... And I’ve said it often, that I love the Lord, but I’m also a little scared of him.
Q. Aren’t you supposed to be?
You better be.1
I Corinthians 14:20b, “In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults.”
Christians, in varied ways, have their weaknesses. Some of it may have to do with a particular temptation that some struggle to work against, while at other times it may be part of their personality that they struggle to bring into balance. A lot of weaknesses have to do with a particular culture, this is not across the board but it is pervasive. Whether it be staunchly held views on how to conduct worship or beliefs about the place of government, the culture you are in plays a large influence, with some exception. Being raised in the south in the United States and going to church has a decidedly different feel than going to church in Northern California in the US. And before anyone says, “we don't let the culture affect the church, it's the other way around”, I disagree. Yes we don't conform to certain ideas the culture is propagating but to say that the church, as a whole, has not been influenced by the culture it is involved in, is foolish. This is not an entirely bad thing when it comes to outreach, communication, styles of worship and promotion.
There are many other influences we could look at but that's a good start. One of the weaknesses, failings, shortcomings, sins, however you wish to define it, in weak passive terms, or aggressive, bold terms. One of the weaknesses I've been seeing a lot of lately is the weakness of ignorance. And it's not really even ignorance in the truest term, it's more along the lines of stupidity. People profess Christ with words and look to others to do their thinking for them. The difference between the two terms is simple: ignorance is simply a lack of knowledge, you don't know better, you simply don't know, while being stupid is when you are mentally dull, not sharp, slow witted. The implication being that if you sharpened the mind up a bit you would be mentally sharp and have your wits quickened and made ready and available.
Everyone should be readers. I don't buy the excuse that some people aren't readers. There are so many ways you can digest information in this time we live there's just no excuse not to sharpen your mind with some depth of study. Books on CD, books on the internet, books on the computer, books in the car, books on our iPod and other electronic devices. You don't have to just read anymore, you can get someone with a cool accent to pronounce those words for you and get some good out of that wordy manuscript. Donald S. Whitney says in his book, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life...”I've always found it to be true that growing Christians are reading Christians.”2
It's a dangerous thing to be an ignorant Christian or, heaven forbid, a stupid one. One way I'm seeing this played out in real world terms is in the form of people posting news stories that are blatantly false. Of course, there are many fake news sites out there and it is definitely hard to keep up with all the hoaxes and falsified news stories, I mean there's a whole site dedicated to telling people which stories are hoaxes, called Snopes. But a lot of searching out the truth before spouting off an opinion goes a long way. Sometimes it's best to keep quiet on certain issues as well instead of speaking up and revealing yourself as a hateful person who hasn't really thought out the issues. Posting a link to an article or a news story doesn't make you clever, it usually only reemphasizes a point of view you wish to be aligned iwth and gives no credence to any sort of thought process on the actual issue. It's like quoting a Bible verse out of context, you can quote the Bible to prove almost anything but the Bible is not really made to prove your theological, social, political or moral points. You miss the point of the Bible if that's what your using Scripture for, primarily.
Proverbs 17:27a says, “A truly wise person uses few words...”. That's a good thought, I think it applies in a host of situations and is not only limited to verbal communication.
Ed Stetzer commented on this posting phenomena and stated that a lot of Christians are misguided and merely “ignorant” and gently chastised them which I think is good and right. But C.S. Lewis is not as nice when he gets to the heart of the issue in his seminal work, Mere Christianity, he says:
“The real test is this. Suppose one reads a story of filthy atrocities in the paper. Then suppose that something turns up suggesting that the story might not be quite true, or not quite so bad as it was made out. Is one’s first feeling, “Thank God, even they aren’t quite so bad as that,” or is it a feeling of disappointment, and even a determination to cling to the first story for the sheer pleasure of thinking your enemies are as bad as possible? If it is the second then it is, I am afraid, the first step in a process which, if followed to the end, will make us into devils. You see, one is beginning to wish that black was a little blacker. If we give that wish its head, later on we shall wish to see grey as black, and then to see white itself as black. Finally we shall insist on seeing everything — God and our friends and ourselves included — as bad, and not be able to stop doing it: we shall be fixed for ever in a universe of pure hatred.”
That, my friends, is a stinging indictment. We should not be so easily persuaded something is true, we should be readers, thinkers, and not take things at face value. Dig, and consider whether things are true. But, as Levar Burton from the phenomenal show, Reading Rainbow always says, “But you don't have to take my word for it...”
1http://www.faithandleadership.com/gardner-c-taylor-25-ways-sunday Accessed July 18th, 2015. Interview with Gardner Taylor.
2Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life. Donald S. Whitney. p. 221.