I believe the purpose of the RIS is to provide spiritual refreshment and
encouragement. Of course, being me, I don't personally believe such a thing is
terribly possible over the Internet, but it's a nice delusion for those who
choose to partake.
Banging into their party to prove that you can, to test them, and to
harangue them with subjects that are neither refreshing nor encouraging is plain bad
sport. When someone invites you to a tea party, you do not show up with a
barrel of whisky and insist that everyone partake because after all, they
invited you and now they must put up with you or else be damned. You simply
decline the invitation. Likewise, you do not go around waving your invitation
at everyone else and proclaiming that you will or will not go.
And before someone weighs in the requisite response that not everything that
is good for you is pleasant, that the truth hurts but must be shoved at
everyone anyway, that good medicine almost always tastes bad...I would suggest
that we need to remember where Jesus put the emphasis. Occasionally we may
have to address issues on creationism versus science, et cetera, yes. However,
these issues should not dominate our lives. They are mint and cumin, nothing
more, and they deserve no greater weight. Our hearts should be focused on
justice and mercy, as God discusses them, and that focus should be evident to
all who know us.
That the world identifies us by the giant bag of cumin we have lashed to our
backs is not an honor. It is sad when someone hears a name and
automatically assumes that the only subject on which that person would contribute is the
lies and ignorance of others.
Just like when people hear the name "Church of Christ" and think baptism, or
churches who consider their primary identifying mark their
"non-institutionalism." Jesus said that the world will know us by one thing: our love for one
another. Without that badge, there will be no entry into heaven for any of
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