Recently Ken Silva, of Apprising Ministries linked to my site. His post was critical of a post I had written on Bernard Clairvaux’s Four Degrees of Love. His link completely ignored half of my post, instead choosing to focus on the part that would fit his judgment. I couldn’t respond on his site because, well…Ken has turned off the comments on his sites. It doesn’t really bother me. Ken is introducing people to my blog who I would rarely ever reach so its not all that bad.
It’s kind of strange in some ways being the target of judgment by a fellow brother who knows virtually nothing about me. Ken has never come to me one on one in private and confronted me, or listened to my side of the story, or why I believe what I write about. He simply made judgments about me. In the end, I get people like Ken.
Ken’s only power is in his capacity to scream, shout, and hopefully convince me that I’m a heretic. I don’t share Ken’s opinions about my theology but it wouldn’t be the first time someone called someone else a heretic. Jesus was called a heretic. Luther was called a heretic. Galileo was called a heretic. Yet each won out by holding onto truth. In the end Jesus is my judge and I’m very comfortable with that. Like I’ve said many times my faith in NOT in my belief system. I don’t think I’m smart enough to figure it ALL out. I’m very confident that I will get some stuff wrong. My faith is in the PERSON of Jesus.
And I began thinking about people like Ken, who build an entire identity on judging other Christian’s in the name of God. Who cares that Jesus says don’t do this. It doesn’t really matter. Ken feels that this is what he is called to do. And his power lies in the fact that we respond. We don’t turn the other cheek or walk away from the argument. I see many friends get pretty upset at his comments.
It actually wasn’t the first time and because I write about Emergence it probably won’t be the last. Last year, Ken actually came and commented on my site. It felt kind of strange to be honest. I had written about Phyllis Tickle’s The Great Emergence conference, sharing the dialog on the end of Sola Scriptura. Much of his judgment over me appears to do with Emergence Christianity. And to be fair, Ken was very gracious in his comments on my site. He said,
“About three years ago God took me in a different direction. He revealed that what the Emerging Church was doing was absolutely not a move of His, but He allowed it to provoke His followers to finally stand up for the genuine Gospel of Jesus Christ. And so Apprising Ministries was born.
So Jonathan since we’re diametrically opposed, which of our subjective “feelings” is really from God ? Something serious to think about.”
And I said,
“I guess the only real test is the fruit of our ministries Ken. I would say this. If what I am doing does not produce love then I am the one who is in the wrong.
I absolutely believe in what I said. Ten years from now the emerging church will look radically different, but it will only be true if it produces a theology based on love.
But these two experiences got me thinking. What would be the best way to approach Ken and those in the future? What would be the best way to reveal the love that I was talking about? People like Ken need to know the love. They need to know what it feels like to have someone turn the other cheek. They need to know what it feels like when we don’t fire back with a smart, quick, snappy, yet angry answer that only seems to produce more heat.
In the words of the poet, Lenny Kravitz, “Let Love Rule.”So when Ken Silva comes to my site, the ONLY response I will give him is, “We Love You Ken Silva.” If he throws heat…”We Love You Ken Silva.” If he offends my mother…”We Love You Ken Silva.” If he says I am going to hell…”We Love You Ken Silva.” It’s that simple. I’m going to resist the urge to pop off with some witty comment that would make my mother proud.
I invite you to join me if you so wish. Steal the banner if you need to. It’s meant to be harmless in a fun way. Do we in the emerging church really stand for something or are we just gonna talk about it all day? Is the kingdom really about love? This is our opportunity to show some love to a brother who really needs it. Simple, clean fun my friends. Now lets get lovin’.