An Internal Memo
I am increasingly gob smacked, dismayed, at the utter folly of believers airing their grievances (petty or otherwise) to the media. What are we thinking? Or more to the point, what were we thinking?
And if not the formal media, then social media, is being co-opted to publicize the short comings of God’s church – heaven knows there are a few. We Tweet, we Facebook, we Whatever, our inability to forgive, and maintain the unity and integrity of God’s church.
A body devouring itself is a pitiable and pitiful sight. First to go is the heart, then the mind, followed by the eyes, until we have a hollowed out version of God’s glorious church – spotty and wrinkly as she may currently be.
Paul is at great pains, and endured great pains, to ensure we aren’t riven by sectarianism, bitterness, un-holiness, unforgiveness, and hatred, itself often paraded and justified as truth. He concludes it is already a defeat if we can’t, internally, deal with matters of potential pain and divisiveness as God’s people, a people that will one day judge the world and angels. What hope do angels have when we use the instruments of the world to spew – sorry, to inform, instead of wisely and properly judging a matter ourselves, and allowing others to make a determination, or saying nothing publically – which is a restraint long jettisoned. There is nothing clever, wise or Godly to use social media platforms to call the church to account, nor its servants.
When we go to the world (instead of going into the world) we are bypassing and invalidating the mandate of the church, proving ourselves to lack any real Christian virtue. It is validated as – ‘only wanting the truth to come out’ - instead of what it most often is, revenge for being slighted, or not recognized, or in extreme cases abused. (I use this word with care as we have allowed anything that offends us to be conveniently termed spiritual or emotional abuse. In so doing we actually minimize the real cases, and mock their pain and grief with our trite slights.)
Going to the media about the church is like perpetuating Civil War. Have we ever seen a nation benefited by civil war? In the short term it hardly ever does, let alone long term. It is the seedbed of years of bitterness, exclusion, and hatred. The Mason-Dixon is a line that continues to divide, even if it has morphed into a new divide – that between Democrats and Republicans. Not to talk of Iraq and Syria.
Christians threaten to go to the world (that bastion of truth, justice and reconciliation), and so believe that they will create a more just and fairer church. Actually that is seldom ever true, as they have no enduring love for the church, and they often never go back to church once their pound of flesh has been extracted. Satisfied or not they are never satisfied.
Whilst they maintain their rage or disappointment the view of the church is further degraded – which is bad enough already in some quarters.
(By the way the view of the church is not always due to the failure of the church, but equally because people don’t naturally like, much less love, God. And there are times and instances when the behavior of members of the church is clearly immoral, for which the law is an instrument that judges and penalizes wickedness, or alternately vindicates innocence.)
This aside, Social Media and Blogging is the new guillotine. And this certainly hasn’t been lost on some who spend inordinate amounts of their fruitless lives finding fault and bringing down their judicial blade, posting for all to see. Lives, churches, and families have been greatly harmed by their cloaked spite. And what is amazing is that the impunity they are afforded is never the right of journalists, who we’d hope at least research before publication, and having done so are always open to liable.
Throwing mud at a bride isn’t a good career move.