Adam: So I was on this guys blog today (we will leave it nameless) and the whole thing was devoted to how he hated Dr. Falwell and how evil Dr. Falwell was; you know the routine, but then the guy gets all angry about Liberty... he calls us fools for attending the school and says that we are buying into lies and making the world a worse place...
Why are people ignorant like that? Why do they stereotype and make ad homenum attacks on Liberty and its students? Sure some people from LU suck, but so that‘s just the way the world works... take homosexuals for example (since that seems to be a flash point in the Liberty discussions) most people who are gay are pretty normal... but then there are some who feel the need to crude and brash... like not only am I gay but I am also flamboyant and shameless and I want to force you to accept me because I am gay in all my over the top glory... okay... glad to hear your gay... but I have a thing against assless chaps... not against you just the fact that you and your partner are walking around in assless chaps... Am I crazy... am I missing something?
Jeremy: My initial reaction to this kind of persecution is to fight back and be hateful towards them. “They suck, and are stupid and ignorant.” Then my thinking changes just a bit towards, “hey, if they want to make themselves look like a big jerks then let them.” I think rational people will determine that they have crossed the line socially, and then judge their comments accordingly. Of course, Jerry at times "crossed the line socially", but he was quick to either apologize or explain himself.
That of course doesn't give these jerks the right to go ahead and do the same thing back. In the great words of Derek Webb: "an eye for an eye will never satisfy" Any who, we can’t stop people from being stupid and making dumb comments like that, and I don't think we should fight back and come up with reasons justifying why we are right and they are wrong...even though it seems easy. People are always going to be ignorant, and people are always going to persecute you for loving Jesus (John 15:18-26)Oh well....
Adam: You are right... but I think when Jesus tells us to turn the other cheek, He is not telling us to ignore it, but telling us to respond to it respectfully, Rob Bell talked about how culturally Jesus was telling his followers to stand up for themselves but not to be disrespectful... I think it is incumbent on us to love those who hate us, and to stand up and tell them that. "Hey I think you are wrong, and I don’t like what you said, but I love you and want to understand what causes your hate."
Jeremy: I think we may have brushed on this topic before. I hate being taken advantage of and being picked on for stupid stuff, but I don't really know where to draw the line on fighting back and standing up for myself.
I think you make a very good point, and if we could pull some scripture together to back that up, that would be cool. Did Mr. Bell reference any verses?
It’s like on one hand you have the homeless guy who sits at the intersections and begs for money knowing that he could make 10 bucks an hour just because people are nice. I feel like the homeless dude is taking advantage of people like that, and I don't want to give them money, but Jesus says to give to the poor. And then there are those jerks who think they can just slander Christians verbally as much as they want because they know we are nice and won’t hate them back.
Adam: In essence Jesus told Peter that he is to forgive unconditionally and forever. However, Jesus also told his disciples that unlike Moses they should turn the other cheek. Was he telling them to be push-overs? On the surface you would think that means that He is saying we should let ourselves be walked over, but there is more to the story. Jesus is preaching to believers in Jerusalem around 30 AD or so and because of that there are context clues in the culture of the time that help us to better understand what He was saying.... this may take a bit of explaining but I think it is cool when you hear it out...
So before the advent of modern plumbing many cultures had sanitary rules about what hand to use in restroom activities and what hand to use in every day life. This is still the case in places like rural India. In Israel the rule was that you used your left hand for your restroom duties and your right for everything else (eating, handshaking whatever.) This is important because this would mean that if someone were to strike a cheek they would use their right hand to strike your left cheek... try it at home... but then if you turn your right cheek to them it becomes impossible for them to strike you with their right hand, in fact the really only way to do it would be with your left, but here is the rub... in that culture using the left hand was severely frowned upon and would be considered shameful, and you can probably guess that at that time shame was a big deal (yeah shame only died about ten years ago) so what Jesus is saying is take it, be forgiving but take it standing up... they hit you then you stand up turn the other cheek and say alright you want to hit me then why don’t you hit me here too... obviously those who are truly evil would do it, but in reality Jesus was espousing a form of non-violent civil disobedience... sound familiar(MLKJ)? So while Jesus obviously teaches us to forgive... I think at the same time He is not telling us to get walked on... do you know what I am saying?... now the part that hangs me up... what is the practical interpretation of this in our modern culture?
Jeremy: I was looking at different translations for that passage of scripture.The Message is a bit interesting:"...Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer for that person. If someone slaps you in the face, stand there and take it. If someone grabs your shirt, gift-wrap your best coat and make a present of it. If someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously...
Adam: So maybe our best response is this... "Thank You for hating us because we believe in a risen savior and the led us to attend school at Liberty University, which was founded by Dr. Jerry Falwell. We are sorry that our schooling upsets you, and we hope that we change your mind in the future." Does that seem like a logical and loving response... or is it too jerky?
Jeremy: Maybe a bit too jerky and sarcastic. I don't think I would really thank someone for hating me.
Adam: Yeah... but How do you stand up for yourself while still being Loving?
Jeremy: That is the question we are trying to answer, huh? See that's where I don't know where to draw the line, and I think it's a case by case basis. I mean you have to react to people differently. All people accept love in different ways, so I think whatever's best for the situation, but again....I don't necessarily know how to do it. Sometimes I’ll instinctively(or holy spirit led) react and say things that I had no idea where they came from, and later ill be like, "holy sweet!, how did I come up with that?" truth is, it was probably the holy spirit taking over my body and using it and I had nothing to do with it.
Adam: I hear what you are saying about the Holy Spirit guiding us, and I agree. I mean really the point is our sinful selves want to get ego stuck up in it, but in reality its like Peter said, you will be persecuted for your faith and you should consider it a blessing. The real point is that we need to rely on the Grace of God to guide us and we need focus on his peace instead trying to make our own... That's just what I think.
Jeremy: You pretty much summed it up, so I don’t have much thought in addition to that. I was thinking about how different people need to be loved differently, and how "tough love" is really the best kind for some people. I was also thinking about how "being nice" and "being loving" may not necessarily be the same thing. I’m not sure exactly where that fits in the thing with the deal, but you know what I’m saying.