Monday, February 19, 2018


I have argued against the validity of a person claiming to be tolerant when they are clearly intolerant of POV's they consider intolerant.  "I can tolerate anything but intolerance," and all that.

Yet I think I understand it, thinking about it on my walk today.  I am judgemental of people who are judgemental.  I don't much judge sins, as I am deeply aware of human frailty and root self-centeredness. People do lots of terrible things.  I don't pretend to be able to keep my temper and gently encourage repentance on all of them, but I think I tend that way.  Yet I lose my temper quickly at those who are quick to accuse and quick to assume bad motives. Those who are quick to adopt the prophetic voice and call the church or the nation or the world back into righteousness.  Some Christians have been the conscience of the larger group, and done great good. Just be sure you are right in that prophecy, and not just stating the preferences of your family, your group, your tribe.  Because the penalty for false prophecy is supposed to be death. Remember?

I very much don't like it when folks too readily set themselves up as a judge over others - when they claim to be simply stating facts but are being insulting; when they claim they know what Jesus would have others do.

I'd rather err on that side.


Roy Lofquist said...

As some warn victory, some downfall
Private reasons great or small
Can be seen in the eyes of those that call
To make all that should be killed to crawl
While others say don’t hate nothing at all
Except hatred

It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding), Bob Dylan

I have supped on the epistles of St. Bob for more than half a century. They have served me well.

RichardJohnson said...

I very much don't like it when folks too readily set themselves up as a judge over others - when they claim to be simply stating facts but are being insulting; when they claim they know what Jesus would have others do.

The church ladies who knock on my door once or twice a year do not argue with me when I inform them I am not interested. I don't get any hellfire lectures from them.They quietly walk away. Perhaps because I am not a churchgoer, I don't encounter many people telling me "they know what Jesus would have others do."

I don't doubt there are such people. I just haven't met many. My grandmother did have a touch of that- at least she knew that Jesus would have others attend her church. (Her church was one of ten churches in a town of a thousand.) Overall though, she was not without humility- she could definitely laugh at herself. And she stopped the preaching for the most part when my father told her to stop it. The churchgoers I know do not push their religion on me.

It is my opinion that when it comes to politics, those who are not churchgoers tend to be more judgemental, which is probably because they do not feel humbled by an Almighty who is much greater than they are.

Those who denounce the "deplorables" are dead certain that the "deplorables" are racist, homophobic etc---- and they are not. They cast the first stone because they are certain they are without the sins of racism, homophobia etc. Though they may be secular, they still have the desire to belong to the elect that their churchgoing ancestors had. Today, being one of the elect is defined by being "anti-racist" etc.Joseph Bottum, author of An Anxious Age: The Post-Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of America, put it rather well:
The new elite class of America is the old one: America’s mainline Protestant Christians in both the glory and the annoyingness of their moral confidence and spiritual certainty. They just stripped out the Christianity along the way.

Roy Lofquist, I am amazed how well Dylan's Bringing It All Back Home has stood the test of time. By contrast, when I listen to some of the political rock songs of that era- CSNY's Chicago or Woodstock come to mind- I cringe. How could I have been such a damned fool to consider those wise lyrics?

Texan99 said...

"Judgmental" is word whose meaning we're not always careful about. Jesus sharply differentiated between sin and virtue. Did that make Him judgmental? Some of His parables are pretty scary about the wheat and the chaff, the wise virgins and the foolish. On the other hand, He made it perfectly clear that the young man who congratulated himself that he was not like all those terrible sinners was in awful peril, while the man who asked mercy on himself, a poor sinner, was on the right path. Seeing and insisting that something is wrong is not the same as sanctimoniously or hypocritically imagining that we are ourselves free of fault. It's also not the same as writing someone off as hopeless who might well turn at any moment from his wrongdoing and join the right path again. But it does mean knowing when someone is on the wrong path, and being certain that nothing will go well until he turns off it and back onto the right one.

Not that we're necessarily called to worry too much about the wrong paths other people are on. We have enough work to do on our own wrong paths.