Posted by: Jack Brown | August 26, 2011

Shouting at the Darkness

So…anyone still out there?

Anyone who was kind enough to check out my blog when I started back in March may have noticed I abruptly stopped after just a week or so. This was not laziness or forgetfulness, prone as I am to those maladies. There was a very specific reason I stopped, and now there is a very specific reason I’m attempting to start again.

I began this blog in the midst of the whole Rob Bell “Love Wins” nastiness, and part of my initial intent was to work through my own feelings regarding that book and the ensuing controversy. But a funny thing happened on the way to the heretic-burning…I found myself agitated beyond belief, and rather than processing my feelings I quickly became overwhelmed by them. For a while there I ate up everything I could find regarding heaven, hell, and the fate of everyone who read Rob’s book, and as I ingested all the stuff out there I became distracted, disturbed, and occasionally disgusted. The amount of vitriol and uproar over “Love Wins” became, for me, an unhealthy thing.

The operative word in that sentence is “for me,” by the way. I am not saying that debate and discussion about issues like Rob raised in “Love Wins” is unhealthy, only that the tenor of the conversation was not good for me personally. I am, by nature, a debater. I love to engage people I disagree with in some fun and thoughtful exchange of ideas. But with the whole “Love Wins” dustup I was reminded that I am also, by nature, a bit obsessive (some of you will no doubt chuckle at the phrase “a bit”).  I started gorging on the controversy, and truth be told, the more I digested, the more nauseous I became.

So I walked. And I’m glad I did. It kept me sane. Well, sane for me anyway.

But yet here I am again. Why? Well, thanks for asking…I’ll tell you. Yesterday I was challenged by someone I respect very much to add a new level of thinking in my daily walk. Seems I spend much of my life focusing on things that are “not true.” Depending on my mood I either debate them or become overwhelmed by them, but they consume my thoughts more than I care to admit. And let’s face it, in our lives, our culture and our church communities we could spend almost all of our time thinking and debating the things that are false, misleading, or downright lies. And there’s a place for that–untruths need to be challenged and called out for what they are. But that is only half of the battle. Not only should we point out what is not true, we should also focus on what is true. It’s not enough to root out the lie, we must also dwell in the truth. In fact, dwelling in the truth is the surest way to defeat the lie. Falsehoods are not beaten into submission by our clever arguments and deconstructions, much as we feed our ego by thinking so. We don’t dispel the darkness by yelling at it and calling it “dark,” rather the darkness dissipates as we dwell in the light.

Jesus says in John 8 that the truth sets us free. So as I begin this little exercise anew, I hope to spend more time focusing on what is true, and in doing so to discover more of what freedom looks like. Time to stop shouting at the darkness and turn towards the light.

““I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”–John 8:12

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Responses

  1. Bravo, Pastor Jack! I enjoy a man who is humble enough to talk about his flaws. Further, I wholeheartedly agree without about the “shouting at the darkness” bit. If, in my past, more people chose to dwell in the light I think I would be a different person than I am today. God has spoken to me through you and this post. Blessings as you continue to write.

  2. I too have been a bit too focused on the untruths, but you are right to get back to truths. I’m hoping it has opened my perspective, tho.

  3. Glad your back, Jack. Always enjoy your reflections.

  4. Good word for me, Thank you!

  5. Blogging by nature can be divisive, because blogs often take on difficult, even contentious subjects. I tire of that, having blogged for years now, but it seems there is no way to avoid controversy. However the point of your post here, Jack, is so well taken! We must major on the truth in Jesus, and from that we learn more and more to discern what is in error, or needs refinement.

    I look forward to reading more of your thoughts here in days to come!


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