Thinking with You



The Post that Launched 1,000 Trolls

With Folau. OR. Against Folau.

If you are, religious, non-religious, christian ‘progressive’, or christian ‘conservative’ - one thing is true:

There is not a friend you haven’t asked or silently considered which are they: ‘With’ or. ‘Against’.

Then there’s THAT friend who never leaves you guessing.

If you’re not religious or not Christian you’ve got a free pass for the rest of this blog. Stick around, but these questions aren’t addressed at you.

If you are a Christian - whichever side of the fence you’ve been hurling your ‘woke’ bombs from - here’s one pivotal question worth asking yourself:

When was the last time you gave the uninitiated non-Christian the opportunity to hear the Word?

In other words when was the last time you’ve posted a status, video; or mentioned words from the Bible in a conversation with another person who wasn’t a Christian?

Whether you are a Christian who is ‘FOR’ or ‘AGAINST’ - your position becomes mute; or at best, your opinion is like an empty sound akin to a clanging cymbal with no orchestral backup if you, yourself, as a follow of Jesus never tell anyone anything from the Bible anyway … and even more so if the two following factors don’t describe your worldview or how you live out your life:

  1. You believe the Word has power in and of itself (regardless of motive) when shared with another human being (Romans 10:17); and,

  2. You engage in the habit of using the Word, when a fruitful chance presents itself, with those who don’t know the Word (Jesus); His’ words (the RED letters) and the words written in response to the inspiration of the revelation of God (Rest of the Bible). (John 1:1-12, 14)

    Regardless of whether you’re ‘AGAINST’ or ‘FOR’ Folau - our community would do well to take heed of an old adage:

The best criticism of the bad is the practice of the better.

i.e. if we are critical of people on either side of this debate and we never share God’s word to the lives of those around us - then our opinions are just as useful as a clanging cymbal without an orchestra - if you’re are not modelling the better of how to share the Word of God … or you never do it then we would do well to stop ‘clanging’ the cymbal on this one. Why: becayse there are people in your life who need, are hungry and/or are ripe for the Word of God in their life.

Your practice of the ‘better’ - not your next FB ‘zinger’ - is the best hope for those in your life who are hungry and ripe for the Word of the Gospel. If you find yourself wonting on either of those questions have you considered you may be emitting the sound of a empty clanging cymbal? (Your sound either turns people off or leaves them so unimpacted by the uniqueness of the Word(s) itself (themselves). Both = wasted sound = 0 impact). If your answer is in the negative to both of those ??????? WHATTTTTTTT ????????????????

One Practice I’ve started: praying, ‘God make my ears open to the ripeness around me’; and then dropping a Word unique for that person’s life or the topics we are talking about.

For Christians who may not take the above question seriously enough and think, ‘mate, you’ve totally side step the main issues at stake here’; here are two further questions:

  1. Are there freedoms you are willing to live without?

  2. Is there a belief that is your, ‘line in the sand’, i.e. a belief that you won’t compromise on & will never recant from being able to speak in a public space?

If you are ‘AGAINST’ Folau and your answer is: Yes, and no; well then I appreciate that you are consistent in your stance against Folau. (If your answers deviate from that then you may want review your consistency around support ‘for’ or ‘against’ folau).

If you are ‘FOR’ Folau and your answer is: No and Yes; then well I appreciate you consistency as well.

One critical question (among many), for those who focus on engaging the political issues of this situation is this:

How would you reconcile Jesus words in the chapters 15 & 16 of the book of John, ‘if the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first me … if they persecuted me, they will persecute you … a servant is not greater than his master’ with your position on this political issue?

My point is this:

In the west we think freedoms, of any sort, are the normal human experience around the world. They are not.

In a significant portion of the world those who take Jesus seriously and follow His’ Words are marginalised at best or imprisoned and killed at worst. That is a normal christian experience for a significant portion of the three quarters of Worlds’ Christians that live outside the developed West. However, this is the expectation Jesus set for anyone who wishes to take up the cross (metaphoric & literal) and follow Him.

Is your faith lived out in a way that makes it easy for the ‘world’ to ‘love’ you; or, do you find a certain ring of truth in how you follow Jesus when he says the world will, ‘hate you’?

Last year I had a chance to meet with Christians in the Middle East who are the 1st peoples of the nation they live in - whose first church building is traced back almost 2 Millennia. One of their Church Leaders earlier this year was quoted in the British press as saying that Christians in their country are almost facing a state of genocide. They don’t wear it as a victim-hood badge; nor does it come as a shock - they believe Jesus’ words when he said we would be hated in this world.

My friends and I asked them - what would you say to the Australian Church … their exhortation to speak while we have freedom froze me to my core (As if the 1st century was reaching hauntingly into our present to say):

“Use the freedom [you have]. Others wish to have [this] to practice their faith… use the time while it’s not [to] late”.

‘For’ or ‘Against’ Folau … what are you doing with your freedom?

You have access to the knowledge of THE WORD, a record of His Words and the words of the Book inspired by His revelation. Don’t underestimate the power of them when you decide to speak them out and what the Spirit of God does in the hearts of men/women, unbeknown to you, once they’ve been exposed to them. For some people you are the best chance of them encountering the Words that create peace in the Human heart that goes beyond any human experience or phenomenon. Jesus and His words create such freedom and peace in the human heart that Christians whom when at gun-point, threat of violence or incarceration in the most dangerous places around the world - refuse to give him up in return for their lives and safety.

Rather than thinking what the team on the other side, to you, of the Folau debate needs to do better; what if you could look back a the end of the year and see what you did better than the year before - in your speaking & exposing of the Word of God to those who are without and hungry for it in your life. What if you chose a different script from the one centred around, “them”, needing to change; and moved to the realisation that “you” not “them” are best placed to influence the lives in your life who are ripe for the harvest. What if you really did believe that the Word of God has the power to transform and bring change in a life; and you, heaven forbid, decided to post your testimony, or a scripture or a link that effectively exposes people to your Jesus? Your influence, even just one life, could be profound for that person (Or be one of the necessary links in the chain that steps them towards Christ) … but only if you practice the better.

Your best criticism of the bad is your practice of your better.

If you’re not already - it’s time for you and I to start speaking and sharing the word of God.

Nathan Harding