This one just leapt out at me yesterday while watching the pushback and agreement going on at Lori Alexander’s blog post about not following the words of Jesus.
There’s a popular ad running right now on YouTube from Grammerly, the company that can help you sharpen your writing skills. The ad reads “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.” And that, my friends, sums up the entire problem with the Michael and Debi Pearls, Tim Baylys, Doug Wilsons, Larry Solomons and Lori and Ken Alexanders of this world.
It’s not the message of Jesus, it’s not always even the scriptures they use, or some of the stuff they push. It’s tone, it’s the way it’s said, sneer-y and denigrating to someone else. If you have to put down others to share your theology you’re a cult member/leader.
How many times now have we seen Debi Pearl call someone ‘Hillbilly ugly’, or Tim Bayly make spiritual aspersions because a man is wearing skinny jeans and a beard? Lori and her tattoos? Michael Pearl calling sensitive little boys selfish sissies? Loving others does not involve picking a fight with them over absurdist petty things.
A certain Christian blogger I read put it this way when discussing Lori Alexander’s words:
Yet the more of it I read, the more her teaching methods disturbed me. In my opinion, the hermeneutics are poor, the logic is flawed, and the teachings are legalistic. And at times, the writing seems tailored to offend rather than edify, to condemn rather than to proclaim Christ alone.
Deliberate attempts to make others feel guilty and bad about themselves is never good. There’s no hope for the hopeless, or love for those others that need time, attention, and help. People like this aren’t just being rude, or behaving poorly, they are abusing others. They prove time and time again that they are willing to abuse anyone that does not see the Bible the same way as they do.
Here’s what Lori’s husband Ken said to justify how Lori speaks to others:
There are no attacks and mis-characteristic assassinations going on here, Ken. What you see is others trying to warn Lori she’s stepped into a very dangerous space! It’s like this, suppose you came to a place where the bridge was washed out. You could see it was out once you got close, but even before that you see hordes of drenched folks wearing raincoats, waving signs shouting that the bridge is out, trying desperately to get you to turn around. Most people would heed the warnings and turn around. A few hardy souls might ignore the warnings and drive on down to the bridge, turning back once they see the bridge is gone. But there are always going to be a few that tell the people warning them that they are wrong, and will simply drive off the collapsed bridge before admitting that there is no longer a bridge. Lori is driving off that bridge. She’s not alone either.
I challenge you today to be the Anti-Michael, Debi, Lori, Ken and others, say something nice and accepting of others. Don’t be a jerk in the name of Jesus.
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