Dear Eric:

Just a quick response to your kind note you posted over the the Boar’s Head Tavern. I respond mainly because it continues to amaze me not only how folks in that Tavern behave, but also why they seem so dead set against reading words in their native context, and taking every possible response offered in the worst possible light. You opined,

This guy’s about half a step away from “Bible-thumpin’ fundamentalism,” right down to his view about the RCC (according to some Plymouth Brethren I know, Jews are saved, and RC’s are damned). If I ever respected James White for any reason, I’ve lost every bit of it. I was so angry last night I could hardly talk to my girlfriend without flipping out over his portentious, conceited, tactles, loveless response to Michael’s essay.

You know, Eric, I’m sorta wondering—what makes a response “loving” in your thinking? I mean, did you find Michael’s discussion of why he is not like me “loving”? It seemed to rather strongly suggest that he is not like me because he’s more spiritual and stuff–and as I pointed out, there were a lot of inherent contradictions in his statements, which he seems to revel in. Is that what you consider “loving”? And when I responded to his statements from a different viewpoint, what is it about doing so that is so hateful? I’m just wondering. If you can respond without all the emotional explosions most folks in that particular locale seem to engage in (might it have something to do with all the alcohol running about in there, perhaps?), I’d appreciate it. Since I didn’t write what I wrote with malice or hatred, finding out where you all are digging it up would be useful.

He can hold onto his blessed Bible. I’ll hold onto Christ. And I know Michael is as well. It is obvious in everything he writes that Jesus is the bottom line.

Now that is one of those “huh” statements that I pointed out in Michael’s essay. I can’t hold onto the one without the other. Your words make no sense. How can you hold onto Christ without holding onto the Word? Why do folks find this kind of “yes, no, maybe, sorta, yes and no at the same time, ah, mystery!” rhetoric useful when we live in a world filled with falsehoods and those who detest truth? I don’t get it.

And if any of his followers are reading this, make sure that anything you do is from a pure motive.

Umm, just wondering: how come that thought has never crossed anyone’s mind inside that tavern regarding me? BTW, I do not seek, nor encourage, “followers.”

If you write to the monk, please make sure that you read Michael’s writings for what they are and not through the filter of some guy who really just missed the boat. Michael speaks of simple faith and confesses the same Christ in which I believe. We disagree on certain points, and some of those points are kind of important. They are imprtant enough that when I become an LCMS pastor, I would not commune Michael as he is (though regretfully and tearfully). I love this guy! He and the BHT have helped me through my dismissal at seminary more than they’ll ever know, and to see him mocked and attacked by some self-righteous prig who pretty much admits that he has no existential or experiential faith of his own, just words on a page.

How very kind and…broad minded of you. Tell me, where did I write anything even remotely like what you and your friends have written toward me in the past 36 hours or so? Do you not see the tremendous contrast between the character and spirit of what I wrote, and how you, and even Michael, have responded? Why does my disagreement = mockery and your mockery—isn’t mockery? And can you possibly defend such a simple lie as “who pretty much admits that he has no existential or experiential faith of his own”? Is it only because you know you will never have to face me and explain yourself that you speak like this? Don’t you realize that the Scriptures say we will be held accountable for such things?

“Exegesis,” he says. Pretty word, and very important… but it is the means, not the end. “If I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love…” Well, what does Paul say about that? (Incidentally, Paul is not here claiming to understand all mysteries. It’s a subjunctive verb, indicating more that what is being said is not true.)

Actually, it is subjunctive because of eva.n creating a conditional construction, but that’s not the point either: how is that even a slightly relevant comment (let alone not an implied insult)? How is that “loving” even by your own standards?

I gripe here because it’s home. I put up a security system at my house and keep a gun in the drawer beside my bed to protect my own territory. I won’t go to his website and try to make him look like a jerk. I don’t care what he does on his own website. I do care, however, that one of my friends is being bullied. And while Michael may blow it off, I won’t.

Excuse me, but, could you show me just how I have “bullied” IM? I must have missed that. Was it when I mentioned my own walk with the Lord? When was it?

If you can’t disagree without being disagreeable, and if you can’t stand the fact that someone somewhere might just disagree with you on the finer points of theology, get lost. It’s not an “our crowd vs. your crowd” kind of thing, and it’s certianly not deserving of all the comments that have flooded in.

Umm, and this is supposed to apply to me, just how? I disagreed without sounding like any of the profanity laced, insult filled notes that have been proudly displayed here over the past 36 hours.

If you can disagree without being a portentious know-it-all, then I speak for the rest of the tavern when I say you and your discussion are welcome here. Pull up a barstool. Quaff a brew. Share a dirty joke (PG-13). Be one of the gang.

Yes, well, that sorta speaks for itself. 🙂

Okay, time to go work on the yard and then read Stephen King. I’m really digging his Dark Tower series!

I don’t know, just seemed fitting to end it there.

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