Posted tagged ‘Elephant Room’

The Inner Ring. Or The Single Eye?

February 6, 2012
Elephant Self-Portrait

My response to the troublesome Pyros parable about the Elephant Room:

Your story was a nice self-portrait of TeamPyro at its inimitable best.  I want to suggest a different story arc for a parable.  A more useful one, that moves away from highlighting the efforts of ‘the outer circle’– well, no need to have an inferiority complex anyway, you are securely in the Inner Ring now–after all You Told Us So!

What bothers me most about your parable is not its focus on your heroics, but that with such a  “shocking and brutal” deed, the criminals  are surprisingly absent the scene. ‘A bad deed was done’. A little too reductionist here.   I assume you are trying to avoid assigning motive, but it is hard to get around that, though isn’t it?  It is in the back alley of that story, a little murky  maybe– a hint of a subtext.

Just survey the crime scene, see the bodies “being carted off”, for goodness sakes!  We do not have a mugger hereabouts,  there  is a serial killer lurking in the darkness! All that blood being spilled, all over the Body: a great dilemma of Gospel heterodoxy in Reformed Circles. And it is a terrible crime. Many will be hurt.  No one can feel safe.  But has this perp malice aforethought?

A less irksome parable would have a different story arc.  Something  with some big elephants whose eyes were not sound, and a magical magnification and discerning device, and a grey mouse with very big ears posing as anEnglish: The eye of an asian elephant at Eleph... elephant, and ridiculously enough he’s proclaimed one.   Then the elephants  with sound eyes trumpet, “eek, a mouse!”  And some of the baby elephants are  scared and a stampede starts…and utter, utter confusion, and the wonderful magnifier that the elephants cherish–among other things it could help them figure out who might be truly an elephant and who is not– is all trampled on.

And such deep grief there in Elephantland, because they love the magnifier and they love the sick-eyed elephants, and oh, WAS that ever a bad, bad idea to have a meeting with a mouse in a little bitty room, with microphones and cameras  and all those ginourmous ears confusing things–yes,we all should have known and what can we do to clean up this horrible mess?  Oh someone recover that device before it is even more destroyed!

Ah, the muse beckons, I think I shall go polish this up a bit.  It has potential as a children’s story– if I can nab an illustrator in the style of Sendak!  I wonder who would enter my Inner Circle.  How I love this smoky garret of a blog, but how I hate the sense of delicious knowledge I get when I go to scribble in it.  It is unavoidable, this Inner Ring thingy, as Mr. Lewis says, but oh, so regrettable.  God have mercy on us all.

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Messing with Pyromaniacs, Again. Because of an Elephant in the Room!

September 29, 2011
Day 1 // Elephant Room

Image by Eelke de Blouw via Flickr

The Elephant here is a serious slander of James MacDonald in the Pyromaniac’s room.  *sigh*  But some demonic spirit has fiddled with my computer, and I keep getting an annoying error report, and so I am forced to post my  response here.

The post by Phil Johnson is here, and I have no quarrel with it.  But I took exception to these  slanderous comments on the meta about James MacDonald,

“It is a rare megachurch pastor who is concerned about what kind of fruit is produced in their ministry. There are of course a few very noteworthy exceptions to this. But the Nobles and MacDonalds of this world are clearly unconcerned.”

(or, scroll down to the  very end of the comment thread to read it).   Because the reputation of another godly man is at stake, and no-one else seems concerned about this slander of a man with a history of integrity in the church he serves, I was compelled to stop  lurking.  Here is another letter, this time  to  JuniorTeamPyro:

Dear Tom,

Interestingly, you have  read between my lines and made some false assumptions  here: “You may well think that his ministry is going in a good direction” — now, where did you get this idea?  I said, “I am concerned for the direction of his ministry.”  Might this be a pattern for you, a certain hastiness to form conclusions? And did you  do the same disservice to James MacDonald?

Because the truth is, I feel uneasy about MacDonald’s  direction.  When I read the blogpage  quoted above, and  read of his squishyness concerning the Trinity, and sensed, as you do,  the possibility of its being demoted to a secondary issue,  I was very concerned.  Like James White, I Love the Trinity!

And like Mr. White, I do not consider it a matter of “doctrinal hairsplitting.”  I   spent several months on a blogthread debating a Oneness Pentecostal so I am thoroughly acquainted with the  heresy of Modalism —  so, no I do not think  this vagueness concerning the personhood of God is a good direction for Mr. MacDonald’s ministry!

But am I  like you, one of those ‘pugnacious purveyors of pertinacity’?   Those are Alaistair Begg’s choice words, part of his warning to pastors  that I urge you to give a listen to, Tom:   I will  remind you of his own pertinent words.  Begg  thinks pastors should  not  be “distracted by ceaseless arguments” because then they have “ceased to be a power in edifying and evangelism…. when they think they have to correct all the ills…they have lost sight of delivering to the people  what they most need: clear sound helpful instruction of the Scriptures.”

You seem ready  to go to the shed and reach for the pike, Tom.  But even that firebrand Todd Friel urged some caution in judging James MacDonald’s stance last Monday on Wretched Radio!  I too, am going to wait and see.   I plan to pray for those in  ‘The Elephant Room’ to parse out  exactly what this phrase  “existed eternally in three manifestations” means to the glory of the Triune God. And pray especially that –oh me of little faith! — Jakes would repent of his idolaltry.  And that if he does not,  that James MacDonald would forsake building bridges toward heresy, and  would affirm this  truth that has been tried in martyrs’ blood.  And all of  that repentance would be a good, and God-honoring outcome of the Elephant Room…that of iron sharpening iron.  It is indeed good and pleasant  for brothers to dwell together in unity, but it is awful when it is at the expense of the truth.

I can’t resist this.  I’m sorry, I just can’t!  “Go to war with the Church?” Really?  Didn’t we all  have such a delightful  discussion concerning this particular hypocrisy in February?   So you are still blind to all the scorched earth surrounding the  endless Open Letters generated from that site? The wounds from chainsaws regularly taken to those with doctrines or preaching practices differing from “Biblical Christianity”, aka “Pyros Brand”?  And then you wrap it all up by calling James MacDonald’s statements “arrogant and spiteful”  Oh Tom, Tom, there really are no words.  I pray to God you will be given a vision of your  very blind spots.

Your  statements would be  hysterically funny if they weren’t so incredibly sad.

Now I am going to go write James MacDonald a letter I’ve been meaning to write for ages.  I am going to tell him of a patched-up prodigal I know whose heart was softened by his ruthless and tender Gospel preaching.   And that he   is still one of the few preachers this one, now returned to the Father’s house, will eagerly listen to — tunes it in faithfully, every day! And this one is growing in faith, humbly asking forgiveness, admitting faults, responding to the appeals  Mr. MacDonad regularly makes to his listeners to repent of  their sins. It is a lovely and ongoing work of the Spirit that gives great joy to my my heart.  I suspect Mr. Mac Donald would rejoice with me too.  Because this is real  fruit growing out of his ministry he needs to hear about.  Especially now.


Believing the best (about you too!),
Karen Butler