Ecclesiastes 7:8-9 “The end of a matter is better than its beginning; patience of spirit is better than haughtiness of spirit. Do not be eager in your heart to be angry, for anger resides in the bosom of fools.” Yesterday I was angry. It put me in a very different frame of mind than I had over Thanksgiving in which gratitude made me feel wonderful, humbled, and hopeful. After emerging from yesterday’s meeting, I became all the things that anger produces: self-righteous, prone to reduction, and foolish. I could talk a little about another debilitating problem that’s followed me all my life, being too easily influenced. There are all kinds of villainous things in the Christian church I could blame for that. But I won’t.
I do think that authenticity is the sacred value of youth. Authenticity requires transparency. It requires honesty and humility. It implies real, uncomfortable truth about who you are and what you are passionate about. The extreme side of the current evangelical establishment is authentically misguided. But believing in authenticity without substance would be equally damaging, as we see in much of culture that listens to anyone who’s an open book. There are some books I don’t want to read. Some books assault me. I don’t appreciate their openness.
But it’s not pleasant to be dismissed as immature for your sincere passions. And we all do it, to some extent. I fear I’ve done that to a few commenters on this site. I am so sorry for it, but my passions, like any other, are often misguided and misapplied. That’s their calling card. Like hot little flames that burn quickly and don’t have time to consider who gets burned. One of my favorite quotes is the one that says (paraphrased), The mark of a mature man is not to die valiantly for a thousand noble causes, but to live humbly for one. Scream long enough about revolution and eventually you’ll be disregarded as immature. So what should our passion be in regard to the current evangelical status quo? Should we just accept that we’re being disregarded and that it will take many years before we see any progress? Should we wait for them to die off? Should we be like the perseverant widow and keep banging on their door until they listen? The Bible talks a lot about patience too. What say you?
And maybe most importantly, in our efforts to DO something, how do we keep from doing the wrong thing?