For God’s sake, let people think for themselves

I get a lot of emails from readers of this blog asking for my advice on a wide range of subjects: how to manage their finances, how to deal with court issues, how to stay healthy, how to get married and stay so, how to raise their kids, how to build and run their businesses and ministries; the list is almost endless.

I understand why I get all these emails:  They honestly think I have the answers. The truth, however, is that I don’t! I have more questions than answers; and I usually say so in my replies. In fact, some times, I usually respond with, “Why do you think it’s any of my business?”

Now, does my daring to express my personal opinion publicly on issues, even if I come across as authoritative on them, automatically give me the right to wade into your personal and most intimate affairs? And should I wade in whenever the opportunity presents itself?

Sometimes, I think folks invite deceptions, manipulations, and exploitations on themselves by being unnecessarily gullible and failing to use their own minds and think for themselves.

And so it was that I had a back and forth recently with a sincere and well-meaning theologian and leader. He is reading this now because I sent him the link. I also told him I was going to write about our conversation in very stark terms.

“Rev. Wildfire,” he asked me, “a lot of people are running off and setting up home churches after reading your writings and books.”

“I think this could be quite dangerous,” he continued.

“And why is that,” I asked.

“People need leadership and control in order not to stray into heresies. You have to monitor these people to ensure that they are preaching sound doctrine,” he answered.

“Sir,” I responded, “I have a few questions for you.”

“Go on,” he said.

“You assume I’m not teaching heresies myself. Why is that?” I asked. “How are you certain I’m not the one that needs to be reined in?”

He kept quiet.

“I never attended any theological or bible school; as a matter of fact, I never even completed my University education,” I continued. “So, who is supervising and controlling me to ensure that I don’t stray into heresies?” (Ok, I must admit I had this 6 year stint at a Junior Seminary, but that’s just about any claims I have to a formal theological training.)

When the gentleman preferred to listen and take in all my questions at once, I continued letting them fly.

“Jesus Christ spent only three and a half years with a bunch of locals, then left them here and disappeared into the clouds. Who was left behind to keep them from straying into heresies, if not the very words He spoke to them, the Holy Spirit, one another, and their individual sense of decency and dignity?”

The dignified theologian asked me to go on.

“Well,” I concluded, “if the scriptures, the Holy Spirit, one another, and their personal sense of decency are not enough to keep them in line, I’m not interested even in making the slightest attempt at it.”

And what was his response?

“You are crazy!” he retorted.

That wasn’t all he said, though.

“Your answer,” he continued, “is very refreshing and liberating. Thank you.”

“Well,” I thought, “it really doesn’t make any difference to me what you think of my answers. I don’t think of them as right or wrong; I think of them simply as, mine.”

For God’s sake, let people think for themselves.