Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”
Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?”John 14:5-9
One of my great joys as a writer – or, “Christian thinker” – is that of inspiring and encouraging others who are taking this faith journey, those who consider themselves, like me, as a Pilgrim in Progress.
And I really love to hear from these folk, whether it is the missionary who found one of my books in a café in Italy and told me about the life-changing difference it made to his faith, the teacher who came across one of my articles in a Guideposts magazine in a used book store, or the Florida reader I heard from yesterday, who wrote these words to her Bible study group:
“Friends, Colleen sent me this blog after class today and I really wanted to share it with you. Derek is the blogger , and he is the Spouse of Rebekah. She was the Pastor a First Presbyterian in Brandon and just retired from the Wake Forest Presbyterian Church in NC. Derek always has a way of bringing extra meaning to any subject he tackles. Thanks to Colleen for forwarding this to me. Hope you can open it and have time to read…”
Dialogue, not diatribe!
I am also pleased to stimulate deeper thinking, and rethinking, and disagreement, and pushback. Because, as I often say, I know that I am wrong a lot of the time! Respectful dialogue in response to differing points of view is one of the ways we all learn, and grow, and come closer to truth.
What doesn’t do anyone any good, however, is commentary rooted in hatefulness, and animus, and personal antipathy. In social media this is known as “trolling” (Troll: a person who posts inflammatory, insincere, digressive, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community).
Generally, I delete comments that are more diatribe than dialogue, although sometimes I let them stand for a few days because I feel a response might be helpful (although I am invariably wrong about that!).
Of course, these people post anonymously, because they do not have the courage to be honest. One – who is a frequent flyer in the trolling department – often changes his “handle” in an effort to pretend that more than one person supports his baseless claims. I truly feel sorry for folk like this.
The “Why” of this blog:
So this post is designed for four specific reasons:
- First, to remind everyone that it is my intention to point people toward Jesus, “The way, the truth, and the life.”
- Then, to make a similar point from the John 14 text: “I have been writing for a long time. You should know me by now!”
- And, because I am well aware of my shortcomings as a communicator: Always, please, read more around the scriptures I quote. God’s word is powerful and incisive: “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
- Finally, I have no time for what used to be called, “poison pen letters.” Life is too short, and the Good News is too good, for me to pay much attention. I think Woody (Toy Story) said it best, when he addressed Buzz Lightyear’s foundational delusion: “You are a sad, strange little man, and you have my pity. Farewell.”
Like I said, I am so very grateful that I have this opportunity to get inside the minds and the spirits of so many readers. So let me conclude today’s post with the scripture that guided my work as a journalist, and that is always – I hope – at the root of everything I do as a follower of the Way of Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.Philippians 4:8-9
Peace, and grace, and mercy, and light, and promise, and love – DEREK