Archive for October, 2008

Beautiful Words

Friday, October 31st, 2008

We Can Not Merely Pray

We cannot merely pray to you O God to end war;
For the World is made in such a way
That we must find our own path of peace
Within ourselves and with our neighbors.

We cannot merely pray to you O God to root out Prejudice:
for we already have eyes
With which to see the good in all people
If we would only use them rightly.

We cannot merely pray to you O God to end starvation:
For we already have the resources
With which to feed the entire World
If we would only use them wisely.

We cannot merely pray to you O God to end despair:
For we already have the power To clear away slums and to give hope
If we would only use our power justly.

We cannot merely pray to you O God to end disease:
For we already have great minds
With which to search out cures and healings
If we would only use them constructively.

Therefore we pray instead
For strength, determination, and will power,
To do instead of merely to pray
To become instead of merely to wish:
So that our World may be safe,
And so that our lives may be blessed.

~Rabbi Jack Riemer

A Primer That Shouldn’t Be Necessary

Saturday, October 25th, 2008

It seems like it’s time to establish some terms, mark some boundaries, set some parameters:

When I say that Sarah Palin doesn’t appear to be especially intelligent, that’s an opinion. It’s an opinion when you say it, too, or when you say she’s brilliant.

That it’s not “nice” of me to say it is not only your opinion, but likely one I’d agree with.

If I, believing Sarah Palin to not be terribly bright, say she’s that way because she was kicked in the head by a caribou, or was dropped off a cliff as a baby, or took LSD one too many times, those things are lies, vicious slander, innuendo, mean-spirited, and entirely unbecoming a Christian. I would hope someone would denounce me — loudly, quickly, and publicly — if I ever said that.

If you, believing Sarah Palin to be of especially high intellectual caliber, tell me she’s a Yale grad and Rhodes scholar, and you really believe it, it’s no less true. It’s a “lie” if you continue believing it in the face of evidence to the contrary, or if you know it’s not true and say it anyway.

If I say that someone who thinks hip-hop mogul P. Diddy speaks for African-Americans is an idiot, that’s an opinion. It’s also not a very nice one, not me at my best, and there are better ways to express that opinion. “Naive,” “uninformed,” “bigoted,” “comfortable with prejudices” — those all work just as well. The conclusion is idiotic, but calling someone an “idiot” isn’t how I like to talk.

If I am a Christian, I will get angry. I will speak strongly, and I will likely offend people. If I do those things and sin, if I lie, or judge someone’s heart, or say something ugly when the truth can be expressed otherwise, I should be called on it.

If, though, I get angry as a Christian and point out — strongly, graphically, angrily — when someone does something evil, the reader’s offense isn’t in itself a verdict on my sinfulness in doing so.

As a Christian, I speak strongly against other Christians. I very rarely, if ever, speak strongly against individual non-Christians. People outside the Church don’t damage the Gospel. People inside do. If Joe the Belching, Lecherous Racist, as an unbeliever, says something racist, I’ll jump on what he said, not on Joe. But if Joe the Christian belches out some racist garbage, I’ll jump on him, because “as a Christian” can never modify racism with being challenged.

If I truly believe someone is dangerous to me or to my country, I have the right to try to persuade people to vote against him or her, using truth and employing every ounce of God-given wisdom, discernment, and passion I have.

If I truly believe someone is dangerous, though, I don’t get to engage in lying, “covenant” or otherwise, to defeat him. I also am not relieved of the responsibility of voicing opinions that, while subjective, must also never be unloving. Notice that Jesus said “whitewashed tombs,” which, while harsh, makes a cogent point. “Ignorant a–hole,” while harsh, makes only the point that the one saying it is, unfortunately, all too familiar with the qualities of an a–hole. That’s not our Lord’s way. It cannot be mine.

If I say I love Doug Wilson, would do anything in my power to help him or anyone in his church, or anyone else in need, that’s true. I do love him; I just don’t like him. The latter doesn’t negate the former, nor does it make it impossible for me to see any good in the man. Further, “good in the man” isn’t a criteria for me or any other Christian to minister to another person, and so I can rail on him for promoting hate and division while knowing in my heart that I’d offer him money, a kidney, a bowl of soup, or a battery jump if I knew he needed it.

Whether you believe me or not, or care one bit, doesn’t change the truth above.

Whether he would do the same for me or not — and I bet he probably would — doesn’t change the truth above.

Finally, if I confess to having been driven to tears by some offense committed by Christians, or if I say that something “breaks my heart,” or if I despair that mine is a lonely Trinitarian voice against the madness, you are free to make fun of me, remark on my “hormonally-infused rants,” or chalk it up to whatever you wish. It comes with the territory I’ve chosen to walk on. If you curse me, I forgive you; if you think I’m an idiot, you get to; if you hate me, I’ll love you; and if you call me a liar, it doesn’t change the fact that I’m not.

So go ahead. See, it’s not about you. It’s not even about me, really, as anyone other than someone who sees victory only in what Jesus has done, and can suffer any number of “defeats” knowing that I know the One who wins in the end.

In His Name, By Our Efforts, On Our Watch

Saturday, October 25th, 2008

This election season has shown us a breathtaking number of things, almost none of which I hadn’t seen before or which surprised me. I’ve spent my life following politics, and nothing is so much new as it is newly disseminated over wider and wider venues in more and more high-tech ways.

But there is one thing that leaves me astounded and utterly broken-hearted, even as it angers me, even as it brings me to tears. What I’ve seen in this campaign, especially in the last three months, is a rush to judgment and condemnation of Barack Obama that is a stain on the conservative, evangelical wing of the Christian Church to which, by grace, I belong. These aren’t the usual reactionaries and crisis-mongers who find Satan behind every bush and something pornographic in every reference to “bush,” the ones who pontificate that 9/11 happened because of gays, feminists, and liberals and who call down tornadoes and hurricanes on “ungodly” populations in our own country. We expect that they’ll be awful, even when we can never accept that they are. Most of them, however, stick to abortion, gay rights, pornography and “the family,” however they define it, and the very real damage they do is nonetheless contained.

Something different, something even uglier, has come upon us now. Millions of otherwise decent, intelligent Christians have jumped on a bandwagon that’s careened off the tracks of Truth and Fairness, a “Jesus is LORD” banner gaudily waving at its side, and they — these people who love Jesus Christ — are causing enormous damage. They may well cost Obama the election; I pray they don’t cost him his life. They undoubtedly, though, have squandered and sullied the witness of the Gospel in this campaign, and the damage won’t end this election season. Things done in the name of Christ have a peculiar way, good or bad, of lasting long after we leave.

The likelihood of this nation’s first Black president, a man with a name not like yours or mine on top of it, who is liberal, brilliant, charismatic and — in my mind — a thoroughly decent guy, has Internet-savvy bloggers foaming at the mouth. Just about every day over the last two weeks, I’ve gotten some piece of religious right-generated “information” about something incendiary Obama, who is “probably, according to the Bible, the Anti-Christ,” said “last week on Meet The Press,” or a Russian economist’s warning that Obama’s “socialism” would lead us into gulags and a resurgent Communism, or that Obama is working to burn flags, take away my Bible, fill the Cabinet with radical Muslims, and teach oral sex to kindergarteners. He’ll have to do this between travels to his “secret birthplace” in Kenya and after he visits his ailing grandmother in Hawaii to destroy his original birth certificate, but my email correspondents insist that Michelle “I Hate Whitey” Obama is more than able to hold down the fort at home.

And none of it’s true.

Worse, the patent absurdity of this stuff doesn’t seem to compel these earnest, intelligent Christians to simply exert a little bit of energy on research, exercise a little bit of common sense, and exhibit a little bit of Christian charity before they join the mob. And it’s not just naive, undiscerning folks in the pews — Doug Wilson in Moscow and pastors and church leaders all over the country are taking in delight in promoting the “shadowy background and lost years” of a man who’s been under media scrutiny unlike any ever focused on a national figure. Shame on them, although Wilson, unlike Moscow’s “No Weatherman,” at least uses his name when bearing false witness. Whisper campaigns and false judgment spread to your neighbor or your co-worker is sin; splattering it all over your email contacts and through your blog is sin with the volume turned up, and these people have exhausted themselves in their determination not only to not love the man, Barack Obama, but to actively malign him — in the name of Jesus.

IN THE NAME OF JESUS.

In the name of the Prince of Peace, these people have proclaimed war on another human being — one who names Jesus, too, as his Lord and Savior.

In the name of the Reconciler, these people have sown discord, suspicion, and hate.

In the name of the Way, the Truth, and the Life, these people have lied, and passed on lies, and delighted in lies.

And while they’re free to call me “hateful” when I object, in anger, they aren’t free to presume the protection of a loving God when doing what they do. I don’t hate anyone. I absolutely hate when people’s fears drive them to act . . . hatefully. For that, I won’t apologize.

And I won’t be silent, because someday the Lord Jesus will ask me what I did when people lied about Him and His Gospel, and I pray He’ll have enabled me to keep speaking truth.

Never Thought It Would Come To This

Saturday, October 25th, 2008

I don’t know when I’ve been this angry in a long time.

Blog and Mablog, the repository of some of the daily ugliness by Doug Wilson, has scanned copies of “birth certificates from Hawaii from around the same time” (as Obama’s birth in 1961), showing the one the campaign has on “Fightthesmears.com” and a “real original.” Yes, the two are unbelievably different — the second one (actually from 1963) is an obvious “circa 1963″ image, and the first one, the one Obama shows to the world to justify what he should never have to justify, is . . .

. . . an obvious, computer-generated, State-issued certified copy, the kind that you and I get when we want to get a passport, or when the microfiche we got in the late 70s is no longer legible.

It’s a certified copy, Doug. Obama isn’t representing the certified copy, legal evidence of legal live birth from the state issuing it, Doug, as the genuine, creased, folded, stuffed-back-in-the-files one. No, Doug, he knows that the original is, like millions and millions of other State-issued original birth certificates, still at the State’s record offices, if it hasn’t been converted to the aforementioned microfiche due to the disintegration that happens to paper over time. Just like mine, just like my son’s, just like my neighbor’s, just like Bill Sali’s. THE STATE ISSUES ITS OWN CERTIFIED, RAISED-SEAL, COMPUTER-GENERATED, ABSOLUTELY LEGAL IN ANY COURT, COPY OF BIRTH CERTIFICATES, DOUG, FOR EVERYONE. NO ONE GETS THEIR ACTUAL VAULT COPY. So, Doug, you haven’t proved anything. Other than this:

A man who is unable to grasp the difference between an image of a recently-issued CERTIFIED COPY BY THE STATE and an image of an original 1963 birth certificate issued by the State, and who trumpets the difference as evidence of some nefarious deed, isn’t qualified to pronounce judgment on more than his Cocker Spaniel.

And a Pastor –a Pastor, Doug, a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ — who is unable to grasp the concept of bearing false witness and inciting hate, and who would do so as gleefully and wittily as you, isn’t qualified to preach the Gospel to that same Cocker Spaniel.

God have mercy.

Keely
http://keely-prevailingwinds.blogspot.com/

The Masculine God Who’s Also Feminine

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

Recently, a local Christian blog featured some comments on the all-the-rage Christian novel, “The Shack,” which, like most of the rest of the evangelical English-speaking world, I have read. The writing is somewhat awkward, and I doubt that it will achieve, or deserves to achieve, the status of “Pilgrim’s Progress,” as theologian Eugene Peterson contends. But it’s wildly popular and entirely polarizing — you either love the image of the Trinity represented in the book as a Black woman as God, a jeans-clad, sentimental-yet-masculine Jesus, and a Spirit represented by a wispy, not-embodied Asian woman, or you hate it.

And those who hate it, really hate it. Objection Number One appears to be the author’s portrayal of Yahweh God embodied as an African woman, a counter to the main character’s long-held, unquestioned and largely unconscious imaging of God as a white man, complete with beard and white hair.

To those who understand Scripture, any visual image of God at all is problematic. God is Spirit. God has no body — no hands, no face, no genitalia. While we use the pronoun “He” because English lacks a personal, neutral third-person singular — “it” isn’t appropriate for those of us who believe in a personal God — most people understand that God isn’t male, and His self-identifying with us as “Father” is not only metaphor, but bespeaks much more now, and did then to the ancient Hebrews, than simply “Father” as “male parent.” Male and female both represent with equal completeness the image of God; Eve was not the “variant” of the image, and Adam was not ontologically “closer to” God than she was. Scripture is clear that BOTH were created fully in the image of their Creator, and the dominion mandate given to both is a clear sign that God’s intention was to fully manifest Himself in women and in men — equally.

The Book of Genesis is clear that God created men and women as men and women and, in doing so, created them after His own image — that is, male and female. It’s evident that God is “both-and.” He is — has — that of male and is — has — that of female within Him; God is ontologically both male and female and yet is neither. This paradox ought not confound us; a god easily comprehended and defined is a god not worth worshiping, and God’s ontology, while more mysterious to us than His revealed character, is clear: God is Spirit, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, alike and yet not alike those whom He made in His image. He has chosen to reveal Himself in both masculine and feminine images, images that serve to imperfectly introduce and describe the Perfect One.

The fatherhood of God, which is how He is largely revealed in His Word, speaks more to agency, initiative, superintendence, and authority — corporate personality, perhaps — than to mere male parentage. Like all descriptors for the Deity, even the relational characteristics, “father” is more metaphorical than literal; the terms we use, while utterly true, are only pictures given in words we can comprehend. Because of the eternal, functional, ontological equality within the Trinity, the “Sonship” of the Lord Jesus refers, in terms we can grasp, to the intimate love relationship, the “proceeding from” the Father, of the Second Person of the Trinity. The heresy of subordinationism, that Jesus was subordinate not only to Yahweh God in His incarnation, but is now and eternally subordinate to Him in the eternal, immanent Trinity, has made unfortunate inroads into Christian theology, usually as an analogy to argue for female-to-male subordination. But what was heresy then is heresy now; the Athanasian creed specifically rejects subordinationism and elucidates more clearly with the Apostles’ and Nicene creeds in spelling out the eternal equality of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. They relate to each other not as Dad-fertilizing- and Dad-parenting-Son, but as fully equal, fully eternal, fully divine Persons in a relationship of single will, single heart, single intent.

It’s undeniably convenient and certainly comforting for Christian hierarchialists, patriarchs, and complementarians to cling to a male God, but the plethora of maternal images used by God to describe God’s nature, both in the Old and New Testaments, ought to reveal a God whose love is maternal and paternal, far beyond anything we’ve experienced or can understand. As Baptist pastor Paul R. Smith says, “God is more father than father and more mother than mother,” and failure to see God as “not male” results in our manufacturing a god much more to our liking, considerably more apt to be employed to soothe our prejudices than God has revealed Himself to be. I don’t agree with some of Smith’s analyses, but he does the Church a service in reminding of us of God’s propensity to reveal Himself in terms that evoke maternal, female, not just paternal, male, imagery.

It is true that Jesus Christ referred to God as Father 170 times in the Gospels. His disciples, however, whose prayers would serve as a pattern for the Church, are recorded eleven times in Scripture praying to God — and, as Smith asserts, “There are no accounts in the New Testament of anyone but Jesus addressing God as Father.” That Jesus didn’t refer to God as “Mother” is hardly shocking in a patriarchal culture, but that doesn’t argue that we remain blinded to maternal, female, images of God that enrich the Bible’s testimony, the origin of which is God’s own Spirit. We may not feel comfortable praying to God as “Mother,” and we should never reject the paternal image He’s given us, but that doesn’t require that we see Him only as our Male Parent In Heaven. We are saved by the Incarnation, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, a male, Jewish carpenter, fully God and fully human. We are NOT saved by His maleness, but by His God-ness. It is the God-ness of our Lord that speaks the greatest truth and commands our worship. To revere only the maleness of God not only wrongly exalts masculinity — the effects of which have been fairly disastrous for humanity — but denigrates the full, revealed Person of the Deity, giving us half a picture that is no picture at all.

(“Is It Okay To Call God ‘Mother’?” Paul R. Smith, 1995/Hendrickson Publishers)

No Weatherman, No Pastorman

Saturday, October 18th, 2008

Thank you, Doug Wilson, for answering my email asking you if you were the “No Weatherman” posting, and posting venomously, on Moscow’s Vision 2020 forum. You say you’re not. I’m glad; thank you, Lord, that No Weatherman evidently isn’t a local pastor. I would have found that to be crushing.

However, someone IS posting mean-spirited, bigoted, slanderous innuendo about Barack Obama — without having the guts or whatever other body parts required to identify himself. N.W. has also said some fairly nasty things about me, but that’s par for the course; I didn’t start a blog and take on some of Moscow’s most powerful religious leaders without some idea that I’d catch flack. I have, and it happens.

I think that what makes me so sad about the whole Story of No Weatherman and his prolific cyber-thuggery is that many Vision readers assume him to be part of the Kirk, some of whose leadership has unfortunately put forth anonymous or pseudonymical comments on Vision that, whatever their value in the course of civic and civil discussion, have been judged worthless because of the sheer lack of integrity evinced by this kind of “Trinitarian skylarking.” There is a history there, a history replete with Shirley Pissdoff, Edna Wilmington, and other characters who don’t exist, including, it seems, the formerly ubiquitous Glenn Schwaller, who is curiously resistant to ever actually meeting anyone face to face. That No Weatherman, who refuses to identify himself or acknowledge my request that he do so, echoes much of Kirk leadership in his obvious contempt for both decency and Barack Obama, and employs the serrated edge of Doug Wilson regularly, although not as delicately, lends further credence to the notion that No Weatherman is likely familiar with Anselm House, New St. Andrews, or Christ Church. It’s possible, of course, as I’ve mentioned before, that No Weatherman is pleased to hide behind the assumption that he is a Kirker, and actually isn’t one. That’s disturbing for a couple of reasons: One, it’s obviously unfair to Wilson, et al., and two, it points out the less-than-stellar reputation of Christ Church and its ministers.

That reputation is well deserved. No other church in Moscow, and no other church organization I’ve ever known of in my 27-plus years as a Christian, engages with its community like Wilson’s men do. The stiff-middle-finger approach to living as neighbors, much less contending for the Gospel, is well documented. The Gospel is, in and of itself, an offense to people. But Christ Church’s offenses are not “of the Gospel.” They’re of a band of immature patriarchs, arrogant Calvinists, and wanna-be Oxford dons who show remarkable insouciance when insulting the sensibilities of “pagan” Moscow — that is, when they’re not actively, intentionally, set on poking their neighbors in the eye.

So I’m glad it’s not Wilson or anyone he knows, as he said in his response to me. That doesn’t mean it isn’t someone who’s acquainted with him, and it doesn’t lead me away from sadly concluding that if I were a betting woman, I’d bet that No Weatherman is a Kirker. And that, more than the obnoxious drivel from No, is the saddest and most discouraging aspect of this whole thing: A church whose past bad behavior makes it the automatic suspect when bullying, taunting, slanderous and stupid conduct rears its ugly head in Moscow.

The first century church enjoyed the favor — the goodwill– of all the people (Acts 2:47). Would it be asking too much that the 21st century church here could at the very least refrain from provoking the hostility of the people? Kindness, respect, and generosity of spirit are as freely available by the grace of the Holy Spirit now as they were then. The difference seems to be this: One church seemed dedicated to bringing people to the Lord Jesus; the other seems content merely to celebrate that they themselves got in.

And that’s the difference between eternal life and eternal condemnation. Not just for those “outside,” but in the Lord’s wisdom, for those at table Sunday mornings.

See, I’m Not A Tech-Type At All

Friday, October 17th, 2008

I was horrified, just before church tonight, to discover that my “other” Hotmail account, keelyemerinemix2008@hotmail.com, had half a dozen messages in it from readers of this blog — some from more than a month ago. It didn’t occur to me that I would get email at that address, and I’m so sorry for having not answered. I promise to respond to each of you tomorrow and I ask for not only your forgiveness, but also your patience as I try to figure out the complexities of managing two — yeah, two — email accounts.

Believe me, my sons are embarrassed for me . . .

So thank you for reading, and I will get back to you tomorrow, Friday the 17th. I normally use kjajmix1@hotmail.com, but will check my second one more frequently now that I, ummm, kind of, sort of, get it.

Heroes, Part 2

Thursday, October 16th, 2008

He was a veteran of both World Wars, lying to get into World War I when he was too young and maneuvering to get into World War II when he was too old. He was a quasi-Socialist, a newspaperman, a nature lover and the best grandfather — the finest man, next to my husband — anyone could have.

Edward Emerine died 27 years ago this week, a casualty of the Alzheimer’s that lingered an uncommonly long time and robbed this brilliant, kind, courageous man of his intellect, his voice, and the gentleness honed by his experiences in war. He was my father’s father, a steadying and towering presence in my youth who adored me when I was not always terribly lovable. He was handsome — Arizona-tanned skin made rough and wrinkled by daily three- or four-mile walks, always with a rock in his hand to prevent an old boxing injury from seizing up his fingers. He had Barry Goldwater’s stately white hair and none of his politics; he was a mentor of the late Mo Udall’s, who I remember was the only man taller than he was.

He smoked a pipe and smelled of rich, tanned leather and hearty rolled tobacco, and I suspect that when he once found a bag of marijuana on one of his walks, he likely rolled a joint and gave it a try — and then ripped into me for even, ever, thinking of smoking pot, long before I’d ever thought to. Like my parents, he was a vehement critic of the Vietnamese War, refusing to be silent on its evil, never muzzling the voice of horror that poured from him because of his experiences in war. He had a gentleman’s bourbon on the rocks every night and managed to pound away for hours on his old Royal typewriter, the one in my basement now, while sipping his Ten High and puffing on his pipe. And what he wrote was brilliant. Brilliant, unabashedly liberal, and rarely ever popular with the powers that were.

In the old days of print journalism, the editor was reporter, typesetter, and editorialist. He was almost by definition a firebrand; the small-town journalism of the American West in the ’40s, ’50s, and ’60s didn’t coddle reporters and often ran them out of town when liberal sentiments clashed with conservative ideals. But my grandfather was a resilient man. It was a badge of honor that he told the truth — always, although perhaps not always gently — and he was willing to take the punches that came with it. But he would not risk his integrity for stability; it probably made my grandmother’s and my father’s lives more difficult than they could’ve been, but he represented utter honesty, the very best of liberalism, and genuine decency every day I got to be with him. He called me his co-editor, his great joy, and his girl, and until he died, no one but me knew that he had written a novel, and no one but me ever knew that he never allowed me to pay a cent when I backed into his car just two weeks or so after I got my driver’s license. He was my sounding board and I was protege’, and he was everything I ever wanted to be.

He and Grandma Lou lived, most of my life, just a couple of blocks from me. I saw him every day and at least a couple of days a week when he had to go to the nursing home. During the last two years of his battle with Alzheimer’s, he usually didn’t recognize me. That was sad, but he could receive affection and attention, and he knew that someone — many someones — loved him. On one of my last visits with him, the staunch agnosticism I remember during my youth gave way to a moment I’ll treasure forever. I had wheeled him toward a window that looked out on a rose garden. Alzheimer’s left him looking more robust than his brain truly was. His syntax was a wreck, his vocabulary often vulgar when comprehended, and he hadn’t been lucid for awhile, but for one very brief moment, he looked at the roses and said, “I believe they are God’s. Why don’t they see that?” I pray that somehow he came to know the love of Jesus Christ, who could penetrate the haze and the depths when none of us could. I miss him even after almost 30 years, and I hope in Christ that I can see him again.

Not many of us get to grow up with our heroes, and I grew up a better person because of my Papa.

Love. Love is Good.

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

The Christian hymn “And They’ll Know We Are Christians By Our Love” proclaims that an unbelieving world will come to understand who we are as Christians by the love we show.

Sadly, many believers point out in John the Elder’s letters that others will know we are Christians by the love we show one another — other Christians. And that IS what his letters say.

However, I see no reference, in reading further, to the desirability of keeping ‘em guessing by being unloving toward those who don’t identify as Christians. In fact, the rest of John’s letters extol the virtue of love, period, for Christ’s sake. There’s no escape clause in dealing with those outside the church, and I imagine the old apostle — the “disciple Jesus loved” — would be horrified to see how we often lavish our brethren with affection while pouring bile into the cups of those outside the church.

No one ought to have to come to Jesus Christ before benefiting from the love poured out by His people.

Oh, And One More Thing …

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

An off-line correspondent asks me if I’ve bothered to ask No Weatherman if he’s a local pastor or involved in a local ministry.

Yes.

He didn’t answer.

I emailed Doug Wilson tonight to see if he is N.W., if he’s aware that people assume he and/or his associates are behind the anonymous Vision 2020 posts, and if he would publicly say he is or confirm he isn’t. Of course I’ll relay the response.

Further, please be clear on this: I don’t want to have it confirmed that N.W. — an obnoxious, slanderous coward — is a Christian, and especially not a Christian in a leadership position in a church. That ANYONE is behind N.W. is disturbing; I don’t know if I could adequately convey the grief I’d feel if he were from the Kirk or any other church.