As we crowded into the square area designated as the living room, our group of Christian believers talked mostly of our families and of news and events in the Christian world. This was a reunion of sorts, as the people gathered here had not been together in one place for more than a year. It was, in so many ways, a sweet remembrance of shared lives.
The conversation only enhanced the sweetness of the hour, but the conversation wasn’t always sweet. The route the conversation took back to sweetness traversed a crooked trail. Our first conversation centered on the trending events of social media. Immediately, we discussed Mark Driscoll and Acts 29. Why? Because that is what everyone in the evangelical world was talking about.
One of the young women in the room had been stuck unexpectedly in an office with nothing to do, so she had spent the day before reading all the articles related to the Driscoll “controversy.” She reported that the controversy did not seem as major as Tweets and Facebook posts made it sound. Another young woman agreed and particularly lamented the lack of detail that accompanied most of the articles she had read. She mentioned a particular article from a Christian magazine which linked to accusations and commentary, but did not link to the actual statements from Acts 29.
The more we talked, the more realized that we were talking about very little. In fact, the group agreed unanimously that we, too, had become guilty of tabloid Christianity. We fell prey to the titillation of scandal. One of our “stars” was falling. Speculations of the fallout were morbidly thrilling to our minds. Then we came to our senses. We realized that Mark Driscoll—even in this current flurry of news—is not a big deal.
Our attention turned at that point to some of the stories in Christianity which are—or should be—really big deals:
Men, women, and children are being beheaded on sight if ISIS believes they are Christian.
In Nigeria, more than 2,000 women have become widows because their husbands loved Jesus Christ unto death.
One Somali Christian couple fled persecution and oppression in their homeland. They ended up in a refugee center in Kenya, where they were found by Islamists who shot them several times, leaving them for dead.
More than 1,500 Christians have been slaughtered mercilessly in Homs (Syria).
All over the world, Christians are persecuted severely.
As our little fellowship scanned the Christian world scene, we concluded that the stories which fill our Twitter feeds and satisfy our need for a social buzz are not necessarily the same stories that deeply burden heaven. The saints around the throne, we are told, cry day and night, “How long, O, Lord!,” in an urgent expectation of Jesus returning to avenge the blood of his saints.
So, if we take our cue from the New Testament, we will remember to join heaven both in our rejoicing when sinners repent (Luke 15:10) and in our crying for justice when saints are oppressed (Revelation 6:10) . With all due respect to Mark Driscoll and other stars who stumble, we have much bigger issues to occupy our time and our Twitter feeds. Let us pray for our leaders when they are leading and when they are stumbling. Let us pray for the ones whose stories briefly capture our imagination. But, by all means, let us remember our brothers and sisters who are ill-treated since we ourselves are in the body.
Amen and Amen!
The danger of your statement is one of moral relativism, the simple excuse that my sin is not bad simply because there is someone somewhere who is far worse than me. “Nothing to see here, lets move along”… Its true we should be concerned for what happens in Iraq, and pray for the Christians in Africa (for many reasons) but that does not lower my call here, to protect the in this case now the hundreds that have come forward with stories of spiritual abuse. We cannot ignore the Marc Driscoll tragedy. There will ALWAYS be something worse somewhere else, that should never be an excuse to bury our heads in the sand.
Thanks, Van Rue, for the comment. I’m sure warnings are always in order. I have no doubt that many have been hurt by Mark Driscoll. All sin repays with some form of death. I don’t wish to diminish any sin. Rather the aim is to offer perspective.
I don’t agree that this bordered on moral relativism at all. Satan uses situations like Mark Driscoll’s to distract Christians. In our flesh, we can easily become enveloped into the gossip. We then lose focus on what’s important. Your final paragraph says it all. Thank you for reminding us.
Thank you, Tracy, for the comments and encouragement. We all have the opportunity to stir one another up to love and good works, don’t we?