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This post began as a much anticipated and highly procrastinated Katdishionary post. The term “assholiness” was one of several new terms I feel warrant entry into the annals of my own version of Webster’s, but I think this term deserves its own post, because I like to keep the definitions brief in Ye Olde Katdishionary. This one needs a little more of an explanation.
The term assholiness first popped into my head several months back when a few high profile Christians began to publicly berate Rob Bell’s yet to be released book Love Wins. Many were incensed that Bell had the audacity to suggest that a loving God would not send people to Hell. And while I happen to (mostly) agree with Bell’s detractors in principle, I felt some of the public discourse was downright un-Jesus-y.
For the record, I don’t think God sends anyone to Hell. That’s a choice we make for ourselves. I will also admit that I had some private conversations about the subject that were way more salty than lighty. But I resisted the urge to jump into the fray. Why? Because it’s never been my experience that you convince someone you’re right by pointing out to them publicly how wrong they are.
Honestly, how many times have you seen a situation like that turn into anything more than a pissing match?
I did write a post about it, but the point of my post wasn’t about whose team I’d be on if Rob Bell and John Piper were choosing up sides for a game of Red Rover, my point was that Rob Bell is not Jesus Christ. Neither is John Piper or Francis Chan or Billy Graham or (insert famous Christian leader here). Nor am I for that matter.
When Christians draw their theological lines in the sand, choose sides and start attacking each other, we’re not winning anyone for Christ, we’re just becoming more alienated from one another. And like it or not, if you’re a Christian, you’re part of the same Body of Christ as that fundamentalist pompous ass or that crystal-gripping tree hugging hippie that is woefully misguided and is driving you nuts. Speaking the truth in love doesn’t mean metaphorically neck punching someone with the truth and telling them you love them afterwards.
But assholiness is not a term reserved for Jesus people*. Some examples of assholiness I’ve seen come from atheists. Not all atheists, mind you, just the really angry, Christian despising kind who spend time online searching for a Christian platform where they can pick a fight. Don’t believe me? If your writing is primarily faith based in content, use the tags “atheist”, “Creationism” and “Darwin” on your next few posts and see who shows up on your blog. You may want to turn on comments moderation before you do that, the f-bomb seems to get dropped a lot.
Regardless of your faith or lack thereof, anytime our need to be right takes precedence over all else, it’s counterproductive. You may have a huge following who agree with everything you believe is wrong with that other guy, but like my friend and pastor Jeff says, when all you have in common is a common enemy, once that enemy is gone you will either lose the group or seek another enemy to fill the void.
I’m not interested in building that kind of following.
How about you?
*Jesus people is a term borrowed from my friend Jake Lee without his permission, but hopefully he won’t mind so much.