Thursday, January 26, 2006

A Few Righteous Rants

The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. And he told those who sold the pigeons, "Take these things away; do not make my Father's house a house of trade." His disciples remembered that it was written, "Zeal for your house will consume me (John 2: 13-17, ESV)"

Bloggers are often known for "ranting"-- which one dictionary defines as "violent or extravagant speech or writing". Since anyone with a computer and Internet access can create a blog, this sometimes gives an unchecked platform to those who want to vent their hatred or their anger, with little or no regard as to whether their venting produces anything constructive.

The Bible counsels Christians however, to keep a tight rein on their tongue, because it recognizes the potential for evil that comes through speech.

James said in chapter 3 of his epistle:

"We all make many mistakes, but those who control their tongues can also control themselves in every other way. We can make a large horse turn around and go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. And a tiny rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot wants it to go, even though the winds are strong. So also, the tongue is a small thing, but what enormous damage it can do. A tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is full of wickedness that can ruin your whole life. It can turn the entire course of your life into a blazing flame of destruction, for it is set on fire by hell itself (James 3: 2-6, NLT)"

Certainly Christians must recognize the dangers of yielding to the temptation of just blurting out whatever comes to mind. At GodBlogCon '05, some prominent bloggers strongly counseled, something to this effect: "Don't blog in anger!"

Very sensible advice. But in John 2 we find that our Lord was once stirred to righteous anger as He saw the house of worship--"My Father's house"-- being used as a marketplace. He did not mince words or actions, but took up a whip and drove out the money-changers and merchants, all the while yelling at them, "Take these things away; do not make my Father's house a house of trade."

In perusing a few blogs today, I have come across a couple of righteous rants. Of course, no rant by a Christ-follower is ever as perfectly righteous as the "rant" our Lord made on that day. Still, sometimes it is right to rant righteously.

First, I direct you to a post yesterday by my friend Mark Daniels, titled You're Wrong, Mr. Cowherd!, which I think qualifies as a righteous rant. It was triggered by derogatory (and I think rather arrogant) remarks made about serving in the Peace Corps by ESPN Radio personality Colin Cowherd. Remembering his friend Karen, a late member of his congregation who served honorably in the Peace Corps, Mark "rants" passionately in defense of those who choose to serve others and who define a life well-lived as more than merely "a good steak and a good laugh".

A second rant regards a topic I have been writing about lately, the controversy over the film End of the Spear. In The Business of the End of the Spear 2, centuriOn also brings passion to his concluding remarks as he criticizes Every Tribe Entertainment's tentative brand of evangelism:

"Evangelism is, in a nutshell, not being ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. When we are ashamed of Jesus Christ --we who allegedly bear His name, who are allegedly saved by His work -- we can't expect advocates for homosexual marriage to buck up and do the work for us. We ought to expect that men like that will, in fact, capitalize on our shameful behavior.

And go figure: that's what happened."

I still haven't had a chance to see the film, so I can't yet comment on whether the film itself shortchanges the gospel message, as many are saying. Yet the filmmakers' decision to knowingly cast a gay activist in the title role does indeed seem to be a capitulation on their part to the politically correct idea that we must always be "inclusive".

I want however, to reserve judgment until, 1.) I have seen the film, and 2.) I have had a little more time to reflect on the reasons and motivations behind Every Tribe Entertainment's decision. Stay tuned for more.

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