cross posted from brianmclaren.net 

I got this email message today … 

Get away from earth with your godless emergent church, McLaren, perhaps to hell? Could you do it a little bit faster?!! It would help the rightious christians around the world, believing in the blood of Jesus Christ and not in Mystic from east and vatican, the door to hell..

What do you do with this kind of talk in the name of Jesus Christ and “righteous Christians?” Only one thing: don’t respond to hate with hate, disdain with disdain, insult with insult, damnation with damnation … but receive every “hit” with love and respond with love and blessing

When I do so, I realize that this person loves God (as he/she understands God), loves truth (as he/she understands truth), and loves his/her community (to which he/she must perceive me as a threat, even though I’m not). Sadly, his/her love for some things and people turns into something other than love for other things and people. But I can at least celebrate that there’s love there, and I can seek to respond with love myself. Jesus said that out of the heart the mouth speaks, so rather than be offended by the words, I want to be compassionate for a heart that is so wounded that it must lash out like this. I don’t know why, but I felt I should share these few thoughts today, in hopes they’ll be of value to others who are the targets of this kind of religious speech, and maybe even for those for whom this speech is a first or second language. You don’t have to live this way.

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