parents' faith as a cover for gross indecency.I'm pretty dissappointed with what I see coming out of GFU's seminary, as well as with the blatant misrepresentations of Christian history and theology that Sweet passes off as being exciting scholarship. I'm glad that I took my M.Div. at Westminster Seminary in California, where serious study is still respected, and where godliness in the life of the future ministers of the church is still expected. Take care, and think about these things.


I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I know I'm a jerk. "Anonymous" is probably right about "Emergent groupies" too, and right that I've been guilty of being one. There needs to be more substance to these emerging conversations than "I'm willing to swear and drink and listen to secular bands" (see: Mark Driscoll).

I felt a little hurt and a little defensive of this feedback, until I went back and read the post "Anonymous" was commenting on: click here to read. You're right - I had forgotten I wrote such a crass and immature post. But that was 2 years ago! I've grown so much! Now, I can't say I wouldn't write something so ridiculous again, but you have every right to be disgusted! C'mon though, I'm having fun here! I love the Lord (really, I do) and I'm trying to figure out what my faith really looks like. And I'm honestly - WHOLEHEARTEDLY - seeking guidance through the Holy Spirit.

But yeah, I'm an immature jerk who listens to ego, acts on hubris, and revels in toilet humor too often.

I'll get better though. I'll grow. I promise. And the church isn't doomed by the likes of me. It's doomed by those who don't explore their faith and don't claim freedom (for better AND for worse) in the love and grace of God through Jesus Christ. It's doomed in quiet surrender to habit and comfort.

8 comments:

2Pete said...

P.S.
I hope my loudmouthery doesn't unfairly paint a less-than-ideal picture of George Fox Seminary. I am not a spokesperson for Fox, only a cheerleader. I have found there - not enabling or exacerbation - but grace. They've made room for me. They've loved me. And they've challenged me.

Perhaps, they've tolerated me as well.

But I would hate for their orthodoxy or "spirituality" to be judged unfairly, based on my impiety.

Len Sweet - well, he's far more articulate than I, and more than capable of defending himself.

wilsonian said...

I wouldn't be too worried. If anyone took the time to read more than one post, to read the way that you've lived practical love in Christ... well, they'd just keep their mouth shut.

caleb j seeling said...

dude, you crack me up. way to engage the right-wing anonymous people. love your banner, by the way...gives a whole new meaning to "the banner over me is love!"

jen said...

While the post being referred to by "anonymous" is not one of my favorites .... I wanted to stop reading the comment after the "washing mouths out with soap" line (so typical of the right-wing fundamentalist set to engage in soap torture), but I really had to stop reading once I saw that the word 'disappointment' had been misspelled. Guess that serious study at Westminster didn't focus too much on the fundamentals of the English language.

Seriously though. What a perfect example of just WHO and WHAT this generation is abandoning by walking away from the church.

P.S. If you have something to say, at least have the balls to use your name. Anonymity is such a cop-out. Don't lurk.

Adam J. Myer said...

Dear Pete,

I appreciate your sincerity in reflecting on that post. I realized after I had myself posted that I had been linked to a blog entry that was a bit past its prime. Sorry about that. I am glad to see the grace of Christ working in your life and bringing you to greater depths of Christian maturity (something that is truly important within the leadership of the Church, and something of which, I must admit, I wrestle with myself at times). I hope that your study of the Scriptures, as they testify of Christ and the grace of the Father to us by His work, continue to profit you long after your seminary studies have been completed.


To Wilsonian,

The Christian faith consists of more than just practical out-workings of love; it consists also in understanding doctrine, which is the ground of our practice. The apostles are quite clear on this (check out the Pastoral Epistles especially, regarding the foundational importance of leaders who are able to articulate, defend, and pass on sound doctrine to future generations within the Church). That being said, your final comment, in and of itself, shows that you possess neither a love of doctrine (attempting to subsume all under praxis), nor the "practical love of Christ" of which you speak. Sorry if that bugs you, but your words and theological goals are indeed conflicting here.


Jen,

What a perfect example of the angry little girl syndrome that I see in so many of your type. I have eight kids of my own, and have worked with foster care quite a bit, so it didn't really get under my skin. However, judging an institution by my own laziness in using a spell checker is indeed pretty lame. FWIW, I spoke with a graduate of GFU's seminary the other day, and was again not at all impressed by her theological understanding. While the ability of an individual student to articulate various parts of his theological education should not be considered a good measure by which to praise or damn an institution, it is when you run into several former students who all seem to be confused/antagonistic in the same areas it should give one pause. If you think that is a poor way to judge the soundness of a seminary's educational approach, feel free to email me at adamjmyer@gmail.com for my phone number, and we can speak in person. That is "if you have the balls" to do so after shaming yourself with your silly bravado. The only reason that I posted anonymously yesterday was due to my not noticing the option to post with name/URL.

I would contend that the Who and What that many of your type are walking away from in leaving the church is actually Christ and the Gospel. It is very difficult to find a sound presentation of His person and work in most of the emergent writings that I have read. There seems to be among your authors a failure to understand the basics of why certain theological articulations are of vital importance for the health of the Church, and also an unawareness (I would hope) that they are parroting stock arguments from yesterday's liberal Protestantism, as well as the writings of some feminist, process, and liberation theologians. All of these groups are unified in one thing - they reject a clear articulation and embrace of the Gospel as a propitiatory/expiatory, substitutionary atonement for the redemption of God's people, the authority of Scripture in the life of the Church, and a good grasp of historic Trinitarian theology.

Call me a right-wing Fundy if you want, but I would like to think that it is nothing less than historic Christianity (disregarding McLaren's superficial views of ecclesiastical and theological history - maybe "apostolic" would be a better term) upon which I am prepared to spend my life in its defense - because without it, there is no true life in Christ. Faith is not just a feeling or an act (although it is an act of the Holy Spirit whereby it is produced in us), but also an understanding of specific doctrines by which we are informed of who Christ is, what he has accomplished, and what that means for the Christian life. There is no healthy or durable Christian life w/o a knowledge of and belief in these things.

Of course the Church is never perfect, but I get the feeling that types such as yourself are letting a little too much of their post-pubescent rebelliousness get the better of them in making their evaluations. I have lived life a bit, been married for a good number of years, had a good number of children, served some strenuous years in the military, attended several undergraduate and graduate institutions (including part of my undergrad studies at GFU), and have been in the Church for most of my life. All that to say I have some perspective, and I have seen movements and angry young people come and go. If you don't like my comments, that's all right by me, but at least deal with them credibly and with the understanding that I'm not just a fellow twenty-something who is wet behind the ears. It does you a disservice.

I won't be posting anything else here, but again, you can reach me by email for a phone call if you still have steam to blow off.

In His Grace,

Adam

Sanctifunk said...

Wow, I am never going to seminary....anywhere! I do like the way you responded though, Pete. God can use strange ways to discipline us, but that just proves that you are His Son. Go on loving God, and it will all fall into place.

2Pete said...

Thanks for the kind words, everyone. Caleb, happy birthday!

Adam, thanks for stopping back in. I appreciate you lending your name, and elaborating on your thoughts. I appreciate your faith and fervor (reminds me of lots of Christians I know, emerging and otherwise...) and your passion as a father and a Christian.

As I've said before, one of my friends always reminds me: as soon as you become "anti-fundamentalist," you are one.

I've said plenty of ungracious things in my life, but I love Jesus and I love the Body of Christ - ALL of it. My greatest sorrow is that this sort of back-and-forth (maybe not THIS - this is actually pretty benign) is why the world rejects us. There is no love in attacking each other for differences of belief/opinion/theology and I see little love in the defense, either.

I am willing to give up everything - EVERYTHING - except my love for Jesus, for the sake of the world. The Apostle Paul was willing to give up his own salvation for the sake of others. Oh that we were so brave!

Thanks again for the dialogue. I'm sure we won't come to agreement in this dialogue, but I pray for grace in the areas you've pointed out that seem weak, shaky or irresponsible. I pray the same grace for you.

Blessings to you - and all the other visitors here - as we grapple with questions, fears, hopes, dreams, theologies - and work out our faith in fear and trembling.

Adam J. Myer said...

Grace to you as well, brother. There is not only a watching world out there, but, something often forgotten by us once we begin to dig into the realm of academic theology, there is also a real domain of darkness and a fellow by the name of Satan against whom the Church must also contend. That always helps put these sort of debates back into perspective.

Maintain your zeal and sincerity. It is too often that I have seen those important traits discouraged by others in various positions within the Church, and then given up by the very men from whom she could have most benefited. Keep them fresh by means of prayer, and through the understanding that you are first an foremost accountable to your Savior before your are beholden to the whims and various drifting egos of any church politics in which you may find yourself. Faithful service means faithful service to Christ before all else.

Blessings, and take care.

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