So here are the people's choice for the top five posts.
Number 5 Forgive? I don't wanna.
I was amazed at the response to this one. There is a fundamental lack of understanding among many about what forgiveness looks like from a biblical point of view. For example...
"I cannot agree with the concept that Christian leaders are exempt from accountability or are in some way authorized to break laws, to damage lives and then say the victim must forgive, as a Christian, you must forgive. The idea of Christians being victimized and told to forgive makes me sick."
I never said that Christian leaders are exempt from accountability. In fact the top two posts will revolve around that very issue. Here is an excerpt from the forgiveness article.
Forgiveness is not condoning or diminishing the offense. Forgiving a person who has wronged you does not mean they are "off the hook" for any consequences or judgement that may result from their actions. Forgiveness is a personal act of your will that releases the other person from your condemnation. At that point you have been obedient to what Jesus asks of you…the other person is responsible to God for their response. By extending forgiveness you are not saying the offense was insignificant or unimportant. You are saying that you trust God to see that justice is dispensed according to His Holy judgement and timing.
I understand that sometimes legal action is necessary. But forgiveness is still the only way to be released from the anger and bitterness of the past.
Number 4 Enroll Now in the Canine School of Evangelism
I was surprised that this article is the fourth most read. The premise of the post was my imagining what we could learn from dogs and how that could apply to evangelism. I created a curriculum with several canine traits. Example...
Integrity in Contemporary Culture – Do you really think a dog would betray you? Syllabus quote: The reason a dog has so many friends is that he wags his tail instead of his tongue (Author Unknown) Course Verse: gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret. Prov 11:13, NIV
Thank you dog lovers for making this post a top five people's choice.
Number 3 Won the Battle. Losing the War?
I figured this one would stir it up a bit. Called that one. This article was about the box office damage suffered by the movie End of the Spear because of an evangelical backlash. Excerpt...
Yeah, I know. I need to get out the paper sack and breathe into it for a few seconds. But I am angry at many of my Evangelical family. I am an Evangelical but I am not a particularly proud one over this debate. You see, I live in the secular world and I know how all too well how Evangelicals are perceived. And we just added plenty of fuel to that perception fire with this ridiculous overreaction to who played Nate Saint.
A lot of you disagreed with me. Many were civil. But my question remains intact. Are we fighting the right battles?
The top two most read articles clobbered the previous three entries. This post was read by about three times more folks than the previous blogs. This article created a lively debate. Excerpt...
What should we do with the movie?
Go see it.
It is a very good movie with a powerful message. Don’t worry about sin in the lives of the cast or crew. If that becomes a criteria you will never see another movie in your life. Actually, you won’t even be able to go to church! Remember the incredible and heartwarming story of Eric Liddell that was told in the movie Chariots of Fire? The role of Liddell was played by Ian Charleston, a gay actor. Does that mean the impact of Chariots of Fire has been diminished? Of course not. And I believe the supernatural message of redemption and forgiveness in End of the Spear is not affected because Christians might not like the choice of Chad Allen.
That position offended some readers. But I would point them to top post number 5. They have a contractual obligation to forgive me.
And the now...if the Bad Christian orchestra could give me a drum-roll....
Number 1 Victoria's Nearly Secret Apology
I truly wish this article was not number one. But I didn't have anyone to stuff the ballot box so it is. The article addressed the travel mishaps of Joel and Victoria Osteen over the Christmas holidays. It dealt with accountability for Christian leaders and how we should respond. The article created a huge response both pro and con. An excerpt...
I don’t know what happened. I don’t know how justified Mrs. Osteen was to be unhappy with the service from the flight attendants. I don’t know what kind of attitude the flight attendant displayed toward the Osteens. I do know that this unfortunate act will be the fodder of jokes and ridicule and demeaning of Christianity, and by extension, of Christ. When we take the awesome responsibility of calling ourselves Christians we raise the bar on our personal behavior. Whether we like it or not does not change the truth of that fact. For those who witnessed the incident and for those who were inconvenienced by having to wait an hour (or two) for the Osteen’s luggage to be removed the message of the gospel may have been damaged. Is that unfair to Mrs. Osteen? Perhaps. But when you are a visible and vocal representative of Jesus, whether it’s at a megachurch or a mini-mart, you are representing Jesus everyday and every moment. I can guarantee you that if I display unseemly behavior the first thing that will pop into the minds of those who know who I am will be “I wonder if that is in his wonderful little Christian books?”. One of my biggest fears in writing books was that I knew I had put myself on the line for the rest of my life.
But the reality is that simply announcing “I am a Christian” does exactly the same thing. Your failures likely won’t make the news but they may do just as much damage. I pray that the Osteens will handle this in a way that demonstrates the humility and grace of Jesus. We all make mistakes. It is how we respond to them that can make a difference. Repenting and repairing by asking forgiveness is a very good way to practice damage control.
What is amazing to me is that my proposal for a quick apology and seeking of forgiveness by those inconvenienced caused many to come after me just for saying it. Here is one I received this week with my comments in italics.
"I think it is easy to judge someone else and say bad things about them.
Could you show us how that works?
The fact is those who say bad things about Victoria are probably jealous and now that this has happened to her they have reason to dump. They will not admit it, but those who are dumping wish they were rich and were doing better in their life.
The fact is, it was a small thing.
The fact is, you are wrong.
This kind of thing does happen in everyday real life. Jealosy is large in peoples lifes. Sometimes flight attendance can be ruid. Most likely she was right and someone was giving her a hard time. Flying is not the same as 20 years ago. First Class service is worse than coach 20 years ago. Salaries have been cut and loyalty to passnegers is not the same. This could happen to anyone that flys alot.
I have flown about six million commercial miles. When do I get to frequent flyer status? By the way, I have never seen this happen.
Get a life and think how to better your own self."
I have a life and I think and pray about how to be a better follower of Jesus everyday.
So there you have it. The people's choices. I have been blessed by so many of your responses. Less blessed by others. But it has been fun. God willing we can check the odometer and do this again down the road.