Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A response to "Gossip: a case study"

I received a funny anonymous comment to my earlier post on this subject. It said:

"You speak and act like someone who is not a member of the Christadelphian Community, so is it any wonder that people make up these stories?

What I found really funny was the Freudian slip: "... is it any wonder that people make up these stories?"

Yes, that's what I've been suggesting: most of the gossip and rumours are made-up stories without a measure of truth in them. So why do people prefer the made-up stories in preference to the facts? I think the Bible has something to say about people with "itching ears" who prefer stories to the truth.


Anonymous said...

Reading this post makes one wonder just what is happening among people who profess to follow the Lord Jesus Christ.

I wonder if there is any link between the anonymous message posted on your blog and a (not so anonymous) SMS a member of Pine Rivers meeting received recently.

The message read "Pine Rivers will not be accepted into the Kingdom"

Steve, just how does anybody determine that you do not "speak and act like someone who is not a member of the Christadelphian community" (?) when (a) it is most likely this person has never met you; (b) it is most likely that this person has never even spoken with you, even via the phone; (c) you have never renounced your Christadelphian beliefs; and (d) you continue to be an active member of the Christadelphian community both here and overseas.

And as for the bold assertion that "Pine Rivers will not be in the Kingdom" (by which I take it is meant, those who attend the Meeting at Pine Rivers Worship Centre in Kallangur, Qld are beyond salvation)... all I can say is... that in life I have learned that there are two immutable facts.

(1) There IS a God in Heaven... and (2) I am glad it is not the author of the SMS to Pine Rivers.

Grow in Grace
Go in Love

Gerry said...

Hi Steve,

What a complete INSANITY !

But this is the sort of rubbish that Jesus had to confront from the Pharisees of his day.

Love in the Lord Gerry

Unknown said...

Hi Steve,

I like the comments about living the Kingdom Life now. If we don't try and live it now then no amount of so called “truth” of doctrine counts. The real truth of doctrine is becoming like Christ, and He did not go about keeping records of wrongs, or spreading anonymous horrible stories... He told us to forgive 70 x 7.
Love in Him

Unknown said...

Hmmm...sounds like "blame the victim" mentality...you don't act like a "proper" Christadelphian, so you "deserve" to have stories made up about you.

Anonymous said...

Hi Steve

I wonder whether "Anonymous" might share with us just how you "do not speak and act like someone who is not a member of the Christadelphian community?"

I am curious how anyone goes about determining this info.

If I were you Steve, I would be pleased that the judge that matters will not be judging you (ar any of us) after the sight of His eyes or the hearing of His ears.

When we do "stand before Him" He probably won't even ask if we belong(ed) to a Protestant Religous Organisation called the Christadelphians.

Seeing as God is not a Christadelphian and neither is His Son, my guess is He will actually be more concerned with how we treated the people who shared His church with us (no matter what name the Church called itself).

Did we give 'others' "a cup of cold water in His name" either when they asked for it, or if we saw the need and provided for it.

Did we clothe the "naked", feed the "hungry", give water to the "thirsty", visit the "prisoners", give harbour to those who were caught in the "storm" (Tyndale)?

The way we treat others, Jesus said, will be counted exactly as being the way we would have treated Jesus Himself in the same circumstances. In other words, Jesus wants us to treat everybody as if they were Jesus Himself in disguise.

"In that you have done this (or not done this) you have done this (or not done this) to ME," He said in Matthew 25.

As the previous chapter in Matthew 24 reveals, we either treat the people God has brought into our lives as Family... protecting, nurturing, caring, and nourishing them in His House of Healing (Hospital).

Or we will treat people like the *RC's always do, and excommunicate, disfellowship, beat up, cast out, ostrasize, make up stories, spread rumours, and wound those we do not agree with in our Church, showing as we do, our deep insecurities to all, and our total lack of faith in the Father, His Son and the Spirit working in our lives.

*RC's = Religious Controllers

Let the Sonshine in,

Anonymous said...

Steve - this is "anonymous" here: I wish to remain anonymous for personal reasons so please do not take offence!

I said: "You speak and act like someone who is not a member of the Christadelphian Community, so is it any wonder that people make up these stories?"

....but you have put a very negative slant on this?! It wasn't meant to be accusatory - you've misinterpreted it! Your "post-Christadelphian" views openly expressed on TA and your blog are not traditionally "Christadelphian" - I am not passing judgment here on you personally: just stating a fact which you yourself must admit that you are a very unusual Christadelphian!

You and Cliff have both misinterpreted it and made it a negative statement. All I say is, if you write unusual things about the Holy Spirit, Satan, and other things, and openly criticise the CBM etc (which most "normal Christadelphians give generously to), then that is not generally what run-of-the-mill Christadelphians do or say!!! ....which is why certain ones have obviously concluded you are not in fellowship for how could you possibly still want to be in fellowhsip with "normal" Christadelphians?

....so that's the only point I was making. You have taken it the wrong way mate! I hope that has cleared it up.

Anonymous said...

I wish to apologise to "Anonymous" for apparently misunderstanding the spirit of the message that Anonymous placed on Steves blog regarding Steves status as a Christadelphian. Steve makes plain his purpose in the 'mission statement' of his Blog, "The Truth Shall Set You Free. In the header, the statement reads that Steve's purpose in his blog "is to appeal to them [Christadelphians] to take a fresh look at what the Gospel is all about and to focus on the things that are really important in proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom."

In my opinion, Steve is truly fulfilling the purpose of his blog, for Jesus certainly did not call any of us to be "traditional Christadelphians"... in fact, Jesus had scant regard for "tradition" in most forms, and He was especially scathing when tradition become more important than the clear teachings of God and His glorious Son.

The fact that Steve has the freedom to write on his blog and address the issues that he does, is proof that the Gospel is at work. Try challenging Islam the way Steve is challenging Christadelphians and see what might happen to him and his blog. Whilst I might not agree with everything that Steve might say, I will defend to the death if need be, his right to say it.

After all, in this country and culture, we cherish the freedom of speech, the freedom of movement, the freedom of association, the freedom of thought, the freedom of religion and worship etc. that an understanding of the gospel has brought to us all.

As for "run of the mill" Christadelphians, I doubt that Jesus even bothers with the denominational appellation we have given ourselves. Jesus was anything but "run of the mill" anything. Faith and Grace create extraordinary people, not "ordinary run of the mill traditional anybodies".

I do not agree that Steve writes "unusual things about the Holy Spirit, Satan, and other things.." Challenging, maybe... but not unusual. In fact, Steve is simply expressing what many in our community are already thinking, but have not yet had the courage to either say out loud or write in any forum.

The fact that Steve writes in a challenging way, opening our hearts to other possible ways of thinking, does not place Steve in, or out, of fellowship. It simply means that Steve has an opinion and thankfully, in our culture, he has the freedom to express his opinions. I say that Steve is, in fact, in fellowship with "normal" Christadelphians all over this world... and we applaud you Steve for the courage you have had in calling things as you see them. For many others see these things the same way also.

Let the Sonshine in

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous" here again - I can see that what I wrote can be taken two ways.

I'm not sure I agree with Cliff about freedom of speech, but what I found interesting was this statement:

"Steve is simply expressing what many in our community are already THINKING, but have not yet had the courage to either say out loud or write in any forum."

It was interesting because we all have the freedom to think. Christadelphians are thinking people by nature - otherwise they wouldn't be Christadelphians AND - by strange co-incidence - only the other day I created my own anonymous blog called "Thinking Christadelphians" as a means of trying to gather thoughts together on difficult and contemporary issues.

I do not particularly like forums.


Anonymous said...

Hi Anon

I challenge your statement that "Christadelphians are thinking people by nature - otherwise they wouldn't be Christadelphians... " to quote yourself.

No doubt there are thinkers within CD... but in my experience, they tend to be the ones "who are shown the door first."

Let's be honest. Most CD's are such today because they were born into a CD family, or their family has introduced them to CD teachings.

I am not saying CD teachings are wrong (a point for debate, perhaps) but in all honesty, most CD's are very narrow minded, having been brainwashed into believing that their way of thinking is the only way to the Kingdom. This has happened because human beings tend to allow other men to do their thinking for them.

This can be described as "Institutional Thinking"... such thinking sees the protection of the Institution as more important than the individual for whom Christ died.

That is why there is such a proliferation of "Fellowships" within CD... each claiming to have the inside scoop on how God wants them to think.

Jesus did not teach us to think narrow minded like many CD's currently do... He said "the Way" is Narrow (because Grace carries no legalistic burdens). Jesus did not say our "thinking" should be 'Narrow' -and using Him as the model, that most certainly is the case.

Seeing as Jesus is not a Christadelphian... and neither is His Father... simply belonging to any particular denomination is not going to save us.

What does save us then, if correct "Doctrinal Knowledge" cannot save us?

Let the Sonshine in

Anonymous said...

Hi Anon

Could you please expain this comment from your pen..."I'm not sure I agree with Cliff about freedom of speech..."?


Anonymous said...

Hi Cliff - About freedom of speech: in Christ I do not think we have any "rights" or "freedom" of speech" - certainly not in humanistic or worldly terms . for example Hitler had freedom of speech, and look at the fruit of that.

The example of Christ actually is not to exert the right to freedom of speech - infact Christ kept a lot of things quiet or only said things in response to aquestion.

No I believe our speech has to be seasoned and guided by mind of Christ - therefore we do not have our own "freedom of speech" in that sense.

As for Christadelphians and their ability to think it is the same as any other religious community I suppose, but on the whole I have always found that despite their weaknesses brethren and sisters thinking is shaped by Scripture and not the world.

Amen to the Son shining in.