Friday, February 22, 2013

Swords into plowshares and hate mail into origami

I have my share of critics.

You can meet him..he's wonderful and brilliant the comments section of the blog.

He won't be hard to find.
(He's the well-meaning guy who didn't get  Peter's joke here...but Peter wisely chose not to engage him further to prove it,  he confessed on facebook. You know how these things go).

He thinks I erase all negative comments on the blog.

Actually, I have only ever had to erase most of his   (unless you count spam and Viagra ads etc) .

He recenty emailed me just to  tell me he didn't love me, and that he hoped I went to hell.

So I know he loves me..too much.

Why else would he name his blog after me?

Since I don't get a zillionth of the press...and therefore attention by heresy folks like Rob Bell and Brian McLaren (I am sure they have both gotten death threats), I can't imagine what that feels like.

You can hear about McLaren's model for responding here.
But Rachel Held Evans should be highlighted today.

 I’ve been really inspired by Shane Claiborne and The Simple Way’s recent efforts to bring Isaiah 2 to life by learning to weld so they can turn guns into farming equipment. (Watch a video here; see more pictures on Shane’s Facebook page.) And I’ve been thinking that this idea of learning a new skill so you can turn something ugly into something beautiful might be a good Lenten practice..

This Lent, I’ve been praying for clarity and peace in regard to loving my online “enemies.” While the overwhelming majority of correspondence I receive is encouraging and positive, there is still a fair amount of hate mail in my inbox and ugliness in certain comment sections across the blogosphere—an expected consequence of writing and speaking publicly, but hurtful still. As much as I try to ignore the most vile of these messages, they can still be quite painful, and I think that’s okay. It’s important to grow thick skin,  but I also want to keep a tender, open heart….which means unclenching my fists and letting some of these words hurt every now and again. I mentioned on Facebook the other day that perhaps part of my Lenten experience this year could include learning origami, so that I can turn some of this hate mail into pretty birds and ships and kites...

It felt a little awkward at first, but as I moved my fingers across those painful words, folding them into one anther to make wings, then a neck, then a crooked little beak, healing tears fell, and I let my fingers pray.  -Rachel Held Evans, full post here: Swords into plowshares and hate mail into origami

Be sure to notice what a typical hate mail to Rachel looks like.  If you can stomach it, blow up her photo  (above) of her origami art  to see the delightful language (obscenity alert) that Christians use for each other.
You can see why Paul called his critics "messengers of Satan" who were nonetheless also ("fuzzy set" style) "sent by God."
God loved Paul so much that even after three desperate pleas from Paul to take the critic away, the answer was thrice a no: "..for my power is complete in weakness."

Oh, for those of you who have thought all your life that Paul was talking about a sickness or other affliction.... 
Start by reading the Scripture in context, and then maybe  a post of mine called: "what's worse than blindness and more evil than the devil?"
The catch is:

I may well get hate mail for simply pointing out what the Bible says in the paragraph above.
Send it on, I'll make something of it (:

PS: Be sure to also read about  Brother Mike Furches'  comeback line:  "In the name of Jesus, bite me!",and Becky Garrison's "My favorite hate mail of the week."

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