Even the most casual sports fan will remember the “Dwight-mare” that took place in Orlando, FL a few years ago, and how everyone in the world of sports grew tired of all the child-like finger pointing and dramatic grand-standing associated with this first world problem real quick. It was clear from this little episode that in life as in basketball, this was not the way to win people’s hearts.
Fast forward a few years when I recently came across an article about some major drama regarding the Gospel Coalition, a well known blog in the world of (reformed) Christian faith. The highlights of this article seem to revolve around a scandal involving at least one prominent person in that sphere of influence, which then in typical church sub-culture fashion, triggers people to mistakingly grapple with the pain of scandal theologically. This eventually leads to a big difference of emotional-driven (yet intellectually coherent) opinions between other prominent people which ultimately deteriorates to some egregious power play and yet another painful and public display of Christianity at its best.
For me, the curious part of all this isn’t that someone got caught up in scandal. After all, let he who has not sinned cast the first stone as they say. But I do find the choice to handle the resulting fallout of the scandal in such a public manner a little odd. Was there no way for these really smart and thoughtful people to work out their issues and grievances behind closed doors and dissolve their partnership more amicably or dare I say more Christ-like? Why choose to post your side of the story so publicly instead of conveying your thoughts to just the other stakeholders at the coalition via email or letter? That way you could at least avoid making people (like me) who had no idea this was even happening suddenly aware that there is some big issue.
Does a person’s need to come off as “right” in the eyes of the choir outweigh their responsibility to witness well to the world? For church leaders who are always saying they want to see the gospel advance, this sure seems a touch counter-productive. It’s not like my neighbor’s hung up on following Jesus because of concerns over the 3rd use of the law as it relates to the doctrine of sanctification…
In the same way Dwight Howard lost influence with a lot of people for not getting to keep his affairs in house out of respect to those he wanted to win over, those in this article may also be following suit. But unlike Mr. Howard, these wonderful pastors and examples of faithfulness are making the choice to go public. A bold move considering the stakes are way higher for them than just losing a couple of twitter followers or an endorsement deal here or there…
“He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.” (Colossians 1:28-29)
Emmanuel Covenant Church