Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Hoping to Keep the Doors Open


(Conversations with Bob! This is my response to Bob's goodbye).

Bob,

I don't want to leave this without some sense of closure. I archived on the right of this blog the 93 posts we have made in our conversation that began in July. 93! Wow! I have learned a great deal from this conversation and I think our readers have as well.

Whether or not we continue, I just want to say it has been good. Thank you. I certainly do not want to end this conversation on a sour note. We are going through a difficult time in our denomination. But then again, has it ever not been difficult?

I understand and appreciate why you wish to end the conversation. I also understand that you would consider continuing the conversation if I made an apology to the Wineskin people regarding my posts.

Part of me wants to do that just so that we can continue our conversation. However, I wouldn't mean it if I did apologize. At least, not now.

I have appreciated very much your polite and respectful tone in our conversations. I thank you for raising me to a higher level of discourse. Recall that you began the conversation in response to my series on the Rapture (which you described as mocking). I think your ethic is to never say a mocking (satirical?) thing to anyone ever. I think that is a great ethic. It is simply not mine, at least not all of the time.

I really don't care if people say nasty things about me. I can take it and dish it both. And I will. I don't think mocking (I like to think of it as satire) is, in and of itself, a totally inappropriate thing. I certainly do not think it is evil. There is even biblical precedent. Elijah mocked the prophets of Baal and Jesus mocked his opponents on more than one occasion.

I know that it cannot be easy for you to have me take some shots at folks who are your friends. However, there is a qualitative difference between you and the wineskin people. While you may have similarities to their theological views, your ethical and moral behavior is light years ahead of theirs.

These guys are out to destroy the PCUSA. They are sacrificing the real community for an ideal one, one that is made up in their heads. The Layman is their cheerleader. This is not about differences of opinion--conservative and liberal or progressive and evangelical. It is about being divisive and schismatic. You are not. They are.

When they decide that they are too holy for the PCUSA and then trash the PCUSA in their attempts to get others to sympathize with them, they need to called on it in no uncertain terms. I am not going to be "polite" to people who actively work to hurt this denomination and its witness. What they are doing is far worse, in my view, than any mocking I might do.

Anyway, I have enjoyed the conversation, my friend. Thank you for initiating it. Let's keep in touch. Perhaps time will give us both a deeper and wiser perspective.

Peace,
John
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