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Revolution: Gospel & Heresy

This one could definitely get me in trouble. Heh-heh.

Let’s say I edited a book. In all fairness, it was a book passed on to me from another editor, but basically, it was my project. And let’s say I liked the book because it was all about redeeming the pagan holiday commonly referred to among a particular segment of Christians as “Satan’s day.” The book’s approach was to show how the origins of the holiday, while pagan and “evil,” had been reclaimed by early Christians, just as Christmas and Easter were reclaimed holidays. This formed the backbone for the argument that what had been intended for evil, could be redeemed for good. Fair enough.

Well, now assume that when the authors were interviewed on the radio, of course they weren’t given the time to provide all the background necessary to convince some of the traditionalist hold-outs who do not hold the same view of grace, and the complaints began pouring in. One of the things that might happen, since I was the editor of the book, is that I would be handed some these complaints. Most of them would be your typical fare: “This ain’t sompin gud Bible-fearin folk should be a-riten”–that sort of thing.

However, consider what would happen if “the rest of the story” was that I’d be forced to fight tooth and nail on principled grounds I believed were set forth in this book, but was ultimately canned as a result. I haven’t been fired, yet, but I’m sure it’s coming. Point is, would it be worth it to lose my potential for further ministry over this one book?

Of course, it’s a loaded question. And ultimately, not one for any of us to decide. That’s God’s call, right? Is He calling me to make a stand for this, or is He telling me to let this go? I have to be faithful and sumissive to His leading first. The rest is up to Him.

Bottom line here is I think we’re all tempted to step into these situations and make our decision according to our own logic, experience, prejudices, personalities, and persuasions. We tend to consider self-reliance a blessing, a right, and a duty, rather than what it often is: a dirty sin.

So the real question in this somewhat-hypothetical scenario is: Did I follow God’s leading in editing the book? That’s my pergogative alone to decide. And just as it’s heretical to say grace is insufficient to redeem a human holiday, it’s equally heretical for me to try to charge ahead with my own agenda of changing things.

I want to remember the balance here when we talk of revolution in Christian writing. We need to extend freedom just as we’re requesting freedom be extended to us. I have to be an example of the grace I’m calling for first, before I can expect it from others.

4 Responses to “Revolution: Gospel & Heresy”

  1. Jeanne says:

    I extend you the freedom to use the word “pergogative,” because I really like it. In fact, I’m giving you 50 points for that word. Good job. ;)
    You’ve inspired me. I want to write a holiday parody book. A cheesy one with lots of puns in it. First I’ll invent a bunch of pagan holidays; then I’ll Christianize them. Sidebars will provide craft projects and recipe ideas. Will you be my editor?
    Just how hypothetical is all this? If you need a job reference, let me know.

  2. sally apokedak says:

    Mick, I gotta tell you. . . This ain’t sompin gud Bible-fearin folk should be a-riten.
    Heh heh.
    I hope this is hypothetical. Why would you get canned for editing a book people didn’t like? Did God like it? What kind of Christian organization would fire an editor because he made the fundies complain? I mean look at how badly Christ got the fundie’s undies in a bunch when he was here. =0)
    Twp quick points:
    1) Even if the authors were given ample time to discuss the background, the reason, and the reasonableness of their book, the complaints would still come pouring in. It has nothing to do with time to make arguments or with logic.
    2) I don’t think I agree that it’s heretical to say that a holiday can’t be redeemed or heretical to push an agenda. That seems like a mighty strong word for something that seems to me to be a matter of personal preference.
    PS how come were allowed to call fundies, fundies, but we aren’t allowed to call the lost, the lost? =0)

  3. Mick says:

    Okay, maybe not completely hypothetical…(but that’s my pergogative.)
    And I wasn’t canned for it, and won’t be. I followed protocol and the complaints were unfounded. They hadn’t read the book. But it’s all about perception with these folks. They don’t care if the Bible says something other than what they believe. They’re going to complain. I’m just glad there are people who are okay with making enemies of this sort. I don’t like it, but as Sally points out, there’s very little we can do to change them. God can redeem Marilyn Manson, but the fundies are too far gone, I guess.
    But hey, maybe they’ll read Jeanne’s book and realize the error of their ways…

  4. Becky says:

    Bravo, Mick. I think your conclusions are right on! I do think we as Christians can charge ahead when we see something amiss within the sphere of influence God has placed us. If the charging is of God, then yes, charge away. But too often, I know I have charged ahead–more like bulldozed ahead–when I should have been reading the rough road as a signal to change course.
    But in your hypothetical scenerio, do the radio personalities who interviewed the author also get canned? Seems like if one is true, the other should be as well.
    How I wish Christian publishing could be as much a ministry as Christian writing and not so much a business.
    Oh, and BTW, even if you offer grace to others, I don’t think you should expect it from anyone but God. Others might surprise us, but I don’t think grace is something that we sinners dispense with regularity.

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