I’ve never forgotten a conversation I had several years ago with Dr. Robertson McQuilken.
For years, Dr. McQuilken served as President of what was then known as Columbia Bible College and Seminary in Columbia, SC. He was a respected leader and theologian. But our conversation was not about theology or leadership. It was about a fight he’d had with his wife.
Dr. McQuilken didn’t remember what he and his wife were arguing about. But whatever the source of the conflict was, he recalled that the logic he was using to defend his position was impeccable. No matter how his wife protested, he had an air tight response.
Until Muriel McQuilken looked her husband in the eye and said to him “Robertson, logic isn’t everything. And emotion isn’t nothing!”
How do you argue with that!
Maybe the reason that story stuck with me is because I tend to be pretty logical myself. Not full on Mr. Spock logical. But I usually view issues through the lens of reason and rationality more than through a swirl of emotions. Honestly, logical people like me often believe that reason ought to rule the day and that emotions simply cloud the matter.
So I have to remind myself regularly that God has given us both a mind and a heart, and that both parts of our soul have a role to play in how we view life and how we make decisions.
As Muriel McQuilken said, emotions aren’t nothing.
With that said, I am concerned that in our national dialogue on cultural and civil issues, reason and rational thinking have been moved, not simply to the back seat, but all the way to the trunk. Today, our rhetoric is filled with passion that borders on hysteria. The volume level of our cultural conversations has risen to dangerous decibel levels. We’re not listening to each other any more. There is a lot of heat but not a lot of light.
Emotion is not nothing. But unbridled or unrestrained passions are unhealthy, for everyone involved.
And all you have to do is scroll through your twitter feed to see how pervasive the problem has become. The convenience and the de-personalization inherent in social media makes it easy for us to vent. The online goal is to demonize our opponents while we virtue signal to our own tribe. Most of us are not doing anything constructive to solve issues. But we feel better if we’ve tweeted something.
I try to remind myself as I log onto social media the admonition found in Ephesians 4, paraphrased for my current circumstance. “Let no corrupt or unwholesome tweets or Facebook posts come out of your keyboard.” That’s not a literal translation, you understand. But it fits in the category of dynamic equivalence.
I also have to remind myself that my problem, ultimately, is not with my speech. It’s with my heart. It is out of the abundance of the heart that my mouth speaks. What I say or tweet or post is like a spiritual EKG. It tells you what’s in my heart.
So when what you read from me on line is unwholesome or corrupt or malicious or slanderous or hints at anger or bitterness or is in anyway abusive, no matter what I might be trying to say, I’m telling you in that moment that I am not walking in the Spirit but I’m walking in the flesh. And I am grieving the Holy Spirit of God who lives in me.
Let that sink in for just a minute.
I want my words and my tweets and my posts to be good for building others up. I want them to give grace to all who hear. I want them to reflect kindness and tenderheartedness.
So when you see me tweeting or posting to the contrary, I hope you won’t “amen.” I hope you’ll call me out.
There is a time and a season for everything. Solomon said so in Ecclesiastes three. When Jesus overturned the money changer’s tables in the Temple courtyard, He showed us that there is a time for righteous anger. When He publicly rebuked the scribes and the Pharisees, He demonstrated that there is a time to use the prophetic and call people to fear God and repent.
Emotion isn’t nothing. But it also rarely solves or fixes anything. And unbridled emotion destroys people.
So join me as I seek to refresh my own heart with the joy found in the gospel so that no unwholesome words come out of my keyboard today.
This morning we had a whole bunch of our kids at church for the third of our four our Summer Kid’s Fest events (I checked. That’s the official name).
The final Summer Kid’s Fest event happens two weeks from today, on Wednesday, July 25. And we’ll be wrapping up the summer school supply drive at the end of the month as well, so we can get supplies to the folks at David O Dodd Elementary School.
Have you signed up yet for a Sunday in the nursery next month?
We need a few workers to help staff the nursery in August. If you’d like to volunteer and you haven’t received an email from Kelly Rackley with a link to sign up, they can email her at email@example.com and she’ll send you a link.
One Sunday in August.
You can do that, right?
Let Kelly know ASAP please.
Time to head to the swimming pool! Next Tuesday night, July 17 is the Redeemer Pizza and Pool party at the Pleasant Valley Swimming Pool. We’ll have the pool all to ourselves from 6:00 – 8:30. Pizza arrives at 6:15. Bring friends. Have fun! See you there.
Have you been back in the kitchen at church recently?
We’ve recently had some folks drop of books for giveaway. Like, for free. First come, first served.
So, you might want to browse the table this Sunday to see if there are any books you’d be interested in.
At the end of the month, whatever’s left will be taken to Goodwill.
We’re back in Romans this Sunday, looking together at the Apostle Paul’s motivation for ministry.
See you in church.
Soli Deo Gloria!