The Sure Guy and The Gray Guy

Hey guys, remember me. My name is Matt. I used to blog here regularly. I just got back from the wonderful city of Mesquite, and boy do I have a lot to say.

I cannot help but consider the relationship between myself and Jake a perfect case study for Ryan’s epistemological theory regarding those who more inclined to be sure in biblical interpretation and those who are more inclined to be gray.  For those of you are new to this discussion, I am more inclined to sure and Jake is more inclined to gray.Jake’s wife likes to laugh and joke that Jake and I don’t agree on
anything. Yet we both consider each other good friends, we share prayer requests and struggles and rejoice and mourn with each other. He is a true brother in Christ and of all the pain of the last year, I look back and see my relationship with Jake as one of the best things that
has come out of it.

For the sake of helping you understand where we are coming from, let me briefly describe how different our upbringings were:

Jake: Pastor’s kid in the mid-west where all morality was black and white (alcohol bad)
Matt: Atheist/recovering alcoholic’s kid in Las Vegas where truth was relative (yet my mom never stopped drinking in front of my recovering alcoholic dad, who now drinks socially)

We both rebelled from these upbringings hard in college:

Jake: dressing like a homosexual (no, really, he wrote a blog about it here. When I first met Jake he had a weird “Cheetah Print” fetish)
Matt: becoming a legalistic thinking/moralist

Now, keeping in mind that I tend to be a bit more sure and Jake tends to be a bit more gray, the following are the two biggest issues he and I have dealt with this past year:

– A mutual friend abandoning his sick wife.

– A mutual friend throwing a holiday frat party.

Now how do a sure guy and a gray guy deal with these two scenarios? Very differently.  I will spare you most of the details of these two conversations (although Jake, please know that I am only putting the lid on them for your sake, if you want to bring them out I’m fine).

When our friend was abdicating his role as husband and abandoning his wife I, as a sure guy, I was able to love our friend by speaking truth into his life that Jake, as a gray guy didn’t/wouldn’t (I am not making a judgment call for motive). As a gray guy Jake was able to love my friend in a very safe environment that I could not provide. As far as fruit is concerned, well our friend refused to repent, so we cannot exactly say either of our styles worked.

After attending our friend’s Christmas frat party we had a similar exchange part of which can be viewed here. As far as fruit is concerned, our friends have refused to repent, so we cannot exactly say that either of our styles worked.

I would seem that we both have over-realized interpretations of certain parts of the Bible and under-realized interpretations of other parts of the Bible. As a sure guy I see in myself all the problems that Jake presents. As a gray guy, I see in Jake all the problems Ryan presents. I would like to get on my soapbox and say that I believe Jake postures himself over certain parts of scripture and instead of letting them define what certain things like “love” and “church” mean, he goes with what he thinks “love” and “church” should mean. I really would. And while I will not tell you that I find that statement untrue, what I will say is that I cannot get up on my soapbox and tell that to him becuase in reality:

I myself take my cue of what “love” and “church” mean from certain verses while marginalizing others. So that while I might assume to have a posture by where I let the scriptures define what certain things look like, I do it by marginalizing other verses.

I have been discovering that my main spiritual gift is prophecy (proclamation). The thing that has been so convicting lately is that all the prophets in the Bible were constantly on their faces praying for God to change people and have mercy on them just as much, if not more, than yelling at them (they still yelled mind you). Do I do this? Or do I bash people with the truth of the Bible hoping it will change them? I find this to be just as fruitless as not proclaiming truth and hoping to love and create safe environments for them to come to me when ready. People are never “willing” to repent, that is why God constantly sends people to verbally warn them throughout scripture.

I cannot help but think that if Jake and I were more like the other that we would see more fruit. Creating safe environments where people are loved and cared for. Environments where they are warned that sin leads to death and that Christ came to take away sin by those of us who are so wrecked by their sin that we have been pleading to God on their behalf.

Thanks for carrying the blog for a while Ryan, but it won’t be necessary any longer; I’m back.