You may have noticed it’s been quiet here at Cerulean Sanctum of late, with fewer posts spread farther and farther apart.
Fact is, I’m exhausted.
Anyone who has ever been a caregiver will understand. I’ve been in that role for a couple years now. It’s not one that comes naturally to me; nor is it a role I requested. I’m sure it will not last forever, but right now it is hard. I’ve had to pull back from nearly everything I’ve been involved in.
A select few readers know the situation, but it’s not one for public forums.
To add to this, I’ve been receiving a greater than average number of private emails calling into question what shows up on the pages of Cerulean Sanctum. Increasingly, the tone is angry.
I’ve mulled over those emails. I take every email I receive seriously, whether it be positive or negative. I’ve enclosed one such negative email below:
Subject: Are You the Next Phil Johnson?
You are rapidly approaching that stage of self-exaltation where you’re so convinced of your own righteousness that you can’t hear anything from anybody. If you want an example of that kind of vanity and arrogance, how about the original Pyro-narcissist, Phil Johnson? Have you written your own bio for Wikipedia yet, Dan? How about printing up tee-shirts or coffee mugs? Wouldn’t it be so great if everyone could have a cup of Cerulean Sanctum while they’re online?
And with your Feedburner badge proudly proclaiming how many readers subscribe, have you considered the effect you might be having on all the younger brethren in that total? You’re slowly poisoning their faith, day after day, week after week, turning them into chronic complainers like yourself, and making them confirmed cynics and pessimists.
Have you considered how you might embolden some of these weaker brothers and sisters to do things their uneasy consciences might otherwise keep them from doing? “Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak … When you sin against your brothers in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ.” (1 Cor. 8:9-13)
Have you thought about the possibility that you could even be the blogosphere’s next Michael Spencer? (i.e., check out early) “Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” (James 3:1) You’re definitely opinionated, just as Michael was, but no more qualified to speak on many of the subjects you comment on. And your vanity can be downright embarrassing.
While you’ve been building this Tower of Babel (or babble) known as CS, have you considered that the Lord may “come down” (Gen. 11:5-9) to dismantle what you’ve built and scatter your followers? (i.e., to more qualified teachers more in line with His purposes)
One thing is as sure as the law of gravity. “For whoever exalts himself will be humbled.” (Matt. 23:12) I don ‘t think you even know what spirit controls you, and it’s going to take a hard fall to jar you back to reality (if it’s not too late for that to happen). And if you think the only alternative to your approach is some kind of Boy Scout righteousness, that just confirms how little depth you really have.
You need to take my advice. You need to seek counseling (cf. my previous comment on CS) and think about getting down from your soapbox for awhile, for everyone’s sake, including your own.
Paul Overall (you’re a smart guy, but in case you didn’t get it … a pall over all you write about)
I posted that because I think it’s a fair example of what has happened to rebuke among Christian brothers and sisters.
The anonymity of the Internet and the general breakdown of our culture that has accompanied it has turned us all into angry people. Worse, too many of us consider ourselves crusaders against this or that.
At the risk of further creating cynical, pessimistic young believers, I want to say that we American Christians can’t let our discourse keep plummeting into angry prophet mode, especially when it carries no winsomeness at all. We seem to have become a people known only for what we oppose and those whom we rebuke. We are not so much about being light but being antidarkness.
This blog exists because I routinely encountered fellow believers who had been in the Church for years and wondered if what they were experiencing was the fullness of what it means to be in the Body of Christ. What I kept hearing them say was “something is not right.” Many couldn’t put their finger on the lack because so much of what they had become was not about being the light, but being antidarkness. And sometimes, one can’t reason to the light simply from the position of antidarkness. Yet in far too many cases, that is all that we have given Christians in America.
The question Can we do better? fuels this blog. It’s the entire reason Cerulean Sanctum exists. I believe with all my heart that the Church in North America CAN do better. We CAN be more than we have been. We CAN be a more fulfilling community, one that models light more than it does antidarkness.
The only way to get to that light is to show what the light looks like. That’s not an easy task for those accustomed mostly to being antidarkness. It’s The Matrix all over again, being trapped in a pseudoreality and looking beyond it to what is geniune and real.
When I attended Wheaton College, I was in a New Testament overview class taught by a brilliant professor. I wanted to mine his wisdom, so I asked questions in class. I posed some tough issues and he gave mindblowing responses that I found life altering. After a while, it dawned on me that I was always the only person asking questions; most of the class just sat there.
One day, I was approached by a big guy from the class who threatened to punch me out if I asked anymore questions. True story.
That metaphor strikes me when it comes to where we are in American Christianity as we near 2011. I fear that too many of us not only hate the questions, but we can’t stand the answers, either. We have become a status quo people who do not want to be broken out of whatever reverie we’ve created for ourselves.
In short, too many of us don’t care about improving anything, much less the way the Church functions. As long as we have a paycheck and can buy stuff, put our kids through some elite school, and retire in peace, stop bothering us with questions. And answers bug us too.
I keep wondering what it is going to take to shake us. But then, it’s not as if any of this is new. I was reading through a portion of Jeremiah a couple weeks ago and the folks of that day complained just as mightily about having their reverie questioned.
I make no pretenses to being a prophet. I’m just a bystander in this life, watching the world go by, and wondering why some things are the way they are. Given what I have seen, too many of us never get past being a bystander. We’re cool with that role. Leave the wondering to troublemakers. And get the troublemakers out of our churches too.
Cerulean Sanctum is NOT going away, but I am going to take a break for the month of December.
What I feel God is saying to me personally is to get away from all the complexity of what we Americans have made of the Faith and get back to the simple core. What’s scary is a lot of us American Christians don’t want the simple core, either. The greatest two commandments, to love God and love our fellow man, are answers we don’t want to hear, because in hearing them, everything in our lives must change, everything down to our very own core. And the status quo is SO much easier, even if there is no genuine life in it.
See you in January.
69 thoughts on “Angry Prophets, Reader Rebuke, and Simple Faith”
Well, I’ll be back here on January 1st with great expectation. Your posts get me thinking and dreaming of what could be. Oh that the church might resemble, say, Paul’s teaching in Ephesians.
How will that happen? As you continue in your caring role. Loving those that God has placed you amongst. Keep up the good work in your family life and your internet life. It is not in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58).
Sorry to hear about the criticism, Dan. I don’t agree with every point you make, but I certainly do appreciate hearing your perspective on the issues facing the north american church. I hope you don’t stop questioning, and you’re absolutely right about the overwhelming importance of the core; love for God and for others.
Hang in there!
Solid criticism doesn’t bother me. I wouldn’t be who I am without criticism, so I welcome godly criticism. I consider every statement that reputable Christians make regarding this site or my own personal walk with the Lord. I readily admit when I am wrong. But criticism that affirms that perhaps God will strike me down unless I stop writing…that bothers me.
And questioning the status quo , even in the Church, should be welcomed. The Hellenists came to the apostles and said that their widows were being neglected. Did the apostles throw up their hands and lash out? No, they corrected the problem. We can learn so much from that example—and it doesn’t have to descend into cynicism. Cynicism is in the heart of those who want to embrace it, not in those who are humble.
For every one of those angry emailers I have no doubt there are a hundred or so who are fruitfully impacted by the challenges you lay out in this blog. Problem is, I guess those who are encouraged, like myself, are an all too silent majority. I regret that I have not taken the time to show my appreciation recently, succumbing to and contributing to a general famine of encouragement in our times.
I pray that your month in the background really is a means of greater grace for you and enables you to reconnect with the “simple core”.
Will be in touch and keeping you in prayer. Looking forward to seeing you here again next month if that is where it leads.
People who are out doing the actual work of the Gospel are busy. That’s not a hard one to understand. Be blessed.
The email I enclosed is correct in that the Internet makes it easy to gather to oneself admirers, and even their souped-up equivalent, fanboys (and fangirls). I’ve never felt that was the case here at Cerulean Sanctum. The readers here have always seemed like their own people and never fans of Dan. I much prefer that we all stay open to whatever the Spirit says instead, and that may mean course corrections that fanboys never want to make. I know what that lockstep agreement is like on other blogs, but there’s no evidence it exists here.
Perhaps your email critic could post a link to his blog so that we can read it during December.
Yes, Don, except we don’t know who he is. I wish I could find all the biblical instances of people on the right side of God’s will hiding under the shadow of pseudonyms and altered identities, but the examples I can best remember have all been negative (such as King Saul, Abraham, and Peter). That seems to have gone forgotten amidst all this. That said, I do appreciate those self-identified readers who have offered personal emails with helpful criticism or rebuke.
I never cease to be amazed by all the angry, and sadly, mostly young male “evangelicals” that pull this stuff on blogs they read. Frankly, if you are that angry when reading a blog, why read it? I’ve never understood it. There certainly are sarcastic blogs similar to yours but I don’t find you ever to be sarcastic in the vein I mean. You are bringing out very Biblical concepts that are just not being practiced today by churches and even many American Christians. Please do keep on writing this blog. I check it every single day and have done so for years.
I think the anger comes from an Us vs. Them mentality that sees Them as poisoning all that is good. The older I get, the more I understand that you can’t change Them. God may, but my response is to seek that He might change me first. Us needs Jesus as much Them.
I’m really sorry to see that. If any of my 5 regular readers sent me that kind of email… well, I suppose it would be a higher level of audience participation than I’m used to for starters, but other than that I’d feel pretty shaken. I’m not pretending that I agree with all of what you write, but the label “prophet” does fit and the church needs people to do what you’re doing, say what you’re saying. I admire that you can manage to remain within the mainstream church and engage constructively on so many levels, particularly in the face of this kind of stuff.
Anyway… loving those who curse you and all that, I can think of no better way to bless your correspondent than by donating his email address to as many adservers as possible so he can receive news of all the great joys that American consumerism has to offer 🙂
I hope you have a peaceful Advent and joyful Christmas.
Thanks. But no one has to be a prophet to wake up, see the red sky at morning, and know that a storm is coming.
Dan, enjoy your December blog sabbatical. You have earned it. And know that such vitriolic opposition means that what you are writing is effective in getting under some people’s skin. To this anonymous emailer – the fruit of the Spirit is manifestly absent in your email. Does that not signify a problem?
Totally agree with you Wendy that I observed not one shred of evidence that the anonymous emailer was under the influence of the Holy Spirit. The very fact that the emailer remained anonymous is imho evidence of cowardice. So, this vitriolic tirade says so much about the emailer. May the Lord have mercy upon him/her.
For what it’s worth, you have a place in my feed because I consider your blog to have unbiased, unvarnished opinions. Like Diane R above, why would someone continue to visit your site if they are that upset? Please keep it up.
Tyson, I appreciate your readership.
Gah! It’s been bugging me that I used the wrong word, “unbiased.” Of course you have bias, but it’s intellectually honest bias. Whew … now I can sleep better.
I just want to encourage you to keep writing at a pace you feel comfortable with. CS is one of my favorite blogs. I find it really thought and prayer provoking.
I’ve wanted to get back to the simple core of the faith, too, but I don’t really know how.
You start by learning to dismiss what anyone else thinks concerning what the Lord is asking of you. That will probably be the first blog post of the New Year.
Count me as another person who doesn’t always necessarily agree with you on everything but sees this blog as one of the absolute best things written by a Christian on the internet.
I have shared many of your posts with my pastors and friends. They are that good.
By the way, I hope you don’t take that negative email to heart. Too often the enemy’s attack at us comes thru the most perplexing of sources-another believer! I have had the same experience, and it is hurtful, but hey, sometimes it’s simply confirmation you are doing something right. 😉
Looking forward to January….
I’m not letting the email bother me. In fact, some things in it are right on. It just came at a time when I’m tired and don’t have the emotional energy to deal with the rest of it.
My best guess is that you must be doing something right, “for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”
I’ve been getting more negative criticism recently than ever before, but I think it’s mostly because I’ve been trying to sacrifice some sacred cows in my church fellowship … practices like condemning accompanied worship and confidently stating that the Holy Spirit indwells the believer only in the form of memorized scripture.
I come here, Dan, because I find a balanced view of prophecy and other spiritual gifts, which so many in my fellowship just flat-out deny. I have to agree with several above: for every unChristlike critic you hear from, there are probably a hundred lurkers like me who are being blessed and guilty of not thanking God often enough for siblings in Christ like you – and letting you know that we are grateful.
I hope you enjoy a refreshing sabbatical from your blog and pray that God strengthens you in your inner being to love and cherish the one to whom he has entrusted the benefit of your grace and caregiving.
Thanks for being a longtime reader.
Church people hate being challenged. The older I get, the more I see how status quo we are. Even the visionaries in our churches have their feet solidly planted in a prescribed way of doing things. We talk about freedom in Christ, yet we are sometimes bolted to the floor of whatever our preconceptions are.
I’m the last person to challenge doctrine. The worst truth, though, is that some challenge tradition and immediately it’s perceived as challenging doctrine. We’ve equated the two, and that’s a horrendous error. But extracting our own cultural add-ons from what is the core truths of Christianity is maddeningly difficult. It’s that Matrix red pill / blue pill conundrum. We can take the blue pill and be safe or the red one, which will then force us to question everything (the sacred cows).
Here’s the funny thing: The Holy Spirit is the one who made the red pill. He wants us to be countercultural, to beat the system, to take the narrow road, to see what others can’t see. The radicalness of what He offers changes everything. “And such were some of you” means that anything is possible, that we are not chained by the past. And that goes beyond our past sins to our past thinking. Old things have passed away; all things are new.
I can’t think of anything more exciting.
Wasn’t it G. K. Chesterton who said “Break the conventions, keep the commandments?”
Chesterton was that most Protestant of Roman Catholics, wasn’t he? I wish we had a few more like him around to stir up our churches. The man practically oozed pithy commentary.
Some might say he was the best of Catholics among Catholics too. (wink)
Keep your chin up!
May the God of peace refresh and restore you during this time.
I’m a fairly new reader to CS. I like it because it’s like a mirror, forcing me to look at my beliefs & what I do.
When I look in a real mirror and see the effects of my own gluttony it does me no good to lash out at the mirror.
When others look in your mirror and see things they don’t like they have two options. Change what is in themselves, or get mad at you about it. It seems that for those who’s flaw is intellectual laziness getting angry is far easier. (I stop here to go back and capitalize all my sentences, since I’ve just opened myself to criticizm of my grammar by the words “intellectual laziness”);)
Enjoy your sabbatical, I hope you keep writing.
Questioning is a way of sifting the true from the false. The true will stand up under questioning, the false will not.
Thanks for being a reader, Heidi! Sorry to check out for a month just as you start reading. Check out the sidebar for the Best of Cerulean Sanctum links. There’s a ton of challenging posts there. I plan to keep writing, but I need a break to recharge the batteries and stay on top of business obligations.
Perhaps you should hang it up for awhile. I’m sorry that you’re experiencing the caregiver weariness that you do, but your utter disdain of gay people, alone, might be good reason to corroborate the original Paul’s question. Such weary straw-man exegesis – ‘general revelation’ indeed. If the presence of teenage gay prostitutes and weary old gay men is enough to condemn gay people, then perhaps all us dudes should cut our d**ks off. But perhaps you haven’t seen what I have with heterosexual child sex tourism in Thailand or Sierra Lionne – or Los Angeles or Kansas City.
When, oh when, will we learn to be more compassionate people, and not use Scripture as a veneer for our hate and revulsion? We were wrong about slavery, segregation, and women as property – perhaps we need to hang the bible-as-idol up and listen to the movement of Spirit.
Peace to you in your sabbatical.
A book suggestion:
I’m glad you mentioned this book, Dan. I was just about to when I saw you have already. 🙂
Alright. I’ll check it out.
And a suggestion for you that I found whilst browsing last week: http://bit.ly/gayandchristian
I’m very sorry you’ve had to deal with these awful people.
In times past I’ve happened to see comments I wrote that were a few years old and had some regrets over what I wrote. But I have become a little bit more considerate over the years.
Please do not weigh his opinions so heavily ( after all you did give him a lot of your valuable blog space). What people such as your readers care about is more important than what the disagreeable rant about.
On the lighter side, maybe this would be a good opportunity to this on its head. I remember a radio talk show host who would gleefully read his own hate mail!
And to Mr. Anonymous, and I know you’re reading this because of your vanity.
You owe Dan an apology. You are not brave but are a coward. I see in this world very few people who would PUBLICALLY take a courageous stand against someone who is wrong.
“Paul Overall” is entitled to his opinion. I posted the letter because I thought it was instructive. I don’t get many like that, but I do get them. And even though the letter fails to be a proper kind of rebuke, I still hear it. I am not above rebuke; we all need correction. The humble heed it, but the proud blow it off. I don’t blow off any rebuke I receive. It all matters.
Yikes! Press on, brother. (After taking the break.)
I may not comment as often as I once did, but I read all your posts – and am often nailed by your insight.
And I am disgusted by “Paul Overall’s” inference that the iMonk’s death was God’s punishment for Michael’s writing.
The iMonk comment got me too. That’s the part that sank the rebuke for me. It’s the main reason I posted the email.
Hi Dan! That was the thing that baffled me too. Reminds me of another scene: the prodigal son asking his inheritance to his father.
May the prodigals come home!
Where do I start? I read CS–and send links to friends–because iron sharpens iron and I often need a good sharpening. I appreciate your reminders and wake up calls. The funny thing is, some of the questions you ask will lead all of us to different answers and different solutions in our own lives. Some of your posts are spot-on, what I need for the day. Other times, it is interesting, but not something that affects me at that moment. At any time, if I became offended, I could stop reading. There are thousands of blogs I don’t read, that I never would ever read. Some are boring, some are outside my interest, there are many reasons. If you challenge my beliefs, I should open my Bible and figure out which one of us is correct. I can pray, I can consult my pastor, I can get with other believers and sort it out.
Enjoy your rest, take care of yourself. Whomever you are caring for needs you to be well and whole and clear minded. I encourage you to take breaks and refresh yourself–helps you be a better caregiver. Don’t take it all on yourself because when you wear out, you do a lousy job. Well, in general, I don’t know you :), but you know what I mean.
Thanks for all you do. May the LORD bless you and keep you…
Yes, I too am finding that one-size-fits-all solutions do not always work in the Body of Christ. It’s why my Christian Education finale was so unspecific. I had lots of specific answers, but the Lord really impressed on me that people have to seek Him and learn to listen to the Holy Spirit to find more specific answers unique to each church’s need.
The one thing about this blog that makes me truly encouraged is that the readers come from many denominations and sects, yet somehow we manage to get along (for the most part). That’s rare in the blogosphere, and almost unheard of for a blog that tackles challenging and controversial issues. I’m also encouraged that there is no fanboy or fangirl presence here, as I’ve seen that mentality lead to beat-downs of opposing viewpoints. That doesn’t happen here, and I thank God for it.
Don’t let the dufflepuds get you down.
“Dufflepuds” – now that’s a keeper!
Sounds almost Narnian…
We’ve got to do better than this when it comes to rebuke. Aside from it’s mean-spiritedness and complete lack of personal connection(anonymity, emailed) it’s totally devoid of content. It makes an accusation, and then lets it hang there with no support. Just “lofty speech.”
Well, Dan, keep up the good work, and blessings on your sabbatical.
Thanks for writing.
I think the general anxiety in our country is such that few people can receive any kind of correction. For this reason, both rebuke and the reaction to it have gone off the deep end. We all want to justify ourselves (or unjustify others) so as to look good. It’s why my first post in January will probably be about Christian freedom. How do freedom and self-justification go together? Well, you’ll have to stay tuned. 😉
I’m so glad you’re going to take some time and just be still with God. Having been in the caregivers role, I know how exhausting it can be.
It’s sad that believers so often fall into carnality when we disagree. I pray that God will give you “Holy Unconcern” for those comments that are not from Him and the humility to accept any corrections that are His, regardless of the packaging. May he fill you with an awareness of His love for you bless you as you seek Him for renewal. I’ll look forward to checking back in January.
I’ve been wanting to email you for months now to let you know how much I appreciate what you do here. After this post I decided to let you know publicly. It encourages me to know that my church is not the only church that’s missed the point. I often forward your posts to others to encourage them too.
Thank you again bother and rest well this month,
Wow. I’m one of those silent readers who rarely posts responses, but as I read your post today I hurt a little bit for you. As a fellow blogger, I understand putting yourself out there for the world to see in the blogosphere. As someone on the fringes of church, I am often amazed to see how easy it is for Christians to inflict anger toward one another. The Bible shouldn’t be used as a weapon. It’s a tool, a compass, a light to show the way for to move toward living a more loving and caring existence. That’s the goal. To be co-laborers with Christ in building a loving church that will draw people to God. So, why aren’t we Christians busy doing that? Why do we spend so much time tearing down everyone who disagrees with us and so little time building up mercy, love, patience, and Grace? I gotta tell you, it only makes people outside of the church run in the opposite direction. I wonder if we have reduced the beauty of Christ’s message into a list of rules and regulations that must be adhered to–or else. Jesus did say that the way was narrow, but maybe he meant that the way was narrow because we are so hardened against loving one another.
May your holidays be blessed and may God bring you rest and peace the way He did the prophet Elijah who sat under a tree and was ministered to by an angel of the Lord.
I praise God for you and your ministry because you are a voice of faith, reason, and wisdom. I am blessed most often by your wisdom. You are a profound observer of the world, as well as the church with most excellent critiques that make sense of this chaotic world. You, my friend, are able to put in eloquent words what many of us are feeling inside but can’t quite articulate as well. I urge you to “keep on keeping on.” I pray for you, that during this month of sabatical you are able to be re-energized and find peace.
As for the sad rhetoric of Paul Overall and the likes, I pity these folks for they have not found the absolute joy and love that comes from knowing Christ and his inspiring Word. I pray for Paul that he is able to set himself aside and take on Christ. I sense jealousy and bitterness more than the love of Christ. Sure, we will have to correct our brothers and sisters in the body at times, but it is always to be done in gentleness and love. That email possesses neither. It imposes more of an attitude of totalitarianism and self-righteousness that has invaded much of our Church.
You mentioned reading Jeremiah. Now as I am working on a Masters of Theology I always look back at one class for my undergrad that stands out to me over and against all the other Bible classes I have taken. The class was “The Prophets of Israel” but we mainly focused on Jeremiah. Though you are nothing like him in most ways (given that you don’t live in 7th-6th c Judea, with no family and a scribe of your own) there is a sense about your message that is indeed like him. You boldly confront the temple cult that has become more of an institution than a house for the presence of God (c.26). You are looking for the Spirit and not just the sacrifices and offerings of an idolatrous people (6:20). A Spirit that loves and yet fears God. A Spirit of unity yet not compromise. Although their may be many who oppose your Godly message like Hananiah did against Jeremiah (c.28), there are many of us (like the house of Shaphan; c.36) who heed the words you write and speak because we sense the Spirit in your words. We recognize his voice (John 10:4).
Thank you! You are a blessing!
Perhaps this anonymous and cowardly rebuker of you and the Internet Monk has forgotten, with his dire predictions, this scripture found in Isaiah:
57:1 The righteous man perishes,
and no one lays it to heart;
devout men are taken away,
while no one understands.
For the righteous man is taken away from calamity;
Perhaps it is just the malefactors who remain on the earth. I know I have not always agreed with the I-Monk, just as I have not agreed with you about Paul Miller or Christian Education, but both of your blogs are convicting and thought provoking. I am haunted in my own blogwriting by Michael Spencers Final Apologetic,in which he writes:
“We need to remember that each day dying people are waiting for the word of death and RESURRECTION.
The are a lot of different kinds of Good News, but there is little good news in “My argument scored more points than you argument.” But the news that “Christ is risen!” really is Good News for one kind of person: The person who is dying.
If Christianity is not a dying word to dying men, it is not the message of the Bible that gives hope now.
What is your apologetic? Make it the full and complete announcement of the Life Giving news about Jesus.”
Those are fine words to consider during a Sabbatical. Grace and Peace to you in your break from writing, Dan Edelen.
I just discovered this blog, and I can already hardly wait to catch up in January. Sincerely thought provoking, honest, vulnerable, and certainly aimed at accessing Biblical truth. A knowledge only accessed through experiencing God.
I have added this blog to my blogroll–not sure of Blogger Etiquette, so I thought I would at least inform you! Again, thanks for sharing!
I can understand and relate. I have reached a point of feeling overwhelmed, have God stirring stuff in my own soul and have trouble getting back to writing. Granted my audience is far smaller but am cognizant of what happens when I go quiet. I am not in a caretaker role per say but am filled with pain in those I care about around me.
I find that sadly one thing exists. Many people would rather argue than engage in true meaningful fellowship. Others obsess over one false teaching or another and paint a broad swath. Recently at times personally within small group when I make comments and begin to see eyes begin to glaze over it can feel like am I all alone in this journey with God, yet at the same time be all aware of my human fraility and need to turn to varied “mind numbing” entertainments. I hope God is growing you deeper in this time.
Wow, whoever the person was with that e-mail needs to cut back on the caffeine. I don’t always agree with you, but I agree with you on the things that count. Keep doing what you are doing.
Clearly spoken from a core of love.
Being a caregiver is draining in itself.
Enjoy your sabbatical and rest. We’ll be here waiting for your return!
Being a person who usually in a room of stoic listeners — I can relate to asking!
Quoth: “…how about the original Pyro-narcissist, Phil Johnson? Have you written your own bio for Wikipedia yet, Dan? How about printing up tee-shirts or coffee mugs?”
Wow, did Phil Johnson really do all that? To increase my blog traffic, I guess I need to have some tee-shirts and coffee mugs made and start selling them online.
Have a nice vacation.
Who’s Phil Johnson? Seriously, I don’t know, and I don’t care to Google whoever he is.
“Us needs Jesus…” You’ve got that right! 🙂 Dan, I’ve been reading you off and on for a few years, and I really appreciate the job you do hear. You write thought-provoking stuff, and you write well. Also, you seem to have a humble heart, although I’m sure you have your struggles as do we all. Anyway, I just wanted to say that I appreciate what you are doing here. God bless you, brother. “Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.” Eph. 6:10
I just came across your blog today for the first time and want to be one of those who encourage you to keep on keeping on. I believe very strongly that there is a derth of those who really want to hear “thus saith the Lord” in this wicked and perverse generation. Whether you are a prophet or not is of little consequence as long as you continue to speak truth in love even if that truth seems harsh to some or even self-righteous to others.
Our Lord himself said; “Is the servant greater than his master? If they hated me they will hate you also.” When we testify to the world that its works are evil and we confront the Laodaecian Church of this generation with truth we should expect the same results that would come if a light were suddenly turned on in a dark room. Those sitting in darkness immediately shield their eyes because the light hurts.
Some will rush to the light switch to turn off the light and curse the one who turned it on. Others will be grateful that there is light so they can see the others in the room and the room itself more clearly.
I encourage you to pay a visit to my personal/ministry/book site at http://kingdom-biz.net where you might find that we are kindred spirits concerning the need to look beyond this life and into the endless ages of eternity and ask God to impress eternity on our hearts and lives so we might have a sense of urgency in reaching backslidden Christians and the lost before we all stand face-to-face with our Creator.
God bless you as you continue to seek and serve him and live to bring glory and honor to his name. It is the only calling in life for those who truly love him! Please leave me some feedback or email me with your views on my web site. I can stand constructive criticism if it is necessary as you can.
In Christ’s Service;
Rick Shaffer aka C R Lord
I’m a fan of the blog. I read this today and I hope it will encourage you. It talks about one church doing what you often encourage: letting go of the “american dream” for the sake of the gospel. Merry Christmas to you and yours, and God bless.
I just happened across your blog because I had been doing a bit of research on Hannah Whitall Smith and happened across across Kevin DeYoung’s “Andy Naselli on Hannah Whitall Smith’s Unhappy Life” where you made an excellent comment.
What you said above struck my heart like a sword… “I fear that too many of us not only hate the questions, but we can’t stand the answers, either”. That has been my experience for most of my Christian life. Even more so now that my beliefs center around a 1 Cor 15:27-28 “universalism”. (As I’m sure you can imagine. smile)
What you’re saying in this post speaks to my heart almost word for word. I am 56, married 36 years, 3 grown and gone sons, a Christian for 26 years… and have also come to the bottom line of Jesus summing up the message of the law and prophets with, Love.
And it’s become “get Love, receive Love, know Love, become one with Love, (ie God who is Love/Agape)… BE walking, talking, breathing, moving Love” ever since for me. That it’s only in becoming one with Him Who is Love in the now of time/space that means anything to me at this point… having walked many paths to get here… “co-pastor’s wife” being the biggie He used to not so gently knock a few brain cells in order.
I am so looking forward to reading your blog, Dan. I do wish, though, that we could share our life’s true needs more frequently (ie your caretaking issues), for prayer and support. After all, aren’t these the things that matter most in this life… the down and dirty, nitty gritty real stuff?
A very public teacher/speaker emailed his list recently to let us know he had gotten a divorce this year (not his will, hers). And yet, not once did he ask any of us for prayer in all the time his marriage was unraveling. And I have to admit that it sent me for a major loop. And it got me thinking about the reality, or lack thereof, of these online “relationships” we think we have.
When I heard of the divorce I felt that, as great as his teachings were, if we’re not sharing the real life stuff of our lives, including our desperate needs, how much does the rest really matter?
All I know to do is bless God over your situation. To thank Him and praise Him that His word is true… that He is the Healer, Redeemer, Savior… and that your life and the lives of your loved ones ARE in His more than capable God hands. Hallelujah for that.
Dan, I’m a bit late getting here to comment. However, I want to thank you for your posts over the years. You have the ability to make me think even when I disagree with you, which isn’t that often.
Merry Christmas and a happy and blessed 2011!
I used to get emails like that back when I would blog about theological things in terms and ways that would conflict with the strongly held beliefs of others (I’m sure you remember those blog days I describe a few years back). I felt, at the time, this obligation to allow all comments and not censor anything because I didn’t want be accused of being dishonest, and that ended up leaving me with an ugly, argumentative comments section, links to other blogs that were theologically vile, emails full of personal attacks like you’ve just described (all done with scripture reference, mind you), and a felt need to defend myself which inevitably fanned the flames and turned me into something just as bad.
I admire that you calmly stepped back instead of, for example, posting the IP and other information you would have gleaned from that email. (I’ve done that before, too, shamefully.)
Now, I simply don’t publish comments that I don’t feel like having on my blog. No guilt. I don’t blog as much like that anyway, so I don’t have as many comments, but once in a while someone leaves a comment that angers or hurts and I simply delete it.
The Christian presence online, mixed with the enticing atmosphere of anonymity, has negated Christ-like Christian response more than anything I’ve ever seen. I still have all of those emails and every once in a while I read them and am still horrified that anyone could send such a thing.
You used to read my blog back when that was all happening — I think you remember.
It was ugly.
It has all but caused me to stop blogging in some regards. I definitely monitor my comments — tightly. I don’t care what anyone might say about it, at all, at this point in life.
Sorry this happened to you; it causes a kind of anger and hurt that has no place to go, in some sense, because the person was anonymous — it’s like a poisoned arrow that someone shot at you that you can’t do anything about because you can’t see the archer.