I learned a new phrase the other day: Second-stone Christian. It was in the comment section of The Church of No People blog in a post about people who need to shut up. The comment came from John Cowart and he said “I keep my rock handy just in case somebody else steps up and throws the first rock at sinners.” I’ll admit that I do that, too; sometimes, on the pages of this blog. I know that because there are certain people who will let me know if I get a little too strident or accuse others of something I’m guilty of myself. One of the lines in John’s comment hit especially close to home. I’m talking about this one: “…, in my own blog, I attempt to make fun of no one’s faith but my own”. I can’t say that. There have been several instances where I’ve crossed that line. All I can say is, it’s just a hazard of a snarky personality. And, brother, do I have one of those. Walking the line between being true to my sarcastic side and the humility following Christ calls for is not easy.
The problem is, I can’t be one of those nice Christians. You know the ones I mean, they’re always seem happy and thankful and they never have a bad word to say about anyone. One of my former pastors is like that. The closest she ever came to saying something ugly was after an encounter with a fundamentalist preacher with a fixation about sexual sin. After he was gone, she shook her head and said “Why are people like that? I just don’t understand it.” In contrast, in my head I was calling him every kind of son-of-a-bitch I could think of; the only reason I didn’t do it out loud was because it would’ve offended her. Held up against that example, I fail miserably. But, maybe that’s not the example I’m supposed to follow.
To say that I’m passionate about the things I believe is a massive understatement. Pick almost any post on this site and you’ll find some fiery rhetoric and I’ll admit some of it is over the top. But, so were the words of the Old Testament prophets like Jeremiah or Elijah. I realize it may seem a little crazy to compare myself to great Jewish prophets like this, but I feel like I’m doing the same thing they were. They saw the people of Israel abandoning the tenets of their faith and spoke out about it; rather forcefully, too. I see Christians who are from the tenets of the faith they follow and I speak out; rather forcefully at times. I used to worry about whether I was too forceful. I mentioned that feeling over coffee with Hugh Hollowell and he said “Every movement needs its Martins and its Malcolms”. I realized I was a Malcolm and that’s okay. Now, if I can just drop that damn rock.