go therefore into the world and whack your gong

April 26, 2011


“I know I’m right. And no, this isn’t an issue of excess pride.  Scripture is clear.  And yet, here you are, expressing what you think is a valid opinion to the contrary.  No.  Having a favorite ice cream flavor… THAT is an opinion.  But this is in the Bible.  This is indisputable.  I’m right about this right here.

Pick your favorite hot button theological issue.  Or your strongest opinnion on church methodology.  You know you’ve got one.  Everybody’s got one.  Now, stir up some of that internal tension… just picture your most vocal adversary on this issue and instert yourself into a conversation wherein you use the paragraph above.  Got it?

Good.  Now I’m sure you can rustle up your favorite verses that back up your point of view. Go ahead… access the memory banks.  Take your sword from its scabbord.  Good.  Now are you ready to defend your ground? Steel yourself for conflict.  Jude 1:3 tells us to contend for the faith.  This is that moment.  Are you up to the task?


You are now in the right frame of mind to read this post.  I’m talking to you right now.

“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”  (Proverbs 15:1)


“If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”  (Romans 12:18)


“I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one–as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.” (John 17:21)


“Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers.”  (2 Timothy 2:14)


“And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome, but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth…”  (2 Timothy 2:24-25)

A few months ago now, I saw a contentious theological discussion on Facebook in which someone made the comment, “Truth at all costs.”  Really?  At all costs?  Like the eternal soul of your opponent?  All costs?  I immediately thought back to something a mentor of mine once said at a worship leadership conference…

“Sometimes I can just be SO RIGHT that I roll right over people… with the authority of the Lord.  That crushes love.  LOVE is the first commandment, not ‘thou shalt be right for my name’s sake.'”

I had this clever blog post all planned out. But I think it would better if you just read those verses above one more time.  That’s really all I want to say.  Yes, I belive in absolute truth, and I believe in living with strong convictions, and I know there is a time to confront and a time to contend.  But without love, we’re just a clanging gong.

Nobody wants to listen to a clanging gong.

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“go therefore into the world and whack your gong” by Joshua Skogerboe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.


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Psalm 24:7 & Luke 10:42 >> Like David, and Mary, I'm in pursuit of my one thing. I'm the Pastor at St. Olaf Lutheran Church in Montgomery, IL. Pastor, teacher, writer, communicator, designer, and drummer. I definitely got the better deal in my marriage to Amy. And I couldn't be any more proud of my five amazing boys. Deeply grateful.

5 responses to go therefore into the world and whack your gong

  1. I do NOT and will not ever agree with your mandate of, linen ephod clad, liturgical dance routines.

    Now that I got THAT out of the way… love you brother and your great insights. 🙂

    • What’s not to love about linen ephod clad dance routines?? David did it. He was a man after God’s own heart, am I right? I’m right!

      Thanks brother “Lord of the Dance” Nate. May your day be filled with twirling as unto the Lord.

  2. Well said, Josh. My Dad told me that when he hears stuff that is totally off, he often says, “There’s some truth in that.” There usually is at least SOME truth in what they’re saying, even if it’s just a tiny grain, he told me. I really think that’s wise… not everyone needs to be corrected right away; sometimes they need to think through and evaluate their own opinions. He’ll often go on to say, “Could it also be that….. (fill in the blank with an honest and sincere question or a gentle thought)?”

    Clanging gongs are obnoxious and drive souls away from small group ministries, churches, Bible studies, you name the place, instead of reflecting the radiance of Christ… thanks for your reminder and for your example.

    • Thanks Liz. We share many things in common,m including a great love and respect for your dad.

      And I agree – clanging gongs may well be right, but they often HINDER the cause of Jesus Christ. And those consequences are ETERNAL. Let that sink into you for a minute. ETERNAL.

      Praying I can reflect the love of Jesus like your dad does… ESPECIALLY when I’m right. 🙂 Bless you Liz. Keep changing the world.

  3. I always liked the essay from the Internet Monk “I hate theology” – thought it summed up my attitude pretty well over such matters –