In the end it turned out that he was “joking,” but he continued the ruse for some time before being a little put out that I had asked him whether he was joking, because he couldn’t imagine why i wouldn’t know that the daft idea he’d presented was in fact daft. Problem is the daft idea he jokingly put out there as fact, in the form of a quote, and which I questioned, has been presented to me in the past, in great detail, as ‘gospel.’
So where did that leave me?
Initially I was quite perturbed at being labelled a heretic (in the end, even jokingly) by someone I respect.
Then on reflection I realised that I was looking at this all wrong.
I am a heretic.
To someone, somewhere, according to their version of orthodoxy I will always be a heretic. You can’t please all of the people, all of the time.
But, then again, it isn’t about pleasing the people – it is about God. It isn’t even about my version of God, or how reformed, or evangelical, or aware of the intricacies of Presbyterian kirk governance I am. It is about realising that no matter how hard we try, or indeed the power of the spirit transforming our minds and hearts, we are not inerrant.
Humility is actually quite freeing. So’s realising that being labelled a heretic by a man is not the weapon they might wield it to be.
ps: If you (actually almost anyone who would be reading this blog) wants evidence that someone out there thinks you are damned or in the least a heretic, take a look at this job advert Matthew Paul Turner got his hands on and wrote about.