A Reply

I got a nasty comment on the blog today. Regarding Advent 5:

Your careless disrespect for the Word of God is sad. The Bible is only “weird” to those who do not have the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit (I Cor. 2:12, 14). It is God’s love letter to His children. (That’s what you get for reading someone else’s mail!)

It’s from someone I don’t know, and I’m choosing not to publish it in comments or to use identifying information. I thought about just deleting, but I was too mad to let it go. So I wrote the commenter an e-mail and send it.

Now, I’m not 110% sure about the ethics of blogging this, but the commenter did put it on my blog with identifying information and every intention that it would be a public comment. I just don’t want to give the comment air time attached to a name. So, I’ve sent the letter, and I’ve removed any identifying information, and I’m putting the text of it here.

Partly because, as one of those people who has spent her theological career bouncing around between the liberals and the conservatives, it just makes me heartsick to think about the way we Christians treat each other, and the way that looks to people and the way it messes with people’s spiritual lives. I think it makes Jesus cry when we talk nasty to each other.

I’m not doing this because I want people to say nice things to me. I just think it might be a good thing to remember this the next time you walk into some sort of church-y context where you’re going to be with people whose views differ from yours. I’ll include myself in that, and make sure I go back and re-read this myself the next time I’m in one of those situations.

Dear Chris (not the commenters real name),

I am sorry that you have misconstrued my use of the word “weird” to describe a biblical passage as a sign that I am not one of God’s children.
You may have misunderstood my use of the word. It is “weird” in that its original audience was of a different time and place and cultural than mine. And so, to me, the phrases I was referring to sound odd. I am sorry if it is offensive to you to hear that word in relation to Scripture.
I love the Bible, deeply, passionately, truly, and have so for all of my life. I regard it as God’s true word, and the best guide to how God would have people live.
In as much so as it is possible for any of God’s children to have assurance, I am confident of God’s love for me, God’s saving grace in Jesus Christ, the Spirit’s work within me, and my place as one of God’s beloved daughters.
Your clear suggestion that I am not one of God’s children, based on your reading of one of my advent devotions, is hurtful, demeaning, and, so far as I interpret scripture, not how God wants believers to treat one another.
I am sure, from looking at your blog, that we come from different places in the theological spectrum, and that there are many things we do not agree on. However, I refuse to question your faith or your place in the family of God. I am truly grateful for brothers and sisters who are more conservative than I am and who are more liberal than I am. I believe that we are all needed in the body of Christ, and that we are better for having each other. I believe that God loves us all, in spite of the errors that any of us may make in interpreting Scripture and theology.
I write you this letter because it is clear from your blog that you are a leader in the church. And it is my deep hope and prayer that perhaps, in my writing this, you might hear that talking to people in this way causes them pain and wounds the body of Christ. I do not care so much that you might apologize to me, but that you might think before you speak or write and treat any other believer in this way. Those of us who God has called to ministry bear the great burden of being careful not to wound with our words. We are representatives of Jesus Christ, and what we do and say can have great implications in the walk of faith of others. And so I beg you not to speak or write this way to others who may be among God’s dearly beloved.
In Christ,
Erica Schemper

One Response to “A Reply”

  1. sko3 Says:

    Nicely done.

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