Throwing the First Stone: The Scourging of Dan Haseltine by Christina Knowles

 

Courtesy of Google Images
Courtesy of Google Images

One of my favorite bands is Jars of Clay. When I first became a Christian, Redemption Songs was the first CD I bought. I learned to worship God listening to this CD. Then I bought their self-titled debut album, which contained the song “World’s Apart.” This song speaks to me deeply still to this day. In fact Jars of Clay is a huge part of my daily worship of God.

If you follow Twitter’s trends, then you know that a big scandal erupted when Dan Haseltine, of Jars of Clay, tweeted some questions he was wrestling with regarding how Christians should approach the topic of gay marriage. Obviously these questions just could not be discussed adequately on a platform like Twitter. In his blog he explains what caused the biggest offense and what he actually meant:

“I don’t particularly care about Scriptures stance on what is ‘wrong.’ I care more about how it says we should treat people.”

“In the heat of discussion, I communicated poorly and thus unintentionally wrote that I did not care about what scripture said.  Thus, the tsunami hit.  It was picked up by bloggers and written into editorials before I could blink.  And rightly so, people were shocked and offended by my statement dismissing the value of scripture.  I got it. And possibly, I got what that combination of statements warranted for response. I should’ve chosen my words more wisely” (Dan Haseltine)

You can read the full explanation and apology here at his website: http://danhaseltine.com/blog/2014/4/25/reset-contexttangentapology.html

To me this is an obvious mistake. Have you ever told your child, “I don’t care what you think! Just do it!”? You don’t mean that you really don’t care; you just mean that it is beside the point or not relevant to the discussion. Whether or not it was a sin was irrelevant to the topic of how we treat people. Clearly, Twitter is not an appropriate platform for complex discussions.

When I read his tweets, I immediately thought that he was working through some complicated issues and needed to discuss them–nothing more. Personally, if he did decide that he did not oppose gay marriage, that would not make me assume he is denouncing the faith or anything else. Some Christians believe that they have no right to impose their beliefs on those who do not share their convictions. Other Christians do not believe that it is actually a sin the way they interpret the Bible. Lots of Christians are confused by these issues and have to struggle with passages in the Bible that go against what our culture accepts.

But what seems worse to me is the mean and, in my opinion, Pharisaical response directed toward the band as a result of a few tweets. A couple of days ago, I started seeing shocking posts about “throwing out your Jars of Clay CDs” and all manner of name-calling, “heretic,” “apostate,” “false prophet,” along with accusations that they have always just been “in it for the money.” Shocked, I immediately went to Haseltine’s tweets and waded through more of the insanity, searching for a lucid explanation.

As a person who openly struggles with my faith, the tendency for some Christians to lash out and attack their own scares me. It is one thing to point out a mistake or ask what was meant by a certain remark, but why the knee-jerk attack on his beliefs? Just from listening to the lyrics Jars of Clay write, and what they choose to record led me to believe that this was either a new crisis of faith or more probably a misworded expression of frustration in getting his point across, the latter turning out to be the truth. Why are people so quick to jump to conclusions? Doesn’t anyone ever ask questions and wait peacefully for a reply anymore?

In my opinion, indignant Christians did more damage to the faith by attacking Dan Haseltine than his misspoken tweets could ever do. I believe there are many reasonable and unruffled Christians who do not immediately turn every mistake into a platform to attack those who disagree with them, but unfortunately, the ones who do are much more visible.

While reading the comment thread on Michael Brown’s article “The Shattering of Jars of Clay” on CharismaNews and on Twitter, I could not stop the image of the Pharisees self-righteously throwing accusations at Jesus while harboring murder in their hearts. Granted, Dan Haseltine is not Jesus, but he certainly was not deserving of their hypocritical scorn. By their very words they reveal the redwood tree lodged in their own eyes while they attempt to gouge out the speck in Haseltine’s.

The irony of this situation is glaring. While attempting to rescue Christianity from Haseltine’s innocent solecism, the whole point being that Christians should treat others with love first and foremost, they batter and abuse Haseltine, treating him with anything but love. Who is really guilty of the greater error here? — Christina Knowles

Advertisements

Quiet Desperation–Okay, Maybe Not So Quiet by Christina Knowles

I’ve watched a lot of movies and read a lot of stories about people who have had a great awakening or an epiphany and completely rebooted their lives after finding out they have a terminal illness or after almost dying in an accident. I seriously want a reboot. Do I have to get sick or get in a major accident to do it? I hope not.

il_340x270.500752422_4gcv
http://www.etsy.com340 × 270Search by image Photo of Retro Bicycle in Front of Cafe – Fine Art Photo Entitled Quaint – 8. Photo of Retro Bicycle in Front of Cafe – Fine Art Photo Entitled Quaint

If I found out I had a terminal illness and was told I had six months, or even a year to live, I would change my life immediately. So, why don’t I do it now? Why not live the life I want while I am still healthy and able to enjoy it? It seems I am in the majority with this one. The wisdom of Thoreau comes to mind. What’s the famous quote from Walden? “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.”

I don’t think I would go that far. In fact, for the most part I love my life. I think, herein, lies the actual problem. I should clarify–I love my home life. I want more time being with the people I love and doing the things that matter. You see, like many people, I am sick of my job. It is slowly, maybe quickly, now that I think about it, sucking the life out of me. It is overwhelmingly stressful. I am not exaggerating when I say that I think it is literally killing me. Isn’t that kind of like having a terminal illness?

That is a bit of an exaggeration. I don’t feel ill, and I am not in any physical pain, unless you count the anxiety attacks that keep me awake at night. I don’t have the emotional trauma of knowing how little time I have left. But even though I don’t have a doctor giving me a time frame, I could die tomorrow or next week. With my luck, it would be on a Friday right after work.

But the truth is that this slow death is not traumatic enough for me to take a risk. Why don’t I have the guts to live the life I want to live? Am I enslaved by my own comfort? Like many Americans, I work to pay for things to make me happy because my work makes me unhappy. It’s a trap. I have thousands of dollars of student loans to get an education, so I can pay back my student loans. Sometimes I wish I never had a college education and a career. Yes, I know. There are homeless and starving people who would love to trade places with me. Maybe that’s what I’m afraid of–I know my life could be so much worse, but is that any way to live? Afraid that things could be worse? Am I afraid to give up the material luxuries to which I’ve become accustomed to the point that I would kill myself working to keep them? How important are they that now my daydreams consist of working in a little flower shop and going home carefree to a tiny two-room house, riding my bike because I can’t afford a car that is likely to break down at any moment. And I will sleep well in my tiny house, nothing to panic about. Like Thoreau, I want to “live deliberately . . .and not, when I [come] to die, discover that I had not lived . . . I [want] to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life.”

But I am rudely awakened from this fantasy by the thought of health insurance and retirement accounts and veterinary bills. There is no such thing as carefree. Were we even meant for that kind of life? Isn’t it conflict and struggle that make us thrive? Or at the very least give us the contrasts that make us appreciate the good times? I mean, would I even love being at home so much if I hadn’t just left work? I don’t know, but I would like to try. It’s not like I want to quit working and striving. I just want something that doesn’t feel like it’s hurtling me at full-speed toward the grave.

So I again turn to Thoreau for advice: “I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” But I have never been good at taking advice.I find that I am not really a risk-taker when it comes down to it. Although I have intermittent lapses, I am practical and responsible. I also fear the unknown. Even if what I have seems intolerable at times, I suspect that the alternative is more intolerable. Maybe this is just a mid-life crisis, but if it is, it’s a little late. I see the hourglass emptying, and I know if I’m going to change, it has to be now. But I don’t have the courage or faith or maybe enough desperation, so I guess I have no choice but to go to the grave with the song still in me.–Christina Knowles

All quotes from Henry David Thoreau’s “Walden: Or Life in the Woods”

Photo of Retro Bicycle in Front of Cafe – Fine Art Photo Entitled Quaint – 8. Photo of Retro Bicycle in Front of Cafe – Fine Art Photo Entitled Quaint www.etsy.com

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: