The only reason I can think of to perpetuate my own blog would be to continue to respond to a group of Trolls from Epping, Pymble and Baulkham Hills. But, honestly, what’s the point in that. Trolls will be trolls.
Before you get too worked up, this is not a suicide note. What this post ought to be seen as is an end to my hiatus as it gives way to retirement. It has gone through a couple of drafts. I hope it says only what I mean to say and not everything that I really want to say.
In the 15-ish years I have been on the internet, I have been accused of a lot of things. Most of the time, it has been by people who did not read what I wrote. That’s just how things go, and the ignorance of other people should never stop a person from doing something worthwhile.
The problem I am having at this point in my hobby-on-hiatus is that as I look at many (most) of the people who were inspired by the work done by this blog and some of my other blogs, those people are terrible. From my perspective, however, this problem has not gotten better with age: it has gotten worse.
There’s a hard way to see if something can be done about this, and an easy way.
Bullies and trolls derive great hubris at others suffering. When you call them out for being what they are – idiots, jerks and soulless cowards – they demand the victim play coy or explain and defend themselves against the vilification. When a victim choses to retreat of the sake of safety and healing, the trolls and bullies hunt them down to taunt them further. The victim is the one who should apologise they say. They are rapacious with their prying, snooping and googling to saté their gluttonous appetite for the misery of their victim. When they find the victim may have moved on and may just be putting the past behind them they regurgitate their bile and spew further invective upon them. Each time the bully and troll open their mouth or touch their keypad they expose themselves as fools.
As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart. Death and Destruction are never satisfied, and neither are human eyes. The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but people are tested by their praise. Though you grind a fool in a mortar, grinding them like grain with a pestle, you will not remove their folly from them. ~ Prov 27:19-22 NIV
I have re-posted this quote a few times in the last few years. There is an intensity and loneliness in ministry unlike others. One that affects the minister as well as his wife and family. I find it a rich pick-me-up of sorts. You could spend a lot of time expositing almost each phrase, such is the quality of the prose. Perhaps you will also gain some refreshment from reading it?
Whilst I may never measure to the mark of Spurgeon in the quality or quantity of his ministry I find encouragement in his words given in chapter 11 of Lectures to My Students. I wish I had the same confidence as he concerning his “fit” of depression being a precursor to a “larger blessing”.
Such was my experience when I first became a pastor in London. My success appalled me; and the thought of the career which it seemed to open up, so far from elating me, cast me into the lowest depth, out of which I uttered my miserere and found no room for a gloria in excelsis. Who was I that I should continue to lead so great a multitude? I would betake me to my village obscurity, or emigrate to America, and find a solitary nest in the backwoods, where I might be sufficient for the things which would be demanded of me. It was just then that the curtain was rising upon my life-work, and I dreaded what it might reveal. I hope I was not faithless, but I was timorous and filled with a sense of my own unfitness. I dreaded the work which a gracious providence had prepared for me. I felt myself a mere child, and trembled as I heard the voice which said, “Arise, and thresh the mountains, and make them as chaff.” This depression comes over me whenever the Lord is preparing a larger blessing for my ministry; the cloud is black before it breaks, and overshadows before it yields its deluge of mercy. Depression has now become to me as a prophet in rough clothing, a John the Baptist, heralding the nearer coming of my Lord’s richer benison. So have far better men found it. The scouring of the vessel has fitted it for the Master’s use. Immersion in suffering has preceded the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Fasting gives an appetite for the banquet. The Lord is revealed in the backside of the desert, while his servant keepeth the sheep and waits in solitary awe. The wilderness is the way to Canaan. The low valley leads to the towering mountain. Defeat prepares for victory. The raven is sent forth before the dove. The darkest hour of the night precedes the day-dawn. The mariners go down to the depths, but the next wave makes them mount to the heaven: their soul is melted because of trouble before he bringeth them to their desired haven.
To have a clear conscience, to wear a guileless spirit, to have a heart void of offense, is greater riches than the mines of Ophir could yield or the traffic of Tyre could win. Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and inward contention therewith. An ounce of heart’s ease is worth a ton of gold; and a drop of innocence is better than a sea of flattery. Burn, Christian, if it comes to that, but never turn from the right way. Die, but never deny the truth. Lose all to buy the truth; but sell it not, even though the price were the treasure and honor of the whole world, for “what shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?” ~ Charles Spurgeon
From a sermon entitled “Consolation In The Furnace,” delivered November 26, 1865.
Spurgeon often said, he had nothing to hide in his personal life or ministry. Do you?
Recently Sam and Karen Keller, celebrated their 54th wedding anniversary.
Sam and Karen hold a special place in our lives. Sam was my homiletics lecturer at Bible College in 1989 and my pastor during my 2nd and 3rd years of College, as well as a mentor, confidant, counsellor and friend. Karen taught Rachel in College and was to her as Sam was to me. We spent the majority of our weekends at the Keller’s. Eating, watching Star Trek re-runs, talking about Louis L’Amour and Robert Ludlum novels and of course stuff related to pastoral ministry. But the main thing that came up every weekend was marriage. They would both talk about how they met, and about their daughters and when each met their future husband. It wasn’t a counselling session, it was just… life. We got to see them laugh together, cry, even argue. To this day, when Rachel and I have a “disagreeable discussion”, at some point, some mention will be made along the lines of… “Mrs Keller said…“, or “I bet Pastor Keller never said/did that!”
An incredible impact and impossible to account for the full extent that it has, even upon our own daughter’s life now.
They are not our parents, but I don’t know of any other way to describe the way we look up to them – mentors? Sure, but much, much more. Rachel doesn’t prepare or deliver a Children’s talk or speak to a Ladies Group without thinking of Karen. And I cannot escape Sam’s voice in my head every time I get up to preach. When I have to deal with something in my role as Pastor, inevitably, the thought comes to mind, “What Would Sam Do“. If only I had paid more attention all those years ago!
Tomorrow, with permission, I will post a copy of a letter Sam wrote about Karen on their 54th anniversary.