Angry nerds

Protestant evangelical Greg Stier writes in The Christian Post,

Is it me or is there a growing number of theologically conservative preachers, teachers and seminary students who just seem ticked off all of the time? They soak in all their “ologies” (Soteriology, Hamartiology, Christology, Pneumatology, etc.) and come out of their Bible bathtubs bubbling with bitterness, bile, and bite. Sadly, they are marked more by their pointed index fingers and furrowed brows than the joy of Christ.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for the “ologies” and am passionate about rightly dividing the Word of God. On a theological level I’m pretty stinkin’ conservative myself. But it seems to me that Biblical truth should not make us angry nerds who lash out at others who don’t line up with our point of view, especially on the issues that don’t matter as much.

Read the whole thing here.

Gosh, we don’t have anything like that in the Roman Catholic Church, do we? Or if we do, how should we respond to it??






18 responses to “Angry nerds”

  1. Chris Adryan Avatar
    Chris Adryan

    Well, considering that this is a problem in just about every denomination in existence I guess we have to first figure out what the issues are that “don’t matter as much.” I suspect one will get differing answers both within and between various denominations.

  2. Karl Liam Saur Avatar
    Karl Liam Saur

    Well, it’s just a prominent symptom of a larger problem (perhaps even shown in the essay itself): Christian narcissism. There is an awful lot of Christian commentary that is about the dramatization – and often melodramatization – of the self on a stage of struggle. Lots of self-fancying Jeremiahs channeling jeremiads, except that they are really jeremiads, just the Potemkin village fronts seeming to be so.

    1. Karl Liam Saur Avatar
      Karl Liam Saur

      that “are” should be “aren’t”….

  3. Jack Rakosky Avatar
    Jack Rakosky

    A good homilist says that every time when read Scripture or listen to a homily we should ask ourselves “where is the good news in this?”

    Rahner when exploring why the Church spends so much time canonizing saints notes that Jesus did not just save us theoretically but actually, and the lives of the saints are evidence of that.

    If we want the “bad news” we can find that abundantly on TV. What we need even more than theoretical good news is actual good news, the Gospel being lived.

  4. Rick Reed Avatar
    Rick Reed

    Why do I get the feeling that a significant part of some seminarians’ training lately is repeated viewings of “Bells of St. Marys”? 🙂

  5. Samuel J. Howard Avatar

    Gosh, we don’t have anything like that in the Roman Catholic Church, do we? Or if we do, how should we respond to it??

    No evidence that this is any more a thing than it used to be.

    Read about the Unitarian schism of the 19th Century. The Presbyterian old-school/new-school controversy. Bernard vs. Abelard. The rabid denunciations of neo-scholasticism by the New Theologians (and more viciously and with less genius by their followers) in the 20th century, etc. etc.

    1. Samuel J. Howard Avatar

      Here’s an example from the 1830 volume of the Princeton Review. Plenty of historical crankiness to go around.

      1. Anthony Ruff, OSB Avatar
        Anthony Ruff, OSB

        Tons of evidence – anecdotal, I admit – that this is more a thing than it was a decade or three ago. But no doubt you’re right, Christians have been pretty nasty in times past.

        I can’t resist asking, though, is there a reason why you’re playing up historical crankiness? It wouldn’t be to put anyone’s present-day crankiness in a better light, would it?


      2. Samuel J. Howard Avatar

        Whose opinions are put in a better light by highlighting an ad hominem description of those they disagree with as “angry nerds”? I don’t think we need to make it about motivations though.

        On a factual basis, the article asks a question:”Is it just me…”. I think the answer may well be, “Yes, it’s just you.” (To the extent that the question is sufficiently described. It’s quite ambigious. For instance, the literal conditions of the question would be fulfilled if the proportion of the population who are angry conservative nerds had remained constant over time, but the population had grown, but that’s not a particularly interesting result and presumably not what the author meant.)

        To this end I’ve pointed out that acrimimonous theological controversy has never been absent in the Church, pointing to both Catholic and non-Catholic examples (as the article refers to the Protestant Churches.) That doesn’t mean it’s a good thing, but it does mean that it’s not a particularly useful stick to apply to your theological opponents (of whatever sort they may be).

  6. Dale Rodriguez Avatar
    Dale Rodriguez

    Fr Ruff, it’s not just you.
    When you consider the internet and the blogosphere w/ anonymous bloggers there are tens of thousands comments daily and many are nasty. Years ago comments were noted in the editorial section of a newspaper or if one published, opinions were made known in published works which were placed in libraries and rarely looked at.
    Now, just go to a search engine online and voila thousands of comments.
    And I dare say, hopefully w/o ruffling too many feathers, that conservative, traditional sites dominate the internet. Not that traditionalists are in the majority but if you’re unhappy w/ the present way things are then all it takes is several individuals to put up a site to complain. Those who are happy w/ the status quo of Vatican II couldn’t care less so they have fewer sites but a much larger readership.

    It all depends on which side of the fence you’re on.

    1. Ben Whitworth Avatar
      Ben Whitworth

      That’s hilarious! BTW, don’t I know you from somewhere?

  7. Padre Dave Poedel, STS Avatar

    I’m sorry to say that I have observed this phenomenon in my own Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. I’m pretty darned conservative too, and liturgical, and proud to be an evangelical catholic….but I am also the happiest Padre I know!

    Lighten up, guys! Yes, we need the Law, but we require the Gospel in doses so copious as to wash away the Law in the Blood of Christ! We’re redeemed! We stand in forgiveness, justified and sanctified in the Cross of Christ! ALLELUIA!

    1. Dale Rodriguez Avatar
      Dale Rodriguez

      Padre, if you want to remain the “happiest Padre you know” in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod I suggest you stay clear of some very nasty Roman Catholic sites….

  8. John Swencki Avatar
    John Swencki

    It continues to be true: Sing them a tune and they will not dance, play them a dirge and they will not wail.

    Have you seen any “Corapi was framed” bumper stickers?

  9. Chris Castell Avatar
    Chris Castell

    Ben – perhaps. Where are you based?

    1. Ben Whitworth Avatar
      Ben Whitworth

      In Scotland, now, but previously at Somerset House; I used to go to CathSoc meetings at KCL.

      1. Chris Castell Avatar
        Chris Castell

        If it was ’99-01, then I was at King’s then too. You did Art History?

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