By John Pierce
Our editorial staff is an ignorant bunch. Fortunately, someone with far superior knowledge picked up a copy of our monthly publication recently — and not only read it, but warned us of the embedded dangers associated with our wayward thinking.
One obvious offense was our foolish advancing of sorcery and other sorts of things associated with “lifestyles that Christians don’t support.”
We were advised against using words like “cultic” and “liturgies” as was done in one of the Nurturing Faith Bible Studies on Joshua.
How our Bible studies writer Tony Cartledge missed all of that during his seminary days and Ph.D. studies at Duke is baffling. He must have been reading the Harry Potter series instead of doing proper research and going to chapel.
(And never mind that cultic practices abound in the Old Testament and that liturgy is simply any group’s way of doing worship.)
A second message of warning followed: Our critic had read Tony’s lesson for the following week — and things were even worse.
Tony, in fact, quoted directly from J.K. Rowling’s lead character.
Rhetorical (I think) questions followed — filled with words like “credulous” — and then a strongly stated fear that some readers might conclude that it’s OK to read Harry Potter books or even see the movies. God forbid.
We were asked directly why we’d “go so far as to put evil in PRINT?”
“I don’t believe J.K. Rowling’s books are on the Lord’s best seller list,” we were told — following the quotation of a biblical proverb about God detesting the thoughts of the wicked.
We do appreciate feedback — and often benefit from it. There are never claims from us that we always — or even often — get it all right.
But it’s hard to know how to respond appropriately to one who is writing “for the sake of the true gospel” that we clearly miss.
Our online editor and special series writer Bruce Gourley doesn’t help either. He’s into the third year of recounting (monthly in print and daily online) the role of Baptists in the Civil War.
If he doesn’t change the storyline soon, it appears the Confederacy may lose.
The Ph.D. program in history at Auburn, where Bruce did his work, must not teach its students how to always root for the home team.
A reader (make that, a former subscriber) in Charleston, S.C., has assured me more than once that Bruce is wrong to claim that slavery was a central issue in the War Between the States.
Nice Southern people just wanted to preserve their rights to grits and sweet tea, I guess.
Never mind that Bruce’s columns — titled “In their own words” — are mostly lengthy, direct quotations from Baptist editorials, sermons and denominational resolutions from a century and a half ago.
In others words, they are not Bruce’s opinions but primary source opinions expressed by leading Baptists at that time.
Apparently, however, some modern Southerners wish such historical records would remain buried in dusty old books. They can screw up revisionist narratives about the War.
Then there is eagle-eyed managing editor Jackie Riley who is supposed to help me catch all of these flagrant errors. Yet these things passed her by.
And, of course, as executive editor I must take a little blame myself. As Jesus said: “The buck stops here.”
(Wait. Maybe Harry popularized that line. Truman, not Potter.)
I often ponder the best responses to such freely offered enlightenment — given with much passion and, hopefully, some genuine concern.
The temptation is to rationally explain away the accusations. But, in most every case, there is no amount of logic that could possibly change a convinced mind.
A ranting response would be foolish and unproductive. There are enough of those kinds of endless debates on social media and in comment streams that I’ve learned to ignore.
Perhaps there are better options.
Maybe it’s best to just say something like: “Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Have a nice Halloween.”
Or maybe just not respond at all.
Or, perhaps, write a Friday morning blog about it.
Or maybe not.
Too late. I just hit “Publish.”