Category Archives: Brotherhood brawling

Time to speak out on current controversies

So, yeah… it’s been on of those semesters. And the upcoming weeks look no better. So the Kitchen is essentially closed until 2019.

That said, I feel it important to share my thoughts on some of the important topics of the day:

  • I just really can’t support this idea. It makes no sense in light of current circumstances. There might have been a time when this would have been seen as reasonable, but that time is long past. Frankly, I’m offended that anyone would even suggest this.
  • What the government is doing on this one is outrageous. I can’t believe the clown we have in the White House and the incompetent idiots we have in Congress. Frankly, I’m offended that anyone would ever suggest supporting this move.
  • We need to get behind our elected leaders on this plan. Remember what the Bible says about respecting those in authority. We need to remember that in a democracy, we exercise our rights to vote, then we are obligated to support those in office. Frankly, I’m offended that anyone would question our officials on this one.
  • This one controversy baffles me. How can Christians support an ungodly idea like this? Have we just tossed the Bible out the window in order to blindly follow the whims of culture? Frankly, I’m offended that believers would behave this way.
  • I’ve been surprised at the pushback on this idea. Is this the Middle Ages? Will we now teach a works-based legalism that binds us to things that were true in Jesus’ day but that no longer fit our current culture? Frankly, I’m offended that anyone would criticize our efforts to apply the Bible to the modern world.

I guess that’s enough for now. If you want my opinion on any argument you’re involved in, just choose one of the above. And feel free to quote me! Frankly, I’ll be offended if you don’t.

Who (or what) am I going to trample?

I recently read what was presented as an African proverb:

When elephants fight, the grass gets trampled.

(I’ve also seen it as “it is the grass that suffers”; the idea is the same)

Like most proverbs, this can be applied a number of different ways. Where I’ve tried to take it to heart is to remember that so often when I go to battle, somebody (or something) suffers. There is collateral damage.

So I’m trying to do better at choosing my battles. Is this Facebook argument worth the cost? Am I willing to damage friendships, reduce ministry effectiveness, expend valuable time over that political argument or that doctrinal discussion? Is that change at church important enough to cause others to leave our congregation?

Sometimes, of course, the answer is yes. Many times, however, I have to admit that even if I “win” the argument, I won’t accomplish much of anything that is positive. And the grass gets trampled.

I may have to print that one out and keep it above my computer.

photo by dailyprinciples on Pixabay

When praying for someone is an act of aggression

pharisee and tax collector“I’ll be praying that God show you the error of your ways.”

It should be nice to have someone say that they’ll pray for you, right? Yet look at the above statement. There’s something about it that smacks of the Pharisee’s prayer in Luke 18, the pious superiority revealing itself in HolySpeak.

The “loving” statement above says that we have a difference of opinion, but my opinion is God’s opinion. It’s like the old joke about the two musicians arguing about how to perform a Bach concerto. Finally one says, “Listen, you keep playing it your way. I’ll keep playing it Bach’s way.”

Condescension. “Someday you’ll see how wrong you were.” Smug superiority. “Yes, I used to believe that way, until I really studied these passages.”

Here’s a news flash: You’re wrong.

Here’s another: I’m wrong.

Here’s a whole string of them: N.T. Wright is wrong. The Pope is wrong. Your preacher is wrong. That guy who is on every workshop is wrong.

We’re all wrong about something. And we need to act like we’re aware of that.


Image courtesy Sweet Publishing

Committed to holiness but not holier than thou

There was an interesting story on NPR about vegans and vegetarians. The title was “Do Vegetarians And Vegans Think They Are Better Than Everyone Else?” I found the conclusion of the story especially intriguing:

It’s clear to me that Friedrich and Patrick-Goudreau believe not that they are better people than meat-eaters, but instead that their dietary practices are better for animals, and for our world as a whole, than the habits of meat-eaters. Why do many people so readily confuse these two things?

That made me think about some of the discussions I’ve had over the last few years. There are times when I’ve found it hard to express the idea that I believe a certain way of living and acting is better, yet I don’t think that I’m better than those that choose differently. Some examples:

  • I have come to believe that Christians should not participate in wars. Yet I remain proud of some I know that have chosen a different path, not because of what they did, but because of their reasons for doing so.
  • I think that involvement in politics dilutes our effectiveness in this world, yet I have good friends who hold office and others who are extremely active in their respective parties. Again, I don’t agree with their choice, but I don’t question their motives.
  • I have come to believe that patriotism and nationalism are threats to spirituality, yet I know Christians that I greatly admire who believe just the opposite.

I could go on, but I think you get the point. We hold to our convictions, firmly believing that we are right. Yet we can do so without judging others and without believing that our stance somehow makes us better than others. I will try to convince others of my position and hope they will try to convince me of theirs. That’s how we grow as Christians. Yet it must always be done with an air of acceptance and respect.

Anybody up for a good steak?

Not worth the fight

I guess it’s no secret that the topic of music is a highly-charged one in our brotherhood. I don’t plan to get into that argument per se; you can look at the discussion going on over at Jay Guin’s blog if you don’t know what I’m talking about (I would send you directly to, but there is a brother there who insists on completely dominating the discussion. If you can’t be coherent, be loud).

Something that concerns me about the historical view held within our brotherhood are the multiplicity of arguments used to support, many which actually contradict the others. I can’t help but wonder if, when pressed on the matter, if these brothers would insist that others hold exactly to their view or is belief in the same practice enough?

The typical assertion about baptism is that the act isn’t enough, that you need to hold to the proper understanding. Does the same hold true about music? If one believes that all use of instruments in the Bible was sinful while another holds that the Old Testament allowed instruments but the New Testament doesn’t, do they believe the same thing? If one believes that the Greek word “psallo” excludes the use of instruments while another believes it refers to instruments, but that our instrument is the heart, do they believe the same thing? I could go on and on.

My fear is that we are starting from a conclusion, then working backwards to support it. If not, why the wide variety of opinions to support our practice? Many of these beliefs, might I add, are virtually unique to the person holding them.

I’m an a cappella guy. My roots are in the a cappella church, and unless I can see something of real substance to be gained by bringing in instruments, I’m not interested. But I’ve read the arguments that try to make this a critical issue, from the bizarro world of Piney to well-reasoned arguments by men like Everett Ferguson and Jack Boyd. I’m just not convinced.

It’s not worth the fight. Not worth the fight to make people use instruments, not worth the fight to make them stop. God is quite capable of expressing himself clearly on important issues. And he chose not to on this issue. Because it’s not worth the fight.