Affirmation or Outrage?: Updated
Brown has publicly admitted he didn’t handle the situation well, though he didn’t give us specific ways that he believes he failed.
Many of us who have a history with Steve are satisfied with his answer as it fits coherently with everything we’ve known him to teach for more than three decades.
We’re not completely satisfied, but trust the man enough to leave a ladder of grace for him to climb back inside the house with.
That makes some people angry with us.
Upon thinking about this matter, I’ve come to the conclusion that we culturally now have only two allowable responses to almost everything.
Affirmation or outrage.
A nuanced response to people or to any political or social issues will result in both the affirming and the outraged taking turns rending their garments (and you) if they can catch you.
There are people and issues that I can almost completely affirm and some that should leave us outraged.
However, we spend so much time being outraged that outrage itself has become pedestrian and lacking in meaning.
Should you ask the people that know me the best what they think of me, the answers would (hopefully) be a lot of affirmations along with a recognition that there are some things about me that they wish were different.
That would be a reasonable assessment…I am after all, simultaneously saint and sinner.
Anyone who completely affirmed me or was completely outraged that I am still sucking air would be someone who either didn’t know me well or chose to believe things that were not based in reality.
With Steve, I wonder what do people want now?
Should we fine him?
We can’t defrock him because he’s not frocked.
I’m perfectly able to acknowledge that he blew it while still appreciating the gifts he brings to the church.
He’s been exposed to public humiliation and censure after a long and spotless career.
That’s more than enough for me.
I’m not going to affirm what he did, but I’m going to affirm him.
I’m disappointed, but miles from being outraged.
The Bible teaches that by the measure I judge, that is the way I will be judged.
I’m going to spend my outrage carefully and wisely.
I will be as liberal as I can be with my affirmations…and pray God do likewise for me.
You think about that…
Since I posted this article I’ve received new information from unimpeachable sources that indicate that Browns involvement in covering up this scandal are more grievous than I had known.
While this saddens me deeply, it must also be posted.
My prayer is that Steve will reconsider his actions and make things as right as he can.