Thursday, August 30, 2007

going over the edge

My internet presence has changed a good bit since I first became a member of an online forum, I guess almost six years ago. I don't remember those early days so very well, I admit. Nor can I remember how many different such places I have at one time or another been a member of, though I am still a pretty steady contributor at the one that the first one eventually morphed into, or was taken in to, or whatever.

There are a few things I remember from those early days. I can't remember how, but early on I got on the wrong side of one other person, and someone I could only consider a crony of his, and for a bit we were at each other. Then, in another thing in which I can't remember, he and I became friends, at least as far as is possible in such a setting. I was more then a little saddened when he got into a row with some of the board's powers-that-were, and lost his membership there.

Probably the first really big battle I got into in which I was a focus was with someone in the cult of Christian Science. This went on for several weeks, and was quite eye-opening.

After that, I kind of went over into discussions of the end times--always a crazy place. It was my first introduction to some of the non-dispensationalist end-times views, and I can't say I was impressed by much except the tenacity of those who hold other views.

Throught both of those, there were the often lively discussion on certain modern ministers or tv personalities. Trust me, if you wanted to start a nice little headed debate, all you had to do was mention Benny Hinn, and sit back and watch the sparks fly.

Things changed against after a while--one can grow weary of making the same end-times arguments over and over again, after all--and next on my main interests was what is called Current Events. Again, eye-opening. Such discussions often centered on social or political issues, and could in themselves be rather sharp at times.

There've been other, less serioius and less heated, discussions as well. Books and movies have been subjects, and good ones, too. There was a completely whacky one in a fun section that went on for quite a while.

I guess all of this is to say that I've been involved in a few tussles on-line in my time. I understand the passions that such discussions can rouse, and have myself had to more then once go back and edit something I had just posted because I on my second thoughts I figured it was too sharp or too insulting. I'm not particularly proud of that, it's just how things were at times. Nor am I still above the use of sarcasm when I figure it's called for.

I understand as well the desire many people have for their ideas. For example, I am very strongly on the 'sound doctrine over feelings ' side in debates on doctrinal issues. There have been debates over such things as the Trinity, the humanity or divinity of Christ, and the reliability of the Bible that I have been one of the main contributors to, as well as discussions on the modern prophetic and apostolic movement, and more recently some things said by those who claim to be in the Emergent/Emergin Church Movement.

I have been among fundamentalists, evangelicals, and I think among emergents, and there are some things in each I can respect, and other things in each that rub me wrong. I am one person, so making me happy is not and should not be necessarily a big deal to any particular movement, but I am also one who must make the best decisions I am able to on any particular church.

For all that I think there are things to stand up for, I do think there are things and places in which it's just not worth getting riled over. For example, there is here...

Veggie Tales and the Wonderful World of Ha’s

I can understand and respect someone not wanting their kids to watch Veggie Tales, but to go as far as this person does in trying to denigrate them is to my mind rather silly. Can I also find it a bit questionable to in one paragraph decry the 'more merchandising of Christ' while in the next there are links to purchase CDs of hymns?

I don't know how much I really want to get into this. I frankly find the rhetoric of this Veggie-blast enough of a refutation in its own rights. I think that for most of us, we are glad to see when someone is on our side, and is teaching things we can agree with. Veggie-Tales is a cartoon, with cartoon characters, and I would dare say that children know that very well. Most of the children who watch VT no doubt have already learned that in real life vegetables do not talk, do not sing silly songs, and do not act. Most probably already know that the battle of Jericho did not have veggies throwing slushies at each other, or they will learn such when they are old enough to handle the reality.

More then that, I have seen in at least one setting where VT stories were used to minister to college students.

Again, the person who wrote this tirade can dislike VT, and not show them to children, and I am fine with that--such is this person's opinions, and I can respect that. But for this person to go on and condemn those who don't mind them and do show them to children is going too far, and I cannot accept such a "My way or the highway" mentality as being good. We are not dealing with great doctrinal issues, and I think such an attitude inappropriate and out-of-proportion.

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