06 January 2011

"Compassion"? A parable

by Dan Phillips

A Visitor's Center one day was manned by twin brothers Nick and Knack. A car pulled into the parking lot, disgorging a breathlessly eager visitor.

"May we help you?" offered Nick genially.

"Yes, thank you!" bubbled the newcomer. "All my life I've been longing to travel Route 49! Can you show me the most direct way?"

Nick paled.

"Oh, I'm very sorry, but you don't want to go Route 49."

"But I do!" insisted the visitor.

"Let me rephrase myself," amended Nick. "You may want to, but you really mustn't.  The road goes along nicely at first, but then you'll see a bunch of roadblocks and obstacles laid across it, slowing you down and warning you off. These impediments aren't really a problem; they're actually a good thing...."

"How can they be a good thing," the visitor cuts in angrily. "This is my dream! I want to zoom, not be slowed down."

"I was going to say," continued Nick, "they're a good thing because otherwise you'll shoot straight off the stub of a broken bridge and plummet 800 feet to your death on the rocky rapids below."

"Oh," said the visitor, turning a bit white himself.

"He says," observed Knack, leaning forward, putting down his latte and stroking his soul-patch.

"The map says," countered Nick.

"Map?" asked the visitor.

"Yep, right here," replied Nick, spreading out the item itself on the counter. "See that red X there? It means bridge out."

"You say it means that," snarked Knack. "I say it means 'X marks the spot.'"

"Oh, come on," retorted Nick. "There's a legend at the bottom of the map, for crying out loud! See? 'Bridge out!' It isn't rocket science."


"Scholars now realize that 'X' means many different things in different cultures. Besides, you're talking as if that's the only map," drawled Knack. "This one shows a clear, delightful road right where our visitor wants to go. See?"

"That's in crayon!" exploded Nick.

"You got something against crayon?" inquired Knack.

"No," Nick shot back. "I have something against people destroying themselves."

"Psh," Knack sneered. "You just want safety in rules. The visitor's a daring seeker. He should seek. The journey is what matters, not the destination."

"Seek death?" Nick replied. "I think he'll care plenty about the destination when his car shoots off into space."

There was an angry silence, broken by a sob. It was the visitor, who has tears running down his cheeks.

"All I know is I've yearned to go down Route 49 as long as I remember. Some kids mocked me, others ridiculed me and were mean to me, but the desire has always been there. I can't conceive of not wanting to go down Route 49. It's what my heart tells me to do, and I have to be true to my heart, don't I? I can't lie. It defines me. You can't separate this desire from me. I can't imagine not wanting to go that way. It fills my dreams. I even have a T-shirt. See?" He pulled open his blazer and displayed the garment.

"I understand," crooned Knack. "There is nothing wrong with you or with what you want. And there's nothing wrong with going that way. For you, it is the only way. And in fact, I want to help you. I will personally go ahead of you and remove all the blocks, chains, signs, speed bumps, and ropes that have been stretched across the road. I will mount a parade for you — a Route 49 Pride parade. I will lobby to prohibit people from speaking against traveling Route 49. I will side with you against all the harsh, rule-happy Route 49 nay-sayers. In fact, I will get my brother here fired, because he made you feel bad about wanting to go Route 49. He doesn't care about your feelings, as I do. He doesn't have any love or compassion for you, and I've got buckets of both. Nick's all about rules and maps and shutting you out and playing it safe; I'm all about love and compassion and justice and being bold and daring. Nick is shallow, reactionary and not helpful. I'm deep and thoughtful and helpful. So you just get in your car, and you go go go!"

As the visitor beamed, Nick sprang to block the door. "Whoa whoa whoa, not so fast! Look, friend — how you feel about Route 49 doesn't change the facts: the bridge is out! My feelings aren't the map, your feelings aren't the map. Go that way, and you will die! I don't want you to die. I don't think it's loving or compassionate to give you bad information that means your death. The people who put up those signs and those obstacles knew what they were doing, and they did it because they care about people like you. It shouldn't be easy an comfortable to go down that road. It wouldn't be compassionate of me to focus on giving you a smooth ride to your own destruction, and it isn't "bold" and "daring" to head off to certain doom. Enabling you isn't really helping you. And look, I can show you other ways to go, or I can try to find other ways to help — but don't go that way! It'd be the end of you."

Silence fell again for a moment, then:

"We could call a five-year moratorium on this," offered Knack.

"But I want to go that way now," countered the visitor.

"The map says what it says now, and it isn't unclear," said Nick. "It's said that for a long time, and nothing's changed. Nothing's going to change in five years."

The visitor looked back and forth between the brothers, confused. He knew which brother's advice he liked best, which brother told him what he wanted to hear, but... was that the wisest way to decide?

PREMISE: the bridge was indeed out, and the map was indeed accurate.

QUESTION: which brother actually showed love and compassion?

Dan Phillips's signature

95 comments:

DJP said...

Remember: parable.

Not allegory.

jamesbrett said...

my prediction: not enough folks understand the difference between a parable and an allegory to prevent this comment stream from becoming a complaint session about how many points and ideas in your "parable" don't translate well enough into reality.

- homosexuals are showing up at visitor centers asking christians what they ought to do and how they ought to live their lives.
- the bible isn't nearly as clear on these issues as you make this map out to be.
- God doesn't create people who have as part of their very being a desire to drive on route 49. that's a ridiculous comparison.

i enjoyed the parable, though, thanks.

donsands said...

Well written parable.

"It shouldn't be easy an comfortable to go down that road. Enabling you isn't really helping you."

Speaking the truth, sometimes seems mean, but it's really the compassionate thing to do; the caring thing to do.

So, Nick is the brother.

If someone has cancer, and he is going to die, unless you deal with it, would it be nice and compassionate to not tell him, because you don't want him to be upset?

Rhology said...

LOL @ 5-year moratorium. LOL @ Laren McBrian.

Johnny Dialectic said...

But when you stop following maps, won't life "get big again"?

J♥Yce said...

which brother actually showed love and compassion?

The one that saw and held steadfast to the end from the beginning...the middle, Knack, and all else aside. And pointed to THE truth around the wrong way to go the sensitive seeker didn't seek. While not boasting love and compassion and justice. Yet living out all three.

Frank Turk said...

They both showed love and compassion because they were having perosnal conversations with the visitor.

They didn't blog him. Sheesh.

DJP said...

Oh, and I'll say for myself what I said for Frank: if you like it, remember to hit the ratings. Trolls will.

trogdor said...

I don't see how it could possibly help the church to tell this story. First, you obviously should have a coffee kibitz with Knack to try to hammer out your differences - by which I mean you need to see it his way or shut up, because heaven (if there is one) forbid that the errant one should repent. You should stop hating. Hater.

Stories like this are the reason people don't visit this site much anymore. Did the Holy Spirit specifically lead you to write this parable to mock Knack rather than make a positive contribution to the conversation? It's awful to see such things posted just to draw applause from the Nick-alikes in your crowd. Garbage like this is driving people away from the Jesus of my imagination.

Merlin said...

There were books on sale at the visitors center. Guide books. A few were written by Knack. Some titles were: "The promise driven path to X," "Your best path to X now," "40 days to X," and my personal favorite "Why Engineers have failed to build bridges over X, but together we can build a bridge."

Robert said...

The one who spoke the truth in love. Trying to appease people is not loving...it is selfish. You get to feel good about yourself making somebody else happy by convincing them that their evil desires really don't have a bad outcome and really aren't evil desires.

@jamesbrett,
You wrote that "God doesn't create people who have as part of their very being a desire to drive on route 49. that's a ridiculous comparison."

My response comes from the map. "Let no one when he is tempted say when he is tempted, 'I am being tempted by God'; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death." (James 1:13-15, emphasis mine) It is our own lusts and evil desires (that we are born with as a result of the fall) that lead us into temptation and sin. Thus, as a part of our very being their is a desire to fall into sin, which clearly leads to death.

It is sad to me that people do not turn to the Bible for truth instead of feelings or culture or anything else. God shows us His face there and speaks to us. The more we turn to the world, the more watered down the Word becomes and the more we compromise. And then you wind up with churches supporting gay pride rallies. Which in God's eyes would be the same as lying pride, murdering pride, pride pride, stealing pride, hate pride, (fill in the blank with your sin of choice) pride rallies. People are being paraded down the wide road that leads to eternal death and we should want to keep them from staying on that path because we love them. It is just very sad to me.

DJP said...

TrogdorGarbage like this is driving people away from the Jesus of my imagination.

It's hard to think that this will be topped, but I encourage folks of good faith to try.

Robert said...

@trogdor,

You must have been following the comments the past week or so, huh? I shouldn't be dismayed when I see people write that stuff, but I guess I am just too full of hope for people or something. I'm waiting for the bevy of comments along those lines, though.

DJP said...

If I may tag on, Robert, the genealogy of our evil desires is a red herring. Jesus teaches us that we're all born with evil desires, and that the genesis of all of them is the Fall (Mark 7:20-22; Romans 5:12-21; Ephesians 2:1ff.; 4:18-19, etc.). I don't know whether they're good or bad by how long I've had them, or how intense they are. I know whether they're good or bad by what God has said about them in His Word.

J♥Yce said...

spot on. all the personal conversations in the world that go round in circles change. that. not.

Steve said...

QUESTION: which brother actually showed love and compassion?

Not the straw man brother, but the other one.

Fred Butler said...

Steve rejoins,
Not the straw man brother, but the other one.

And the brother is a straw man how exactly...?

Fred Butler said...

James opines,
- the bible isn't nearly as clear on these issues as you make this map out to be.

Really? The Bible isn't clear about homosexual sin? May I ask you what exactly do you think the Bible should say so it is clear enough for you?

Eric said...

Fred,

Isn't it obvious. Soul patches are going out of style faster than the hipsters can shave them off, so obviously DJP's image of brother Knack with a soul patch is not an accurate reflection.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

QUESTION: which brother actually showed love and compassion?

ANSWER: Easy. The liberal brother who used the historical-critical method of map-reading and said that the map is not inerrant.

DJP said...

Fred, I thought jamesbrett was just giving ridiculous caricatured dodges that cartoon-character drive-bys might throw out.

You think he was serious? Yikes.

Phil said...

Dan you should know from reading the CNN interview with Miller that the noble, strong-yet-vulnerable theological warrior poets like your emergent caricature do indeed believe in the devil, or the bridge out.
It just happens to be symbolic of Nick standing next to him.

Eric said...

Phil,

I don't like your tone.

Steve said...

@Fred: Nack is a straw man because the express point of the post and the thrust of the question is about love.
In contrast, the difference between Nick and Nack isn't their manner, it is their doctrine.
Nack has clearly bad doctrine, Nick has good doctrine. None of us think that speaking or encouraging bad doctrine is loving.

Nick didn't come out of the gate ridiculing the guy for wanting to go down Route 49 either. He was direct, reasonable, and earnest in his appeal. Seemed like a pretty good ambassador to me.

DJP said...

Are you suggesting that nobody talks like Knack?

Readers would be tempted to deluge you with links, if so.

Solameanie said...

To quote Ellen O'Hara talking to Suellen at the dinner table of Tara, "Dan, I do not like your tone, dear."

Just kidding. I just thought I'd say it before someone else did.

J♥Yce said...

You think he was serious? Yikes.

Sarcasm/jesting ~ go figure that can be received as swinging both ways and where she lands.... guilty, too. :-)

Steve said...

@Dan: Not at all. I just think Nack's problem is doctrine, not manner, and Nick had good doctrine and a fine manner. It makes the story a good example of how to engage someone with those kinds of questions, but not a good comparison between being loving and unloving.

DJP said...

What do you think the point of the parable was?

Robert said...

After thinking and re-reading through this, I would probably go even further (maybe wrongly so) and say that Knack will help make laws against Nick speaking in such a hateful way to the visitor and others like him. Because surely it is hateful to say that any desire that we are born with is wrong. Or as some would say, "God created me this way." The problem with that is that God created man without sin, then man sinned and brought sin to all mankind...God did not create us with sin nature.

Tagging back on to what you had written, Dan, and turning again back to James, "Every good thing and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow." (James 1:17) When we see any good thing in us (after looking to His Word, as you said), we know it comes from God. When we see the bad, that is from us. Sadly, people try to point the finger back at God and totally miss the narrative of the Bible.

J♥Yce said...

Frank ~ you just keep cutting it straight while God perfects in time to His image found only in Christ. Published conversation is a sow/reap thing as pointed out ~

http://yfrog.com/gzyktp

Robert said...

@Steve,

Any person who shows kindness in a human fashion, but ignores (wittingly or not) the correct doctrine of love, acts in a manner that is unloving. We have to try to find God's perspective in all of this and not just look at it from the perspective of man. Otherwise, we would be complenting humanists and following a false belief system.

Steve said...

@Dand "What do you think the point of the parable was?"


I thought the point was QUESTION: "which brother actually showed love and compassion"

Victoria Lynch said...

Very nice, Dan. I love parables-especially when I can understand them

Mike Westfall said...

The question is rhetorical, and so the answer is a duh! type obviosity.

Knack was a straw man. So what? This was a parable. Straw men sometimes have their place in rheotic. Jesus himself used straw men in a number of His parables, no?

Herding Grasshoppers said...

Dan,

Great parable. Maybe (definitely) I'm simple minded, but it seems pretty straight forward. Brings to mind Romans 1.

Knack may be "nice" but he's in open rebellion against God. He's suppressing the truth. What can be known about God is plain to him (the map) and he is without excuse. His thinking is futile and his heart is dark. He thinks he's wise (and appears so, by flattering the visitor), but he's a fool. He exchanged the truth for a lie.

And Trogdor... you win! "the Jesus of my imagination." Gotta remember that one!

Julie

Mike Westfall said...

I wish I knew how to spell, "rhetoric."

beaconlight said...

One brother displayed compassion for his ambitions while the other displayed compassion for his well-being. One encourages him to follow his heart, the other to follow what has been written.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

QUESTION: which brother actually showed love and compassion?

ANSWER: Easy. The brother whose love and compassion was perceived and received as loving, encouraging, and affirming.

David Regier said...

What Knack doesn't know is that brother Paddywhack (from across the pond) already offered the traveler purple vestments, a bishopric and a guided tour of Route 49.

Scooter said...

It seems pretty clear that Nick is showing true compassion and love. He stands firm on the words of his betters, the folks who drew the map and saw the road and know the danger lies there.

Knack cares only for himself. He seeks only to be affirmed by others and for them to stroke his ego. He becomes all things to all man so that all men will praise Knack.

PS: Was the latte made with soy? Last I checked vegan was proof of your commitment to dialoguing with others.

RealityCheck said...

@Steve

Miller prattles on about how abortion can be reduced by, not only voting for, but campaigning for the most pro-choice Presidential candidate ever. Mclaren needs a five year break on talking about homosexuality (because apparently the bible isn’t clear enough on it). Pagitt argues that hell isn’t an actual place and you think that Knack is a straw man?!?

Seriously bud, at what point does a thinking Christian start to wonder just why you have such a need to major in the minors and in the process defend these wolfs in sheep’s clothing?

IOW, I think in all your effort to be so loving yourself, your comments are anything but.

candy said...

Nick, being a sensible fellow, knew Highway 49 enough to know that it was a gateway to Yosemite. Knack, on the other hand, knew only the distance to Grass Valley/Nevada City, where he joined a yoga group (yoga IS just stretching exercises after all), and brewed his own beer.

Sorry, got side-tracked.

DJP said...

RegierWhat Knack doesn't know is that brother Paddywhack (from across the pond) already offered the traveler purple vestments, a bishopric and a guided tour of Route 49.

I was wrong. This gives Trogdor a good run... in a different way.

jamesbrett said...

@fred (and @robert),

you have indeed misunderstood my comments.

divinesatisfaction.com said...

Very nice parable...5 year moratorium had me rolling.

I've recently put into words an adaptation to the account given in Luke 16:19ff.

To answer the question - Nick...he'd also be the guy to warm the man in the lazy-boy that his house was burning down.

wv - birlop

Fred Butler said...

Fred, I thought jamesbrett was just giving ridiculous caricatured dodges that cartoon-character drive-bys might throw out.

and

James writes,
you have indeed misunderstood my comments.

Sorry about that if I did. It wasn't entirely clear and at first glance it seemed as though you were advocating the notion that Dan's parable was simplistic and thus unrealistic.

Apologies.

Steve said...

@Reality Check:
I explicitly did not defend "those men" and said that Nick was a good ambassador.
The problem with the parable and with many of the posts above is equating sound doctrine with love.
Christians should both speak the truth AND do it in love.
Truth and love are NOT the same thing. Neither trumps the need for the other, and either without the other is incomplete.

Robert said...

@jamesbrett,

Sorry about that. I was unclear about what you wrote and assumed incorrectly. I guess what I wrote can be used as a preepmptive comment to anybody who comes along and actually wants to write that lol

richturn said...

The loving,compassionate brother bought the traveller an airline ticket; and, traveller collected frequent flyer miles.

There is always the Emergent way.

donsands said...

"He doesn't have any love or compassion for you, and I've got buckets of both."

The map brother is mean.
The non-map brother is kind.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tC8lxryE7iY&feature=player_embedded#!

No substance or truth, but buckets of kindness and love.

Eric said...

Steve,'

The parable does not equate sound doctrine with love, as you assert. The parable merely causes the reader to grapple with the idea that telling an individual what they need to hear is in fact a loving thing to do, whereas telling an individual what they want to hear despite the truth is in fact unloving.

RealityCheck said...

“Truth and love are NOT the same thing.”

So Jesus isn’t both Truth and love?

Come-on… the conflict arises when someone thinks that, in the name of love, it’s alright to compromise the Truth… or pretend it doesn’t even exist.

Also when those who should know better give cover to those that obviously don’t.



Someone should write a parable on that…

Nah… those that need it…. wouldn’t get it.

Steve said...

@Reality Check:
No offense, but slow down and read my last post. Nothing I wrote diminishes the importance of sound doctrine, or speaking the truth. My point is that we should offer sound doctrine with love, in a manner intended to persuade and instruct the person in error, not to belittle them.

Apeleutheros said...

Steve said: "Truth and love are NOT the same thing."

How so? I honestly wouldn't separate the two unless you redefine them with human definitions.

The same God who says 'I am the way the TRUTH and the life', also reveals himself as LOVE itself. He didn't cease to be love when He gave a stiff rebuke to the pharisee or His disciples, just as He didn't cease to be truth when he showed mercy to the woman caught in adultery.

I would rephrase that to say that a 'truth' without love lacks the actual substance of truth itself. Just as a 'love' without the truth is like a devil masquerading as an angel of light.

word of the day: hylighh

Steve Drake said...

Steve said,
"My point is that we should offer sound doctrine with love, in a manner intended to persuade and instruct the person in error, not to belittle them."

And when that sound doctrine offered with love is not listened to, dear friend, what then? How do we proceed?

Steve said...

@Aapaleutheros: I appreciate your thought, but do think truth and love are two different things.
Truth is objective correspondence with reality.
Love in this context is the motive of desiring the best for the other person, and trying to communicate what needs to be said in a manner that demonstrates that.
In Dan's story Nick does that. Even when Nick becomes more urgent and intense, it is clear that Nick only wants what is best for the traveller.
In my opinion yesterday's post is an example of a failure to achieve that.
Read Spurgeon's sermon "Compel them to come in" for an even better example of earnestly speaking uncompromised truth in a passionate and loving manner.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

(Slightly related)

Is there a loving and compassionate way to shoot a wolf who has been feasting on God's sheep?

Does the wolf feel love when it's been shot?

Do the sheep feel love and gratitude to the wolf-hunter when the wolf's been killed or removed?

DJP said...

WHISTLE

I think the current themes have been flogged pretty well to death.

So let me tease it up with a new one.

Nobody has caught a subtext I have in my brainium — and I wouldn't expect anyone to catch it. It's along these lines:

Given this parable, could we take the offensive in re-casting what society views as compassion towards (say) homosexuals? And if so, how so?

figgy5 said...

djp your posts destroy. everything in your post i have come across in the last year and a half i was laughing to myself the whole time. non-followers of this blog would read it and think that knack is the biggest fool ever born. thank God for you and phil

Steve said...

@Steve Drake and Truth Unites
Matthew 18

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

"Given this parable, could we take the offensive in re-casting what society views as compassion towards (say) homosexuals?"

My guess is that Biblical Christians attempting to take the offensive in re-casting what society views as compassion towards (say) homosexuals will be seen as offensive and unloving.

Steve Drake said...

@DJP,
Hi Dan,
Anymore than Paul's exhortation to Timothy to 'preach the word, be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction (2 Tim.4:2)?

Anymore than pastors and theologians across this country who exhort from the pulpit most Sundays the pitfalls of sin and how to live holy?

The parable is a great teaching tool, Dan, and you have learned from the Master, and used it effectively, who Himself used it effectively in His own ministry, the legacy of which we have benefit of in His inscripturated Word.

You have raised an interesting question, and it's good to analyse our tactics from time to time. At what cost, though? Is homosexuality sin? Yes, we would all agree it is. Does God love the sinner? Yes, for we all realize the depravity of our selfish and egotistical lives, and but for the grace of God would be trapped in this depravity.

Should the Church ever say that homosexuality is not sin? No, may it never be that we contradict the Word of God Himself. But are we compassionate enough in our attempts to ameliorate the ostracization(sp?) the homosexual feels? Maybe so. I am interested to hear what others say. Blessings.

Steve Drake said...

@Steve,
But, dear friend, how do you use Matthew 18 on a societal level with non-believers?

David Wayne said...

I like your tone, your parable and your point. Even if I didn't like them, it still wouldn't change the fact that you have spoken truth here.

Mike Westfall said...

> Nobody has caught a subtext I have
> in my brainium — and I wouldn't
> expect anyone to catch it.

mmm... I wonder what that subtext could be?

> Given this parable, could we take
> the offensive in re-casting what
> society views as compassion
> towards (say) homosexuals?

Wait... Isn't that what you just did by posting this parable?
The question, I guess, is whether it's effective for that purpose. I think maybe not. Nobody but the choir really understood (or cared)what Jesus' own parables were about.

It takes More than a clever parable to pull someone from the miry clay.

Steve said...

@Steve Drake
QUOTE: "But, dear friend, how do you use Matthew 18 on a societal level with non-believers?"

Really good question, the answer is "you don't".
Unbelievers aren't subject to that kind of discipline, and we shouldn't be trying to discipline them, we should be evangelizing them by speaking the truth of the Gospel in love and praying that all will come to Christ.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

"@Steve Drake and Truth Unites
Matthew 18"


How do you apply Matthew 18 when the two parties aren't in the same church?

For example, Donald Miller publicly posted the following:

"Wanna watch a modern day digital stoning?

http://teampyro.blogspot.com/2010/12/open-letter-to-derek-webb-2010.html"

in regards to Frank Turk's open letter.

How does Donald Miller use Matthew 18 to discipline Frank Turk?

Steve Drake said...

@Steve,
Steve said,
"Really good question, the answer is "you don't".
Unbelievers aren't subject to that kind of discipline, and we shouldn't be trying to discipline them, we should be evangelizing them by speaking the truth of the Gospel in love and praying that all will come to Christ."

Agreed. But praying that all will come to Christ also contains the realization that all of them won't. So how does a society protect itself against destructive practices such as homosexuality? Are you saying we are not to make laws against such practices? Or are you really saying you don't think homosexuality is really that destructive that society needs to protect itself against?

Steve said...

"So how does a society protect itself against destructive practices such as homosexuality? Are you saying we are not to make laws against such practices? Or are you really saying you don't think homosexuality is really that destructive that society needs to protect itself against?"

I've been giving these questions some thought lately, and I can't commit to an answer. John Frame has some interesting thoughts in his article "Is Natural Revelation Sufficient to Govern Culture?" that have given me pause, but I am still working through it myself.

I'm skeptical of the ability of government to effect moral change, but have no doubt that revival and conversions do.

Steve Drake said...

@Steve,
"I've been giving these questions some thought lately, and I can't commit to an answer. John Frame has some interesting thoughts in his article "Is Natural Revelation Sufficient to Govern Culture?" that have given me pause, but I am still working through it myself."

I appreciate your honesty, dear brother, and would enjoy a discussion with you when you 'can' commit to an answer. I purchased Frame's 'The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God' over the holidays, and have yet begun to read it, but hope to do so soon.

Pax Christi Vobiscum.

RealityCheck said...

Steve,

I was pretty much done here but the Matthew 18 reference has to be challenged.

What part of it are you referring to? Or should I say… what part do you think the Pyro guys are at with this emergent nonsense? My guess is that you think they are at the part where they should go to the lost brother in private. I think they’re way… way… past that. How many have gone to these “brothers” (and yes the quotes are intentional) in private, 2 or 3, or whatever, and those “brothers” just stay the course. IOW, if you really want to see Matthew 18 in practice, at this point, we should be treating them like Gentiles (pagans?) and tax collectors. If that be the case, you should have no problem with the tone around here.

Steve Drake said something very interesting:

“Is homosexuality sin? Yes, we would all agree it is.”

Would we? Does a guy who thinks we should take five years off from talking about it, actually think it’s a sin? Remember Dan’s parable… “"We could call a five-year moratorium on this," offered Knack.” Does Knack really think Route 49 is a problem? No… not at all… and yet YOU keep worrying about how Knack is being mis-represented.

I don’t get it.

Steve said...

@ Reality Check QUOTE "if you really want to see Matthew 18 in practice, at this point, we should be treating them like Gentiles (pagans?) and tax collectors."

. . which is by not allowing them to hold membership, office, or authority in your local church, and by continuing to proclaim the truth in love with the sincere goal of their repentance.

trogdor said...

So, now that I've got a little time to attempt to write something of substance, here goes. You've been warned.

I would suggest that the treatment of Knack in this thread has been, if anything, a little too soft. He's been regarded as having a type of misguided compassion, an assessment with which I completely disagree. His errant love for the visitor is neither loving nor compassionate - it is wicked and evil.

This Knack fellow knew the truth, but he denied it in order to send this poor fellow to a sure death. How in the world can anyone regard this as 'compassionate' in any way? Deceiving someone to intentionally harm him is about as solid an example of pure depravity as you will ever find. Any hint of 'compassion' you can find in his attempt to spare the visitor's feelings/ambitions is slightly overwhelmed by the fact that he intentionally sent him to his death.

Donsands brings up my favorite illustration of such wickedness: "If someone has cancer, and he is going to die, unless you deal with it, would it be nice and compassionate to not tell him, because you don't want him to be upset?" Don't pass this over too quickly. In fact, let's escalate it - a doctor sees that someone has a deadly disease. The doctor has a cure that is 100% effective, but it would really upset the patient to hear the initial diagnosis, so the doctor remains silent (or lies) and lets the patient die. Is this doctor compassionate? Are there any words to strong to describe his depraved cruelty?

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! (Isa 5:20)

(to be continued...)

trogdor said...

(...and now, the conclusion)

And this is the point where I want everyone who's getting fired up about the McLarenses and Bells of the world, if you feel yourself starting to scream "Yeah! How can those people be so eeeeevil?!?" - well, this is where we take out the mirror and look at ourselves for a bit.

Oh sure, I don't go around campaigning for an obvious sin to be considered legitimate and good. I don't play the role of Knack very often, intentionally leading someone to death by encouraging him to jump headlong into sin. But am I active enough in the role of Nick, standing in the gap to try to prevent it?

Or am I content to play the role of the third brother, Fake Shemp? Am I happy to let the visitor drive on, blissfully unaware of the fate that awaits him, as I fade into the background and do nothing?

We're just coming off the 'holiday' season (which, once again, was suspiciously based entirely on Christmas), and no doubt I'm not the only one who spent significant time with lost relatives and old friends. So how did we do? I doubt we have many Knacks here. I hope we were a bunch of Nicks. But God help us if, when it comes to living out the gospel, we turn out to be a bunch of Fake Shemps.

Steve said...

2 Timothy 2:24-26
And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, (25) correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, (26) and they may escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.

Strong Tower said...

Gee, I'd really like to take a spin down (18)49. Sounds like a great tour! Any idea when Californica will have the money to fix the bridge? Maybe when they finish the litigation on Prop 8, they can prop-up the bridge. I know a lady in Chili Gulch who still thinks that all that glitters is gold and that frogs don't jump between twain marks. When I told her the gold ran out before the bridge collapsed, she said she'd take the ferry. Sheesh, some people.. keen like a dull knife. I directed her to Angel's Camp where she could talk to some miners. Little did I know she had a restraining order barring her from contact with children. I mention there are accomodations for a woman of her of mind. She said that was a Motherload off her back (as if that were the only load she was carrying). Still, I be thinking, there are two paths- she can go back, but in the long run, its easier to fly to Nevada City. I knew all she wanted was the gold, to be a rock, but not to roll... but she looked like mom, you know? What's a son to do? So, says I, when you get there you knows, if the stores are all closed, with the Word you can get a look at what yer in for.

RealityCheck said...

Steve,

“. . which is by not allowing them to hold membership, office, or authority in your local church, and by continuing to proclaim the truth in love with the sincere goal of their repentance.”

So we’re back to the “truth in love” part where you think allowing truth to be compromised in the name of love is somehow o.k. because truth and love are not the same thing.

Obviously we’re going to have to agree to disagree. I don’t think compromising truth is o.k. or necessary and I think you’re providing cover for those who do exactly that.

RealityCheck said...

Yes trodgor, I think we all need to be more “Nick” like, especially me, but I also think in relationship to Dan’s parable (and Frank’s open letter from yesterday) the problem isn’t that we don’t have enough “Nick’s”, but that we not only have too many “Knacks”, but too many of those (let’s call them Frik and Frak) who claim to disagree with the “Knacks”, while providing cover for them.

BTW, your comment at 6:14a.m. was simply the best. ;-)

aztexan said...

Phil, your commentary tells me you are missing DJP's point(s) entirely. Don't ask me to explain why. I just know. You don't get it, do you?

Dennis said...

The problem is that the answer is so obvious that we want a 3rd option. Its easier to ask another question that to make a decision.

Thomas Louw said...

The biggest problem is that they are twins it is so difficult for us to tell them apart.

It would be easier if we actually took the time to study the map ourselves.

(listened to your Imaneul sermon Dan, liked it.)

Steve B said...

How we minister to homosexuals is an interesting problem. We tend to treat them like a special case that needs a special, unique, non-threatening approach to try and coax them in the doors. Except that it isn't. Unique, that isn't.

If we truly believe that homosexuality is a sin, then isn't the approach basically the same. Just like the story of Jesus and the rich you man in Mark. Just as the man was forced to choose between his money and following Jesus, homosexuals (and ALL of us) have to make that same choice daily.

Jesus laid it out for the guy. If you want to follow me, then you must get rid of this thing coming between us. He didn't chase after the guy, soft-coat the message, or ease into it. He laid it out, lovingly, but in Truth. The decision what to do with this info was up to the man. He chose to keep his money and walked away. Those involved in homosexuality, pornography, whatever, all make the same choice.

The answer on how we minister to homosexuals is...exactly the same as everybody else. Should the TYPE of sin really change the FORM of the message?

WordHerder said...

Kudos, DJP! Your parable reminds me of this little one: http://tinyurl.com/2fvpz9r.

James S said...

How come nobody ever says to God - "Stop hating sin!. You hater!"

DJP said...

BTW: 49 was just the number that popped into my head. No significance.

James S said...

Dan mentioned real early on here something about clicking on the ratings I think is important to consider.
I often spend entire nights at this fine blog reading since I only discovered it recently. I get so engrossed in it that I fail to rate any of the posts. This post is another great one.
I made up my mind that as soon as I get an opportunity this weekend I will go back through it as far as can and rate all of the posts.
(Everything I like I rate a 5. I'm a generous man.) If I don't find it good (very rare at this blog) I don't even rate it.
I have already begun this morning and will continue after work tonight.
I just want to mention this because I see a lot of great posts that only have like 10 or 12 ratings. So I think I'm not alone in not remembering to give attention to the little rating stars at the top of each post.

aztexan said...

DJP said: "BTW: 49 was just the number that popped into my head. No significance."

I felt sure it was a veiled reference to San Francisco. One imagines Route 49 snaking across the continent from Greenwich Village to the Haight/Ashbury.

Robert said...

I have probably linked to this before, but if you watch from about the 2:30 mark to the end of the clip, MacArthur gives us a good example of how to go on the offensive. We're all sinners and we can choose to keep on sinning or turn to the Word of God. Of course, only God opens up the eyes of people to the truth of His Word, but faith comes through hearing.

Robert said...

Forgot the link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5lgT49M2oY

Strong Tower said...

"49 was just the number that popped into my head."

Must have been a messenger from Satan sent to buffet you in the flesh.

Still, it is interesting that it was so appropo- a wonderfully enticing journey so commonly traveled even by those who don't care what the sights might be. Daily people take that route without asking any questions, simply assuming they know all that is necessary because nothing that they can see immediately around them gives them a clue that there is any danger, new or old. Eat, drink, be happy, 9-5, be home for dinner...

Dandy Dan, the homosexual application remains the same. We are without excuse if in the course of explaining to sight-seekers what the end of the matter is we neglect to explain all that we know about the way that seems right to a man but in the end there is only death. But we are also without excuse if we don't try to flag down the unsuspecting.

Steve said...

@Reality Check
QUOTE"So we’re back to the “truth in love” part where you think allowing truth to be compromised in the name of love is somehow o.k. because truth and love are not the same thing."

I have never said that truth should be compromised in the name of love, and I don't think it should.


1) truth and love are NOT the same thing, and

2) BOTH truth and love are important.

To proceed without truth is error, and to proceed without love is error. You must proceed with both.

donsands said...

"You must proceed with both."-Steve

Yep.

My problem is that at times I leave the truth behind, for fear of man.
Other times I speak the truth boldly, but without compassion.

Then there are those times when I'm able to share the Gospel, and my heart feels the affection it should, and my carnalness is losing the war against the Spirit.

It's been a good dialog.

I shall never get the truth and love down perfectly, but I trust I will continue to grow in His grace and wisdom, and so become more and more mature in His likeness, and so shine brighter for our Father's glory.
God be glorified in all we do, even our chatting on blogs. Amen.

Have a good Lord's day.

Steve said...

@Donsands QUOTE "I shall never get the truth and love down perfectly, but I trust I will continue to grow in His grace and wisdom, and so become more and more mature in His likeness, and so shine brighter for our Father's glory.
God be glorified in all we do, even our chatting on blogs. Amen."

Very well said Don, joined, Amen.
Many blessings to you.

Michael Coughlin said...

Long time reader, first time commenter. Just kidding.

Love the parable. My wife suggested this be printed on one side of a tract with a gospel presentation on the other side.

I agree with her. Let me know what you think. You know how to reach me.