Monday, December 19, 2005

What We're All About...

One of the great things I learned in college was logic. In our Theology 2 course, we had to memorize all of the rules of logic and the various rules that governed what could be logical and what wasn't. One of the best rules I learned about was called the "fallacy of origins" which is also known as the "Genetic Fallacy."

A definition....
Genetic Fallacy (Fallacy of Origins, Fallacy of Virtue):

if an argument or arguer has some particular origin, the argument must be right (or wrong). The idea is that things from that origin, or that social class, have virtue or lack virtue. (Being poor or being rich may be held out as being virtuous.) Therefore, the actual details of the argument can be overlooked, since correctness can be decided without any need to listen or think.

The reason that I bring this up is that my husband has a way of finding good in things that you wouldn't expect. The same way I find treasures in the midst of a junky garage sale, he finds treasures of truth from a controversial musical artist, a movie, or a book. I love this about him. While everyone else is expecting garbage, filth and the like, he is fully expecting to find things that are true and lovely and of good report in the most unexpected places. A good example of this is his post about a song out right now by Eminem. He turned on the radio one day, flipped through the channels (probably because the Christian radio station was all "Yack Yack Yack " and no music, but I digress) and heard this song about the struggle to balance family and work. The theme was something he could relate to. It garnered a really weird conversation on the blog that just left him shaking his too.

This is going to be long post.

Some people who read our blogs don't know us. They don't know that we have devoted our entire married life (and before that) to doing whatever God calls us to do. If that meant teaching in a Christian school, or pastoring a church, or leading a youth group, or moving across the country to start a new church, then we do it. We give up friends, family, comfort, security, whatever it takes, to introduce people to this Jesus that we love with our whole selves. While sinlessness escapes us until eternity, the broad strokes of our lives together are painted in obedience to Christ.

We expect our God to do rightly in the world, and we see his work and his truth everywhere, even in unexpected places. It's hard to always be filtering, always be thinking, always be discerning, but we endeavor to attach ourselves to anything that is good, truthful, beautiful, just, honest, excellent, of good report, and holy. The other stuff, we don't think about. When people say things that are ugly or untrue...we ignore it and leave a little something for the Holy Spirit to do on their conscience and walk with God. When movies lack excellence, we look for something redeeming, cling to that, and abhor the rest. When a song says something true, we say "That's good stuff." We don't have what a dear, gracious Professor and friend calls "The gift of negativity." We don't expect to be attacked for our values by the world at every corner, and we don't lift up as good what is merely lackluster and subpar or worse, nasty. Last we checked, at the end of THE BOOK, God wins, so we feel pretty optimistic about how things are going.

Yes, it takes some energy. But this is the world we live in, and we do not ascribe to the assumption that we can just huddle up with Christian friends, Christian music, Christian books and movies and candy and T-shirts and greeting cards, breath mints and whatever else they want to slap a Jesus-fish on. We're in it, but not of it. That's our understanding of what we're supposed to do and we're trying to live that out. We give other Christians time and room to grow in their own understanding of how to live and respect all decisions based on faith and not fear. I know that this little explanation will not stop the criticism from other Christians who think that we are worldly, immature, lazy, foolish, shocking, etc. etc. But I thought maybe it wouldn't hurt to just reiterate for those who read us, what we are about.

Grace and peace to you all.


Heidi said...

o.k. I’m going to come out of the closet as a reader of this blog (insert smile). A friend told me about Robb’s blog as great info about the emergent topic, and I’ve been reading both for about a month now. I enjoy both, but let me get to the point.

I couldn’t agree more with what you have said. I am one who was once on the other side of the issue. There was a lot of hate and anger in my life that I felt was righteous indignation. There was nothing righteous about it.

My question is this. God created man and God created birds. Birds sing their song and give glory to God. Man sings his song. Does man not give glory to God sometimes even if he is not regenerated? I know some “Christian” groups sing songs that are full of theological errors. Does that give glory to God? I’ve meant to see what the Bible has to say about this for a while, but have forgotten up to this point. Maybe when the kids go down for naps today I’ll open that can of worms.

I don’t want to hijack your blog, but I think this story applies. When we lived in Israel many in our group where very conservative. One day a friend from the kibbutz came to the house and she and I started talking about U2. I don’t always find many people who are as big of a fan as Tim and I so it was a great conversation. There is so much in their music about Christ that it really opens up the doors to talk about Him. And this girl is a Jew so even better if she wants to talk about how they view Christ, right? After we were done with our conversation one of the girls who had been listening in followed me back to our room. She asked me if I thought I should be talking about U2 with Noa. “Don’t you think it will turn her away from trusting Christ?” I don’t remember how the conversation ended, but I still find myself scratching my head about that one.

Sorry this is so long.

Sara said...

sounds like a good conversation i had with a great friend and mentor the other day...:)

ness said... nice to "meet" you! Thanks for stepping forward at a time when I have begun to question (again) why I am standing out in the middle of this big theological field with the big bullseye on my chest!

Most of the readers/contributers on our blogs are people who have been deeply wounded by Christians and churches that are mainly concerned with lobbing the heads off every flower that grows at a different height than they. While we don't seek to be reactionary, it's hard to get the sound of the weed-wacker out of our heads sometimes.

I was struck recently while watching a biography about CS Lewis, that his conversion was facilitated by reading great authors who turned out to be Christians (to his dismay). I can't imagine much recent "Christian fiction" turning the mind of a great thinker like Lewis. (Although Lauren Winner's acquaintance with Mitford might be the exception!)

As to your question, this verse came to mind: "The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof." I'll be thinking more about this since you brought it up, but my first reaction is that we so often have such a surfacey (is that a word?), narrow view of wouldn't be surprising if we had a surfacey and narrow view of glorification of God. Robb and I could hardly contain ourselves at a U2 concert when the band left the stage leaving the entire crowd singing "Yahweh." How could that NOT be glorifying to God, even though not everyone might have understood what they were singing?

You are welcome here, Heidi. Thanks for the thoughtful questions and commentary.

dluby: The song the kids sing "....all on a Saturday night...."

Heidi said...

I look forward to any thoughts you have on this.

You may be suprised to know that we have more than met, though it was a time when most people who knew me probably wondered if I had a deep thought in my head. God can do a lot in 10 years.

I've always been a little shy about posting stuff online. Don't know why this is one place most people don't know who I am! = )

A long time ago people called me Engwert.

ness said...

HEIDI! How the heck are you???? It's amazing that you could be so gracious when you knew ME way back then : )

I could never EVER watch the Grinch That Stole Christmas without thinking of you!

What are you up to these days, besides chasing cookie crushers?

Heidi said...

Wow, what am I up too. That is such a hard question for someone like me to answer. Let me try to give a readers digest version. We live in Grand Rapids these days. Never know when that will change. We've toyed with the idea of going into the ministry full time, but we have so many different ideas than when we started out we aren't sure where to start looking. I told Tim that if we decided to be part of an "emergent" church my family might feel the need to have an intervention. He was ready as soon as he knew that = )

Needless to say God is always working in our lives and we try to make sure he is always working through us too.

Here is a link to some pics of my beautiful offspring.

Hubby's home so I need to go give him a big kiss.

Cathy said...

Hey Heidi. Wow that was a blast from the past. This is Cathy, Robb's sister. We are in Grand Rapids, Rockford actually. Small world. Maybe sometimes we could get together and reconnect.

A said...

Shout out to Heidi and Tim!


Heidi said...

Hey guys! I love reconnecting with people. Now that I'm outa the closet I'll feel more comfortable joining your conversations = )

Cathy, I noticed your blog too while I was being nosey. My inlaws go to Blythefield. We will be there Sunday for the service. I would love to reconnect some time too! Sometimes I long to talk to someone who is asking the same kind of questions that I am.

BTW, I think it is very appropriate that I was the dog in the Grinch since I ended up marrying the Grinch = }

courtney said...

I wanna say hi to heidi too!! (Ness's little sister,here)
But also I want to comment on your post, Big Sis. If I could crawl up onto the roof of this dinning hall I would to yell "AMEN AND AMEN!!" and thank you also for clarifying for others that might not know that those of us who comment aren't just reading your blog because we know you and want to see what you are up to, but also have a real desire to discuss the matters of our hearts that we might not always get to truely delve into during laundry and jobs and kids and dinner. To have such a wide range of individuals who represent such a wide range of experience coming together to discuss truth and how best to share truth with the people around us in a REAL way is a valuable tool. When we don't agree, we do so with love and respect. I'm not to the level of many people here who comment but I cherish when you all give points that stretch me or give a catalyst to my growth process. It has been a very very long time since I could comfortably open up with other believers. I don't think it is in any way a coincidence that this is happening at the same time that Ron and I have been able to find a church that welcomes us while we are learning how to grow together as a couple. Often the discussions here have opened up deep and cherished conversations between us that we have been pondering in our hearts separately. I think I can say we both thank the other people who come here with pure hearts and love for their fellow man (woman). Wow, this has been a long one from me but I've really wanted to say soemthing for a while other than just teasing Ness...big hugs, Sis. I love that we have more to talk about than just what our kids are doing. We never really had that before.

oecicih---this is just fun to say really

Cathy said...


Questions are good.

We will be there Sunday as well. But working in the kids' area during the service, guess I will be listening online this week.

I will be in the gym or someone in the gym will know where I am if you want to stop by to say hi, and exchange emails and telephone numbers.

ness said...

Wow this has been a more enjoyable thread than I expected it to be : )

I am thinking all kinds of things about this thread, but in the interest of wifing and mothering, I won't be able to put all of my thoughts here right now. I will continue to think about the definition of glorifying God. I think that there may be a hidden gold-mine under that thread of thinking.

I am also going to note for the record that the number one reason I hear for people not joining an emerging church or whatever this thing is, is because of the "persecution" or opposition they would have from their family, friends, etc. NOT because they aren't drawn to the idea of starting fresh with a new perspective on how we could better do this thing called "church."

Heidi, your kids are adorable...I wish we would have known you were in GR before we moved....Sounds like you AREN'T married to whatever you are doing now....interesting....where are you going to church?

Court, you are right...I do feel a whole new connection with you unlike anything we've ever had before. It means the world to me....

Sara....thanks for scraping my lump of whiny loss of vision off the floor.

Heidi said...

When we moved back from Israel we figured GR would just be a transitional place while we looked for a full time ministry. That was 4 years ago. We’ve been going to Faith Baptist Church for a year and a half now and this may be what we’ve been looking for. Tim and the pastor are great friends and balance each other well. Tim is also taking on responsibilities that look to me like the role of an assistant pastor without actually being on staff. For the most part the church seems willing to change so that God can work in us and through us most effectively. I don’t know if they all realize what it will look like and what it will require of them, so it will be interesting to see what happens when the rubber meets the road.

I guess I always think of us as being in transition because we are willing to go anywhere at any time if we know that is what God wants us to do. For the first time in a long time though I think God is making it clear to us that this is exactly where we need to be . . . for now.

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