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“Let the Hate Flow Through You.”

I almost went there. You know, to the Dark Side.

Stuff-Religious-Progressives-LikeSo this weekend, I posted THIS UPDATE on Facebook. It’s my idea for a Page that would catalog, critique, and ridicule some of the nonsense that religious progressives spew. A parody of parody sites. It’s been brewing for a while now as I’ve followed sites and bloggers bent on bashing conservative evangelicals.

I had been undecided on publishing such a project, but had went so far as to start recruiting a team of admins. I secured the FB URL and started toying with a header. But after reading some of the responses to that post, I returned to my right mind.

Like this comment from Alan:

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This from Melissa:

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And this from Jessica:

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I think they’re right. I’m too tightly wound for this stuff. And I think it’s ‘a bit like bowing to their level.” It’s “an eye for an eye.” It’s not edifying. Yes, I believe religious progressives are hurting the cause of Christ. Yes, I believe sites and bloggers who devote themselves to this kind of policing are fueling hatred, not healing. And yes, I will continue to discuss and debate this issue.

But I can’t make this my “mission.”

God, no.

I’ve got projects I’m excited about right now, which give me energy and don’t drain me. Following religious progressives THAT closely would do just the opposite. It would damage my soul. Besides, I just don’t have the time. I don’t have the constitution, either. I get obsessed with things too easily as it is! It would scar my moral retina to stare too long at such a thing. It would leave me crippled. Hating.

So it’s trashed.

I may have to unfriend some people to get some distance. I may have to stop reading some of these websites. Whatever. I need to turn a corner. Pray for me. But I just can’t go there.

Sorry, Emperor. You lose.

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{ 28 comments… add one }
  • Margaret September 25, 2013, 6:01 AM

    I think you have made a healthy choice, Mike. We are given a finite amount of time and energy to invest, so let’s invest it in building up the kingdom, not in tearing it down. May the Lord continue to bless you and guide you and give you peace.

  • Jason Joyner September 25, 2013, 6:29 AM

    Heh. You are now a Jedi…

    When I saw this on Facebook over the weekend, I had similar thoughts. You’ve got too much to offer to take this on as a mission. Get that non-fiction book out there. Share your story. And you always have the blog if there’s something really wacky that needs critique.

    I got to meet Rachelle Gardner at the ACFW conference and talked about you for a moment. Good stuff.

  • Sergius Martin-George September 25, 2013, 7:07 AM

    I had a very similar experience with a satirical blog I started a couple years ago. I became increasingly uncomfortable with the fact that, in the beginning, I was getting a lot of support from conservatives, then later, from more left-of-center Christians. It came to a head when I had prepared a post about the whole Doug Wilson / Jared Wilson 50-Shades-of-Grey brouhaha that someone wisely suggested I not publish. I think I would have regretted it. To make a long story short, I let the blog atrophy. Might bring it back some day — we’ll see. But for now, I’m holding back for many of the same reasons you’re not going forward with “SCPL.”

    Speaking of “SC…”-blogs, have you interviewed Stephanie Drury yet?

    • Mike Duran September 25, 2013, 6:30 PM

      Sergius, it’s still on the table. I submitted the questions last weekend. Waiting to hear back from her.

  • Johne Cook September 25, 2013, 7:42 AM

    I am pleased that you continue to let the thing that consumes you creatively and intellectually be your love for God. I sympathize with many of your views but am aware that it is not our job to do battle with everyone who is wrong on the internet. It is our job to love God, love our neighbor, make disciples. It is easy to get sidetracked. I’m relieved you listened to wise counsel (waves to Cmyrugal).

  • Katherine Coble September 25, 2013, 7:47 AM

    These people do not deserve the courtesy of your time.

  • Abby Normal September 25, 2013, 8:10 AM

    Good on you. Life’s too short to make negativity your business, and I think sometimes you have to ask yourself “if it weren’t for the Internet, would I even be worrying about this?”

    I’ll admit here that I’m a pretty regular reader of Stuff Christian Culture Likes (moreso the original blog although I lurk on the FB page at times) because I’ve identified with a lot of stuff on there. While I don’t feel that I’ve ever been in an abusive church situation, as I’ve gotten older I’ve just been feeling increasingly unwelcome in the more mega-churchy groups that most of my family belongs to. If nothing else, the blog was good for helping me find out that I wasn’t alone in my unease, and that I wasn’t less of a Christian for having these misgivings.

    However, the drawback to reading it (moreso on the FB than anything else) has been finding out about negative stuff that I wouldn’t have been aware of otherwise. I’m an Episcopalian now, and most Episcopalians don’t even know who Mark Driscoll is, or John Piper or any of those other guys. And really, in the grand scheme of things, those guys have no bearing on my life at all–I’m just fine listening to my own priest, since he’s the one I’ve got an actual relationship with. It gets to the point where reading about the latest creepy sexist quote from Mark Driscoll just raises my blood pressure without accomplishing much else–and if I didn’t have Internet access I wouldn’t have even heard of the guy!

    If I’ve learned anything, it seems that the Internet is really great for bringing out the worst in people, be they liberal or conservative. At some point you just have to turn the thing off.

  • Donna Pyle September 25, 2013, 8:15 AM

    I think I shall not be so afraid of you anymore. 🙂 You’ve made a wise choice filled with integrity and guts. It’s easy to battle with those who disagree or sling mud, but we’ve got a much larger battle at stake: pointing people to the Savior, not the snake. Well done, my Friend.

    • Mike Duran September 25, 2013, 6:35 PM

      Donna, why were you EVER afraid of me?

  • Jill September 25, 2013, 8:22 AM

    I agree with Katherine.

  • Jessica E. Thomas September 25, 2013, 8:33 AM

    I agree with Jill who agrees with Katherine. 🙂

    I’ve also come to similar conclusions. I followed some progressive sites for awhile, but I finally deleted the feeds. That stuff’s like poison. I vomitted it out of my mouth. NOT WORTH IT.

  • Heather Day Gilbert September 25, 2013, 8:37 AM

    Yes. Poison is right, as Jessica said. You just have to get away from it. We all see the hatred they spew…it is NOT building the body of Christ, just tearing it up. It’s every man for himself…kinda like Darth. Which is the opposite of Christ, who had plenty to say about how we’re to treat our brothers/sisters and the importance of interacting as a BODY. Sometimes snark is a subtle form of hate…or not so subtle. Glad you resisted, Mike.

  • Robert H. Woodman September 25, 2013, 8:47 AM

    “Progressive Christianity” is not worth my time and energy. I’m glad you decided it wasn’t worth your time and energy also. Keeping you in prayer.

  • Carla Laureano September 25, 2013, 8:48 AM

    Happy to hear this, Mike. I had to turn that corner myself because I found that I didn’t like how bitter it was turning me. Go write some stuff, okay?

  • Bridget September 25, 2013, 8:53 AM

    You recognized the lure for what it is. Good for you. Not easy when you’re in the thick of it.
    Phillippians 4:8 — Whatever is true, honorable, right, and pure … excellent and worthy of praise.

  • Karin September 25, 2013, 9:36 AM

    I don’t know. I’m torn on this. When do progressives step back from the fight? And who will fight them if 0rthodox Christians are the only ones who want to figuratively lay down the sword? A couple comments pointed out that progressivism is poison. Yeah, I agree. So what do we do about poison? Mike, I’m not saying *you* are the one to do battle on this. You made the right decision for you. But I think this is a good battle, a necessary one, and I don’t think it’s slinging mud (as another comment had it) to stand up and boldly speak the truth.

    • Abby Normal September 25, 2013, 9:51 AM

      There are “progressives” of many different stripes out there, and few of them are actually out there bashing conservatives. Just like how few conservatives fit the racist/sexist/backwards hater stereotype.

      At some point, someone has to be the “bigger man” who decides not to keep giving yet one more eye for another eye.

      • Karin September 25, 2013, 9:56 AM

        I disagree with your premise that fighting back is an “eye for another eye.” I believe it’s defending the faith, which we are told to do. Maybe it’s all in how you do it, but doing it, per se, is not wrong.

        • Abby Normal September 25, 2013, 10:04 AM

          There are plenty of other ways to “defend your faith” that don’t involve mocking and belittling people, even if you think “they’re the ones that started it”.

          Personally, I think Mike’s approach goes a lot further toward “defending the faith” than a snarky website would, but what do I know?

          • Heather Day Gilbert September 25, 2013, 10:24 AM

            Karin, I will just say that I’ve gotten in a firefight with hostile progressives before, and what happens is anything BUT healthy. You can be logical and defend your views, but inevitably it will disintegrate into the lowest of name-calling, straw-man, basically any type of illogical attack. In the end, there will be NO acknowledgment that there is a reason to give grace to the evangelicals they’re attacking. Yet there is a constant DEMAND for tolerance of acid remarks and hatred. In the end, they will know where you stand, and they will dislike, if not even hate, you for it. Not that you can’t stand up for what you believe…I’m just saying it’s never a fair fight.

            • Karin September 25, 2013, 11:05 AM

              Heather, I understand what you’re saying. I’ve been in the same sorts of fight. There’s no logic to them, no conclusions arrived at, etc. But I think there’s value in simply saying, “No, that’s not true,” regardless of the reply. I think it’s wrong to constantly cede in the name of whatever. All that does is encourage more of the same–and I think it leaves more room in which this particular brand of nasty progressivism can grow and spread. If young Christians don’t hear older Christians defend the faith–including by parody, which is effective and can be done without spite–what will they think? Worse, what will they come to believe? Eventually the only voices they’ll hear in the culture are those of progressives.

    • Katherine Coble September 25, 2013, 11:10 AM

      I’ve not seen a unilateral disregard for conservative Christians from progressives (of either a religious or political progression). I’ve seen fringe elements of both wings get a bit over the top. I used to engage but I just can’t anymore. I don’t think that in my case engaging served the purpose I intended or hoped. In the intervening years I’ve found myself much more able to have a dialog with folks of all points on the spectrum by remaining firm yet kind and by avoiding those who merely seek to provoke.

      I understand, Karin, what you mean by defending the faith. For me, though, I realised after enough interactions that I could better defend the faith by preserving my testimony.

      • Karin September 25, 2013, 1:47 PM

        Katherine, I agree there are Christians in both wings who are over the top, but the almost anti-Christian Christians, the ones who write blog posts titled “10 Reasons Why Christians Are Idiots” and make their bones by attacking orthodox Christianity and fishing for praise from those who are hostile to Christianity, are almost exclusively progressive.

        My hesitation about Mike’s decision comes because I’m thankful there are people out there who do speak up and take the heat for speaking up. Lies stick if they aren’t continually challenged. But whether you want to–or should–do battle with the sort of religious progressives Mike writes about has to be an individual decision, made with prayer. It can be a bad thing for some people–very detrimental. Your decision to preserve your testimony is probably the one most of us should take.

    • Mike Duran September 25, 2013, 7:00 PM

      Karin, I appreciate and share your concern. I’ll never stop speaking up about this issue. It’s just I felt I was getting sucked into a black hole. I kept reading these blogs and updates, stewing and fuming. It wasn’t healthy. I was obsessing and hating. In fact, I thought a lot about Psalm 1:1: “Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers.” And I realized if I was to go down that road, I’d be doing just that — “sitting in the company of mockers.”

      I agree with you about fighting the good fight. And I will! I just believe the Lord’s telling me my “mission” is not there. I have bigger things to do. That would not be good for my soul. And, in a way, I wonder if the folly of their ways will eventually become plain. Blessings!

      • Karin September 26, 2013, 9:38 AM

        I totally get it, Mike. I stew and fume a lot myself over this issue, and I know it’s not good. You have to go where the Lord tells you to go, and I believe you will. Blessings to you, too.

  • D.M. Dutcher September 25, 2013, 5:17 PM

    Yeah, I can get not wanting to be a lightning rod for that. It’s sort of a rigged game anyways, where transgressing what is popular is dandy, but mirroring it is going to get you slammed, even by those who you might be allied with. The psychic cost for this isn’t small, even if you have a tough skin.

  • Matthew Sample II September 25, 2013, 7:54 PM

    I’ve toyed with the idea of answering back in like manner. I always feel like I’m descending a bit when I do.

    Somehow it feels more right to weep than mock sometimes. But then I’m one of those artist types……

  • Rebecca LuElla Miller September 26, 2013, 5:01 PM

    Mike, I think you made a good choice. I spend a number of days years ago trying to reason with a couple guys who thought the way to correct false teaching was to snark them into the truth. It seems to me to be contrary to what Scripture calls us to. “Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.” And many other verses.

    So yes, stooping to their level is precisely what I’d call it. It’s hard enough to handle the unkind things people can say online without purposing to go on the attack.

    Becky

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