Tuesday, April 13, 2010

My New Book: Hardball Religion II -- A Sequel

Today I received an anonymous email from someone calling himself "Nomen Nescio." The play on words in the pseuodonym is cute (see the background for Nescio, a Latin word that means "I don't know"). When I read the content of the email I started out laughing. I'm used to personal attacks. I have been called an alcoholic, an addict, a liberal, a Christ-denier, and all other kinds of names by those who consider me an enemy. It comes with the territory. I neither resent the attacks nor feel any desire to defend myself.

But at the very end of the email, when two of my children were mentioned, I stopped laughing. Again, I am used to such ungodly tactics, but I'm not sure my children are. For this reason, after the email, which is reproduced below in its entirety, I would like to take the personal privilege of writing a few words directly to Charis and Boe--both of whom read their dad's blog. Others might enjoy what I have to say to them. For example, the Muslim who has composed videos that reveal the discrepancies in Dr. Ergun Caner's background has asked me why Christians are vehemently attacking him personally. Maybe he can receive some encouragement and comfort from my heartfelt words to my family. The anonymous email, with no salutation or closing, begins below:


This decision requires immediate attention. Your continued attacks on people in the SBC have reached a point where a certain group have decided to say to you enough is enough.We leaders in the SBC will not allow you to continue. We desire your recovery from your issues. But cease you must from continued attacks.

Here is the decision you have, if you can call it one:

1. Close your blog and stop all attacks including your father and church member. You are done! or

2. This group will release to the press and your church information we have obtained involving your careless sin and attempts to cover up such activity while attacking others.

Need proof?

Casinos! Other addictions! Why your daughter is not at Baylor! Your sons Marine issue! Enough? It is your call. At least we have the Grace and Truth to give you a "chance" for restoration.

Dear Charis and Boe,

"I hope by now, at your ages of 23 and 20 respectively, that you understand what real Christianity is all about. Mom and Dad have tried to show you that Christianity is a living, vital and joyful relationship with our Risen Savior, Jesus Christ. It's about being real, unconditionally loving those around us, and wrestling through various problems that arise as we seek to live well in a fallen world. Christ is our Hope, the God of all grace, and the reason our lives are so truly enjoyable.

Unfortunately, the two of you have been pulled into the hardball politics of the Southern Baptist Convention. I am not quite sure the rationale for bringing you into personal attacks against me, but your grandfather believes, and I must agree, that it is simply an attempt to hurt me. Of course, it won't work. Mom and Dad are incredibly proud of the two of you, and we know precisely why the Lord altered your future plans. We know that what is implied in the email is not true, but that is not real issue at hand.

The reason I am writing to you is not to defend, but to try to help you with one of the hardest things we Christians are ever called to do. I am asking you to forgive those who attack us personally because they don't like what your dad represents. Honestly, I've reached the place where personal attacks don't affect me, but the attacks on you is a new minefield through which I must carefully navigate as well.

Dysfunctional people, those who are not right with Christ, try to bully, intimidate and threaten others in order to get their way. I hope you have learned by now that when your dad experiences such hardball tactics it only steels his resolve to do the right thing. However, I never want my heart to become hard, cold or bitter because of such personal attacks. So far, God has been good to answer my prayer. Now that you have joined me in the arena of hardball religion, I am asking you to seek the same kind of grace required to be able to see through the personal attacks and know that true Christianity is much, much different than what is often represented in the Southern Baptist Convention.

Love you both,