Blocking Blockheads

 

One of the questions I’ve been asked on several occasions is:

“What’s your personal policy on blocking people?”

Ah, good ol’ blocking. It’s like the ultimate insult on social media. It says, “Not only do I not want to be connected to you but I don’t want you to see, hear, or be a part of anything that has to do with me. EVER.”

Blocking

Let me answer the question in three parts.

1. Yes, I do block people. There are times when I simply don’t want people to have access to me or my timeline. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not a wild man when it comes to blocking. I rarely block anyone. Still, there are times…. I also understand that I am going to be blocked by others. It happens.

2. So what criteria do I use for blocking accounts?

~ Spam accounts get blocked as soon as I see them. I don’t care about my follower count dropping – if you’re trying to sell followers or products chances are I’m gonna block you if I see it.

~ People who are jerks. This category is obviously subjective, but it’s my account so I get to set my own rules. If you engage with me and are rude, discourteous, or aggressively abrasive right off the bat, don’t be surprised if you find yourself blocked. There is another group within the jerk category: people who think they are being funny/jokers but just come off as being rude. I like teasing people. I like being teased. But here’s the thing: permission to tease people usually comes with having some semblance of a relationship (even if it’s a digital relationship). There are a handful of people on social media that I welcome teasing from because of the friendship we have developed. If you just meet me and launch into teasing or making fun of me you’re gonna shut me down pretty quickly. So a word of advice: take time to develop rapport with people before you rip into them.

3. Finally, remember that your social media account is just that – YOURS! Follow whomever you will. Block whomever you will. Don’t feel bad about the way you run your account. Because people get tweaked about getting blocked they might complain publicly. WHO CARES?!? In the words of the inestimable Elsa, Queen of Arendelle:

Let It Go

How about you? What is your criteria for blocking people?

Using Kids as Pawns in Theological Battle

pawn1

The title sucks, I know. It’s long and dry – not the kind of click-bait social media craves and gets from Upworthy – but it’s what I want to talk about.

Every once in a while you’ll find someone online who has a special thing for criticizing a single person. It’s not always bad or negative. Sometimes the critic is going after an unscrupulous leader who seems to be untouchable. So the critic comes against the leader time and again in an effort to show people the truth. On Twitter you can see people do this against Fundamental Baptist leaders. I’ve had an occasional Tweet or dozen about Mark Driscoll under #DriscollSchoolofEthics

But in most of the cases I’ve seen, those of us who try to call attention to the dealings of people in power talk about the people themselves.

We don’t use their kids to attack them.

Unfortunately, we’ve just seen this very thing happen.

JD Hall has a special fixation on bringing to light the errors and misdeeds of Ergun Caner. I’m not an expert on the matter. I don’t personally know either man. Caner certainly seems suspect in some of his claims. From an outsider’s perspective, though, it seems Mr. Hall’s fixation goes beyond revealing Mr. Caner’s behavior – Hall is determined to ruin Caner.

Then yesterday it took an terrible turn.

When called on pulling Caner’s son into the fray, Hall defended himself with:

The problem as I see it is that Hall wasn’t calling out poor behavior in a young man for the sake of rebuking the young man or correcting his behavior. The only reason Hall for bringing a minor into the picture was as a launching pad to further his argument against Ergun Caner.

In a blog post defending himself, Hall writes:

Furthermore, there was no “attack.” There was no “going after.” Much of the vitriol was in response to the characterization of my tweet as an “attack” or “going after” a “child.” Again, consult the Twitter feed. There was no such thing. I pointed out public error – error that Caner himself should have pointed out to his son a long, long time ago.

Yet I doubt that Hall points out public error in all young men who do stupid things on social media. Rather, these remarks were directed towards the man he is intent on bringing down. The specificity of the error pointed out speak to the truth – that Hall is utilizing the actions of a minor as a springboard to further his attack on the father.

Hall claims 1 Timothy 3:4-5 as biblical grounds for using the son to attack the father:

4 He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, 5 for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? (ESV)

But Paul doesn’t really go into great detail about what this kind of parenting looks like or how to handle good, godly men and women who have children who behave poorly. No matter what we do as parents, children will ultimately walk their own path. Too often I have seen this very passage used to batter Christian parents.

It is poor justification for bringing the teen into the mess. The astounding immorality he refers to simply isn’t. The boy’s Twitter feed might have been scrubbed, but from what I see it is not astounding immorality. Hall is making mountains of molehills.

Don’t get me wrong – this is not a defense of Ergun Caner – this is a critique of JD Hall’s methods.

This should not have happened.

What do you think?

I’m Not Pro-Life and You Shouldn’t Be Either

Language is a very odd thing.

For example, you read the title of this post and probably jumped to conclusions that I am talking about the issue of abortion. The term “pro-life” has taken on a nuance all its own. One cannot use it apart for the abortion discussion anymore.

The other day I cam across a piece (for the life of me I can’t remember where) that said people like me who disagree with abortion but still believe in the death penalty should rather say, “I’m pro-birth.”

Well, that’s just ridiculous.

As I mentioned, the phrase has taken on a nuance all its own.

But for the sake of argument and to placate that person, fine – I’m not pro-life. I’m pro birth.

But I’m also for the death penalty, so I guess I’m pro-death…in certain circumstances…well, it’s complicated. No, “pro-death” is just stupid.

But I digress.

Most of the world knows about the execution of Oklahoma inmate Clayton Lockett. The media jumped all over the story and called it a “botched execution.”

But here’s the thing. Let’s look at the situation from a results-oriented perspective.

The desired result was the execution of a real gem:

Here’s an AP summary of his crimes, in addition to first-degree murder: “conspiracy, first-degree burglary, three counts of assault with a dangerous weapon, three counts of forcible oral sodomy, four counts of first-degree rape, four counts of kidnapping and two counts of robbery by force and fear.

I’m sorry – did I say gem? I meant scumbag.

So the desired result was putting this man to death. But if that’s the desired outcome, they seemed to succeed.

It wasn’t a botched execution. Perhaps they botched up trying to put the man to sleep before they put him to death, the but the execution achieved the desired results.

From a biblical point of view, I don’t have a problem with this.

There are certain things people do that God said (and society today STILL says), “Sorry, scumbag, but your behavior nullifies your right to take another breath.”

But…but…but…what about turning the other cheek? What about the love of Jesus?

Even Jesus showed righteous anger at scumbags. He never overturned the old Law. The stuff that pissed God off then still does now. If humanity is God’s image on earth (and the Bible says it is) then heinous crimes against humanity are really crimes against the creator.

And sometimes scumbags don’t deserve to be here any more.

And this is me getting off my soapbox…………

Are Atheist Activists Just Plain Mean?

Today’s post comes from a Twitter guest, @Ninja_Noise. Take it away, my man!

atheist-baby

I will start by saying that we are Americans and live in a free country. Everyone has the right to choose what they believe in or do not believe in. Every person must make their own choice about the existence of God. However, this does not give them the right to try to remove God or religion from everyone else’s life. I believe in God. I do not hate anyone because they do not believe in God. I feel sorry for those who do not believe, but I do not hate them. I do take offense when others try to hinder my ability to express my belief in the way I choose. Most non-believers and people of faith can get along. They can agree to disagree and even have friendly but lively discussions about faith. Neither side needs the government to hinder our way of life.

But why the title question, “Are Atheist Activists Just Plain Mean?” It separates atheists into two groups:

1. Atheists – People who choose to live a life of non-belief.

2. Atheist Activists (AA) – Non-believers who want to change the way others live their life.

Being an Atheist does not make you mean. An Atheist trying to remove God and religion from everything should ask themselves, “Am I just being mean?”.

Why should atheist care if others believe in God? According to atheists, God does not exist. Why does something that does not exist cause them so much trouble? Why does belief in God bother an activist, especially when they think believers are ignorant, superstitious, or unenlightened? The atheist activists should just shake their heads, feel sorry for the believer, and then go on with their lives. We all know people who do or believe ignorant things. How does someone believing in God affect non-believers any more than believing Elvis is still alive, flying around on a spaceship with Bigfoot. According to Atheist Activists they are both equally ridiculous to believe in.

Atheist Activists argue, “What about children? Believers are forcing their values on their children.” Yet Atheist Activists are forcing THEIR values on believer’s children when they do not allow others to talk about God. Activists may ask, “How do I explain to my child why she shouldn’t bow her head when other kids pray?” Atheists have to teach their child their own beliefs or non-beliefs.

I have to try to teach my children why I believe the way I do. I have to show the reasons I believe what I believe. I have to trust that I have taught them well enough to follow in my beliefs. Atheist parents should do the same. All children are subject to outside influences. I would rather have my child influenced to think that there may be a God than influenced to take drugs, skip school, or steal. These negative influences are aimed at our children whether we are Christian or Atheist.

Do Atheist Activists tell their children that Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny are not real? Wait, they probably do. That seems a little mean. By the way, Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny have nothing to do with the religious celebration of these holidays. So please leave them alone. Singing Frosty the Snowman will not make your child a Christian. How about the Tooth Fairy? Is it ok for the child of an Atheist Activist to believe that this person exists? Remember, you’re an atheist. To you God is not real either.

And what is wrong with prayer? According to the Atheist Activists it is a waste of time. No one is there to hear. Christians may be superstitious or ignorant for believing in it but how does this hurt atheist. What is wrong with prayer if it brings me comfort, if it helps me through hard times in my life, if it helps me to make sense of things when it seems the world has gone crazy? Why do activists want to take this away from believers? That just seems mean. Would you take a placebo pill away from a patient and tell them, “It’s just made of sugar it can’t help you?” Even if it doesn’t really work, it is making them feel better. Why don’t you want others to be happy?

If Atheist Activists do not want to believe in God that is their right. But, the next time they see a cross, or the Ten Commandments, or a Star of David they should ask themselves why these things bother them so. They are only symbols. Symbols of things they don’t even think are real. Do they feel this way when they see the Tooth Fairy or Bigfoot? Are they just mean people who don’t want others to find happiness where they can? Maybe the trouble is that these symbols stir a little something inside of them? Do they start to hear that little voice in the back of their mind or heart say, “What if God does exist?” There’s no need to fight these things because they are not real.

ARE THEY?

 

You’re #NotReallySaved.

salvation

So it started like this: an Anon friend of mine made a comment that he was going to go watch a Dexter marathon.

I jokingly said, “You say you’re a Christian but you watch those terrible shows. You must not really be saved.”

Then inspiration hit me.

Let’s face it ~ we’re masters at belittling the salvation and faith of those who don’t fit our own mold of what it looks like to be a Christian.

Then the game took off like wildfire. Dozens of people jumped in and came up with hundreds of ways we belittle others’ salvation. Here’s but a small sample of some of the things we came up with.

The list went on and on. In fact, people are still playing it today! Some are jokes (and quite funny). Some are serious. It’s clear to me that many people have been hurt by others who claim to be Christian but, for whatever reason, don’t allow certain behaviors to be part of their theological circles.

Most of the list really comes down to this:

And that’s a shame. The Bible is actually not as black-and-white about all of these side issues as Christians are. Salvation really comes down to faith in Jesus. Can you smoke weed and have a saving faith in Jesus? Can you vote a certain political party and have a saving faith in Jesus?

I think so.

In the end the “You’re not really saved” lists that we all have come down to us – what we dislike or disapprove of. Don’t get me wrong – the Bible does talk about sin and Christian behavior. But we seem to add a lot of things to the lists.

Won’t we be surprised when we reach eternity and find people who didn’t live the way we wanted them to live?

If you’ve ever had your salvation doubted because of this or other issues – I’m sorry. Christians mean well (usually) but we have a horrible way of judging anything that doesn’t fit our mold.

And if you’ve ever doubted or questioned the salvation of someone else because of some behavior you disapproved of it’s time to repent. The condition of someone’s salvation is really up to God.

How Bad Can I Be and Still Be a Xian?

Image courtesy of fotographic1980 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of fotographic1980 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

We are masters at justifying our behavior. If we REALLY want something then we will find a way to convince our brains and our hearts that it is okay to do it. Those of us who are really slick and have a little bit of the Bible tucked away in our heads will bring up Scripture to justify our behavior.

The Apostle Paul once heard a report from the church in the city of Corinth that blew his mind. It seems that one of the church members had an affair with his father’s wife. The church was so proud of their liberty and freedom and openness. Paul was not proud. Instead, he wrote:

Shouldn’t you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this? (1 Corinthians 5:2)

I would guess that a good many of us have never tried to get frisky with our step mothers, there are other areas in our lives where we do what we want to do even when we know we shouldn’t be doing it.

Someone once talked to me about the two types of Xians: law-driven people and grace-driven people. When it comes to justifying our behavior we all suddenly turn into grace-driven Xians, promoting God’s grace above all else.

“God’s grace covers all.”

Paul had to fight this mentality from the church in Rome. His response:

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? (Romans 6:1-2)

Don’t get me wrong – I’m a big believer in God’s grace. If God were not gracious with us we’d all be toast. But we must walk that line between receiving grace and abusing grace.

Grace does not give us carte blanche to sin and willfully make unrighteous decisions. Grace does offer to catch us when we fall. Grace helps us get back on track. But as we grow in our faith and in our relationship with God, our new life should pull us away from the old behavior into a new way of doing things. It’s spiritual maturity. Paul continues:

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires….For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law but under grace. (Romans 6:11-14)

Remember when you fell in love for the first time? Most of us will go through a lot in order to change ourselves so that we can be the perfect partner for the one we love (many young people foolishly pretend to be something other than what they really are, and that will blow up later). The point is this – grace isn’t about abusing the freedom God has given us. It’s not a get out of jail free card to continue making evil choices. Grace should be drawing us in a closer relationship with God to the point where we WANT to be different.

It’s not about “How bad can I be and still be a Xian?”

It’s about “How much do I love Jesus, and what am I willing to do to belong to him?”