When I read a bit of criticism online, especially if it’s some kind of theological attack, my mind immediately assumes it’s been written by a white young man in his early twenties. And I’m normally right. Last night we were at a show, and before the show somebody tweeted that “Donald Miller better not mess up this show for me or there will be hell to pay.” The twitter profile offered no picture, but I knew it was a white kid in his twenties, and it turned out I was right. I was on the road with Derek Webb, Robbie Seay and Sandra McCracken, and we wrote the kids name down on pieces of paper, then put them all into a hat, then did a drawing from the stage where he thought he’d won something, and was invited up to be interviewed. I asked him what he did, and he wrote a blog espousing a certain theological position, and then we put his tweet up on screen. He was a great sport about the whole thing. I’d share his blog but to be honest I never read it. He’d unfortunately lost my respect. He claimed to not know me or have read my books, but had no problem issuing a threat like some kind of religious cop.
But I’ve noticed something. I’ve noticed that a little bit of truth in the hands of the immature turns immediately into a sense of superiority, and usually an attack on whatever position is seen as contradictory.
What is really happening here is a young man who is struggling for an identity, to tell the world that he is right and smart, uses some bit of theology as a flag for his identity, skipping the part where the truth about God he has learned humbles him and brings him to his knees, and makes his heart tender and broken for those who are suffering outside the unconditional love of Christ. It’s a disgusting trick, and it isn’t from God.
When we are young or immature, right theology makes us feel superior, but when we are older and more mature, a study of theology makes us feel inferior and unworthy, undeserved, and grateful.
"A little bit of truth in the hands of the immature turns immediately into a sense of superiority..."
Been there, done that. I have been that immature person more times that I care to admit - and it wasn't always twenty-odd years ago. Immaturity rages at inopportune times, and getting older doesn't guarantee consistent wisdom and the ability to keep your mouth shut.
But I am older now. Old enough now to look back and recognize the woman I have been, and old enough now to know better. And to embrace the woman that I am.
There are some things that do get better with age.
From Miller's blog, here.