Pride – An Ironic Post if You Think About it.

Sometimes I fear infection from small cancers, the creeping kind. 

I read the tolerant Christians espouse tolerance.  Cynically, they mock the abortion picketers, the Baptist preachers, and the Christian Coalition.  But once the layers are peeled back none of that seems very peaceful or loving–two key virtues of the tolerant Christian I am told.  I admit that I identify with this point of view all too often.

I read the orthodox espouse orthodoxy.  Rigidly, they read mandates where there are none, create doctrinal constructs around singular verses, and equate Godliness with personal perfection (and perhaps political ideologies).  I confess; I find myself here too.

It’s these covert cares of the world that confound me, these camouflaged thorns that look so much like good religious thought or action.   We may mean well when we tell our hippie friend that Jesus doesn’t look like a Christian Coalition member, or when we claim that he certainly wouldn’t be associated with a post-modern “emergent” movement, or when we inform those around us that they have spoken “curses” over themselves.  But are meaning well and doing good the same thing?  

Pride is a chameleon and kissing cousins with anger, I think.

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33 Responses to Pride – An Ironic Post if You Think About it.

  1. J. Ray says:

    Is this a post or song lyrics? I wish I could come up with a melody for it. Something Keith Greenish. Or maybe a bit more plaintive and melancholy?

    Or could it be the preamble to a tattoo, “Pride is a kissing cousin to anger” (except make it latin, with a cool, multicolored chameleon)

    Maybe the seeds to a sermon, one that could be preached and recorded and podcast and turned into a book that gets you on the speaking tour.

    Or maybe it is just what it is, words to ponder and act on, live out and hold to, keep alive with dynamic Holy Ghost filled refection.

    And used to make music and art and literature and life.

    • sethhaines says:

      The hardest part is the pondering and acting. It’s too easy to do the speaking, the proclaiminig of what is what. That’s the tricky, sneaky thing about my own pride.

  2. Scott Herron says:

    I prefer the sermon, podcast, speaking tour, book route. That way I can teach people how to be humble by blessing them with my greatness. I think that I’m just humble enough to handle that well..,especially the money part.

  3. hamster says:

    these are good thoughts about, what i think, is an essential issue: how we present Jesus AND how we present ourselves as followers of Jesus. in fact, i was just having a similar conversation with seanboy last night about this very idea you’ve shared.

    my question (since i know you are aiming at conversation more than laurels) is, okay then, so what do we say? what do we say when the actions of christians have stolen the love of Christ from people we love? i certainly feel quite free to say, “if i haven’t offended you with my expressions of faith, just stick around. it’s about to happen at any moment. christians are broken people trying to be put back together by the Gospel of Jesus.” i’ve even said plenty of the “Jesus doesn’t look like them and Jesus doesn’t look like me, and all we can hope for it to eventually look like Him.” i don’t know what else to say because the social comparatives are there.

    i do know this. pride is the big one for me right now. so i like this conversation. i just wish we having this conversation over black-n-blue burgers.

    • sethhaines says:

      I’m good and bound to offend with my own expression of faith. I think that’s a bit of a new realization for me. But I think you raise a good point and that’s that Jesus doesn’t look like any of us. Also, let me state for the record that you can picket someone with a sign, a sermon, or an opinion. And I think (see, that’s an opinion) that before we do any of that we need to pause.

      Selah.

      Hamster, I like it when you ask the right question. You are a good man and I’d love to sit with you and the previous two gents and discuss this over the black-n-blue (medium rare for me, please).

      • hamster says:

        “Also, let me state for the record that you can picket someone with a sign, a sermon, or an opinion. And I think (see, that’s an opinion) that before we do any of that we need to pause.”

        Couple of thoughts here:

        1) I like what you say about picketing someone through more than signs. We’ve also got sermons and opinions to boot. There’s a Planned Parenthood down here on the corner, across the street a spell from a Coalition for Life. (I expect anyday now to here the explosion.) You know how the Coalitioners love their signs, so you know I love talking smack on them. And I’ve been chopped at the knees there a few times in my heart. I still talk smack on them, just not as frequently and in less company. Indeed, the first half of your quoted text above was one more chop at the knees. Good.

        2) I like your bit about “pause.” There’s a lot bits in the Gospels about Jesus telling stories and there’s also a lot of bits about Him being silent. If I gotta look like Jesus, then I might just need to shut my trap a little bit and take the scorn.

        But there’s also that pesky little bit about “Be prepared to give an answer for the hope that you have,” and I’ve surely been put on the block a few times by friends wanting an answer for this behavior over here and that behavior over there. That can get sticky, and I guess you just take those one conversation, one person at a time. Praise God for the Holy Ghost.

        This is real good stuff.

  4. And I’d like to join to listen, please, and my gracious a burger sounds good. I’ve not a single answer except that I think Hamster is right on. Aim to look like Jesus, who aimed to see all glory in Father, who somehow let’s His glory shine on us when we’re in the weakest of ways.

    We do all picket something if we’re honest. Does tolerance really even exist? Tolerance doesn’t mean grace, and it doesn’t mean truth – also kissing cousins. Tolerance sounds like such a floppy word to me. Grace ain’t floppy.

    PS: I love how your blog makes us all talk like we’re about to drink out of the garden hose in the backyard together.

    • hamster says:

      I ain’t drinking out of no hose. Last time I tried that, a colony of ants washed out and I ain’t chancing such a gush of bugs with this beard. Can you even imagine? Lice is one thing, but juiced up worker ants is another. Take the burger, leave the hose.

      • Ewwww. That never happened to me – but I did read once that water hoses were full of lead. Half a dozen of one.

      • Sethhaines says:

        Kevin, with respect to this “[i]f I gotta look like Jesus, then I might just need to shut my trap a little bit and take the scorn…” I am with you. I’ve got more opinions than Texas political rally and I’m WAY to quick to share them.

        Mercy.

  5. haleykc says:

    So good, Seth. So good.

    I think that it can be so dangerous when, within the Church, we start drawing lines and pointing fingers and saying things like, “my Jesus doesn’t look like theirs.” We are called to put aside division and draw together as the Body of Christ.

    BUT IT IS SO HARD. And I am SO guilty of, even if I don’t necessarily say it out loud, thinking about how different my Jesus is from theirs. It’s so interesting how we are created for and called into community, yet once we are in that community it is so easy to give into pride and create division.

    Thanks for sharing, Seth.

    • Sethhaines says:

      You know I’m so glad that you stopped by here and shared your point of view. I really like what you are saying about community and agree. Community can quickly become insular, and I think that is very natural. It is easy for me to share community with people who think like me, act like me, and talk like me. It is far more difficult when a hyper-conservative (there, I said it) or hyper-liberal (there, I said that too) jumps in the mix and leaves absolutely no room for discussion. But then again, didn’t Jesus throw Matthew the tax-collector and Simon the zealot into the same mix? And don’t you imagine that John was just sitting back there saying, “can’t we all just get along?”

      And I hope don’t nobody read this to mean that I don’t believe in truth, or that I believe that truth is relative. And I hope don’t nobody read this to mean that I don’t want to be spurred on toward Godliness and purity. I reckon I just mean to say that we’re all just kids drinking from a full stream hose and we need to be patient with the kid in front of us until he figures out how to get his mouth around it.

      And maybe show the kid behind us how to drink by example.

  6. Scott says:

    I would imagine a marriage of humility to grace where confession (one to another) of sin and trusting in Christ bear the image of God’s intention for tolerance, truth, and love for those whom we might “picket.”. It’s difficult to judge when prostate and penitent.

    Well done please with a large New Castle draught

  7. J. Ray says:

    I’m in. Medium with a Ellie’s Brown (tall please).

  8. Seth says:

    What’s with all this beer talk on the blog, eh?

    Man I wish I could get the Dead Guy at Hugo’s. But alas, they are no respecters of Portland. Thus, you know what I’m having with my BM Burger, Hamster?

    Black and Tan, friend. Black and Tan.

  9. Meg says:

    I have a good friend who often says, “Love God, hate His fans.”

    Harsh, yes. Hate is harsh but…

    I try and spend my time figuring out how I am supposed to follow Him without espousing anything. I am often very lost in this space- the realm of “follower.” I am not very good at it most of the time. But when it feels best I am connected and filled with love.

    That is what I thought about reading this post and the thoughtful comments.

    • sethhaines says:

      “I try and spend my time figuring out how I am supposed to follow Him without espousing anything.”

      Here is where the tension is. I’m not sure we are not to espouse anything. But we are definitely to espouse the true thing in a way that shows grace, mercy, and love. I’d love some folks to talk about this. And maybe, like Kev said, it’s case by case, relationship by relationship. Thoughts?

      Beuler?

      Beuler?

      • Meg says:

        I wasn’t reflecting what I thought anyone else should do. I am in a place… well, that’s a post for another day. Suffice it to say right here, right now it’s my job to figure out what it looks like for Megin to follow Him. It’s a bit of a tangled mess at present.

        Despite the mess, it is always my goal to reflect love of Jesus- love, grace and mercy- in my interactions with those that I love and with those that I meet.

        For me it is absolutely relational.

  10. J. Ray says:

    To reply, “I determine to know nothing among you but Christ and Him crucified” just sounds so cliche. But I think Paul was facing much of what is being discussed here. People taking stands that were off base, even silly, but in a deadly serious way and then derisively dismissing dissenters. Did he address the issues? Yes. Did he even use sarcasm and strong language? Yes, but he refused to be ruled by those responses. When the the point was done being made, he made sure it got back to Jesus.

  11. Hmm . . . Do you read Oswald Chambers? I think maybe today’s entry (May 18th – just in case you don’t know what day it is. ;)) brings peace to some of this wrestling. At least, the way I read it, it did! 🙂

    I like me some beef, but hold the beer. Blech! (Can we still be friends if I don’t like beer?)

    • sethhaines says:

      We can still be friends, absolutely. You can jump into the middle of our table anyway, and drink diet coke, or water, or whatever it is that non-beer drinkers drink when they are eating the best burger God ever gave to man.

      Love me some OC. I used to read him every day, but honestly, I just spot check now days. His words are good and often cut me in all the right places.

  12. loved this post and the conversation following– funny that i found myself in some pub in england somewhere. and i think i like that a lot.

    but, actually, the thing that struck me the most was the next-to-last line– about “meaning well” and “doing good.” honestly, we have gotten burned in “christian ministry” time and again by people that mean well but aren’t really doing good. not really. either they ran ahead and made a terrible mess of people’s lives, expecting God to do the miraculous, when perhaps they should have planned more. or they charge forward with a “word from the Lord” even though it seems more like a “great idea from them”. you know what i’m talking about? especially here, it seems like everybody’s cousin in missions has some great idea about how to save the world, but it seems like so many of them don’t really take into account culture or finances or wisdom or bigger-picture or grace or sometimes even . . . ahem . . . Jesus.

    anyway, i think the answer to your question is most definitely NO– they are not the same thing. and i struggle with excusing the action that is causing harm because i know, i KNOW, the good intentions that are there.

    and i know, of course, that i could be talking a million times over about myself, as well. of course, of course, that’s true, too.

    anyway . . . just things that me and my husband are continuing to struggle with and keep not having real answers for.

    maybe we just need a beer, too.

    though, i only drink the girlie ones– woodchuck’s granny smith or something like that. 🙂

  13. oh, crap. i think that comment probably came off really prideful.

    daaangit.

    bigger crap. it WAS really prideful.

    yeah, sorry about that . . .

  14. Pingback: Didn’t we beat that horse already?

  15. Sara Sophia says:

    I still just listen and don’t quite know what to say but,
    I decided I DID wanna make a sign.

    (I’ve had this page open and a half-comment written for three days)

    Not a picket-y sort of sign but just a statement one that reads LOVE and nothing else.

    Is it theologically sound to ONLY espouse Love?
    Of all the doctrinal issues and debates. Can we just pick that to carry as a banner?

    Pull a Mother Theresa and preach without words?

    –S.S.

    (I linked to you from Deeper Story. If that’s bad I’ll go delete the link…its late and I couldn’t find you for the asking….so this is me asking 😀 SORRY)

  16. Pingback: Pride (Part III) And Some Good Words by Someone Else | Seth Haines

  17. Pingback: Didn't we beat that horse already? | My CMS

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