Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tolerance For People...Like Me?

I have made a decision to take an extended sabbatical from Facebook. It's not that I don't like it. I love Facebook. I have connected with people from my past in ways I could not have done unless I hired a Private Investigator to hunt them down and I really don't know if I would have actually called them on the phone or been able to hang out with them because we all live so far apart.

I also believe that Facebook is a great way to share the things on your heart with all your friends. Problem is, I share the things on my heart with all my friends. And those that disagree don't like it, and boy, do they have a temper. I read all their posts about race and how horrible white, middle-class men are...people like me. Others post things about homosexuality, social justice, and liberal politics and I may ignore some of it, but when it gets ridiculous and I call out a false teacher, I get attacked for doing what God has called me to do: protect his sheep.

I know, I know. You don't have to tell me how difficult communication on social media is. Some will say this kind of dialogue doesn't belong on social media or blogs because it doesn't work and people only get mad at each other. I say people get mad at each other because they don't know how to communicate, period. That, and people are selfish.

I still believe that having a voice and a mass audience to communicate to is an effective way to have your voice heard. What I am seeing, though is that voices like mine are not welcome by people who preach tolerance and equality. Voices like mine are being frowned upon.

In church circles, there are voices fighting for things that I disagree with. They want "gender justice" in the pulpit. I think that is offensive. I read in scripture that I have been called by God to lead my family both at home and in the church. I am the head of my home. One phrase I hear used about people that think like me is that, "We will just have to wait for a generation or two to die off to make more changes."

How offensive is that? I used to think the same way until I started to think about who it is I was talking about. My brothers and sisters in Christ are not agenda items. I do not find it loving to think change needs to happen and I will have to wait for a generation or two of God's people who fought and scrapped and took a stand for the Bride of Christ to die in order to have a woman preach a sermon. That's sick. And it is people like me. You who believe this are waiting for me to die? I am trying to fulfill my role as a husband and as a father and you're not happy I believe that? Your agenda is more important than my life?

I stopped using the phrase and I stopped holding the belief. I will love my brothers and sisters in unity as we work toward sharing the message of Christ for everyone so that all might be saved.

It seems that tolerance for people is only stretched as far as I'm willing to give it. If we disagree, then tolerance goes out the window. "Tolerance" as a word is being misused and redefined. It used to mean we agree to disagree. Now it means society has an agenda and if you don't conform, you're wrong and we're going to throw as much hatred and vitriol at you that we can muster. We're going to use Saul Alinsky tactics to demonize you for thinking out of the bubble of society's loudest voices. We may even shut your business down and throw you in prison.

So, because of this lack of true tolerance and real love toward someone who is supposed to be a brother in Christ I am stepping away from Facebook. I want people to know I am not mad at them. I did do a huge pruning of my friends list, but I made a public post so everyone would know where to reach me. I just want us all to consider that God's word is clear. Christ made it clear. Love is important, but we love God first and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ loudly. That means we rebuke false teachers. We love people but call on sinners to repent. It hurts, but if I am in sin the last thing I want you to do is "tolerate" it and tell me you support me in my sin and will love me anyway with no call to repent. That's not love.

As Paul wrote in Philippians 3:17-21:
Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. [ESV]

That doesn't sound like someone who is willing to just let someone live in their sin. True love weeps for sin. I hope that with my sabbatical from Facebook I am setting an example with which people can follow and see a man of God working for the Kingdom of heaven. While I won't be sharing posts on Facebook, I will be writing here and spend time thinking through issues about life and theology and faith and politics.

If you want to reach me, email me: bigmikelewis [at] gmail [dot] com.

Phone/Text: (503) 206-9739