Thursday, July 27, 2006

Is There a Problem?

Suppose someone calls the police and, disguising their voice and refusing to give their name, lets a detective know of a crime committed. It is called a tip. The police like it when it happens. The anonymity protects those in the know to sufficiently to allay their fears of being embroiled more than they wish. The tipster usually has some criminal connection or guilt that they would rather not discuss with the police. That said, the tipster has information the police need to and should want to know because it gives the forces of righteousness something to go on, a task and direction to pursue. Of course, anonymous testimony would and should never be admissible in court but the tip is not a trial. For the police to treat the tipster as if some unconstitutional blasphemy had occurred is to confuse categories.
"You must confront the alleged mobster yourself first, sir," replied the flatfoot.
"Geez, copper! He'll kill me!" sez the garbled voice.
"He has a right to face his accuser, son. And be sure to take all witnesses against the accused with you. It wouldn't be grave justice in this great country of ours if you didn't."

When a conversation occurs in which I am informed by "anonymous" of some bad action (either of mine own or some others) I have two choices:
1] I can disallow the charge on grounds afforded to me in formal courts, behaving like all actions of this nature were essentially formal. The generic guilt of tipsters is cause enough.
2] I can thank the vague voice and promise to investigate, the guilt of the tipster notwithstanding as the tip refers to something with which I should be very concerned.
The first is that of a martinet. He has confused low things for high things (himself first on the list) and has claimed the bureaucratic dignities of the high as a buffer.
(\mar-t'n-ET\, noun: A strict disciplinarian. One who lays stress on a rigid adherence to the details of forms and methods.)
The second is a virtue called humility of a little practiced Near Eastern religion called Christianity.

But what if the claims are outlandish? What, O Oracle, what if it were about YOU?!
I don't imagine that any of my sins are reposited in my soul without a force field of significant justification surrounding them. My friends won't say anything because they either believe my justification or want to remain my friends. My enemies, whose eyesight regarding my failings is acute and is likely no more tainted with animus then my justification is tainted with self love, they wish, for whatever foul motive, to bring me to my knees. Odd, if I sin, it is just where I should be. They are Assyria, more wicked than Israel by far but God was being faithful to the Jews by reminding them of righteousness at the hands of the Gentile.
They, the anonymous Assyrian, is an ample target for scorn but I, the chosen, the Israelite, am gifted at neck stiffening.

Is knowing a name all so important when we are trying to hear the Lord's direction and correction? If our spirit is being admonished we should be thankful that our spirit is alive enough to hear the admonishment and not so closed that it demands a name be attached. Would the discovery that my accuser is a sinner himself (as is probable) merely relieve my curiousity and send me before God to examine my conscience? No, it would be added justification that my desire not to listen would be confirmed.

Anonymous accusation is a test of our humility. This is no institutional trial before our peers (they would need to prove the claim) but a trial of our souls before our selves (for we can know, without awaiting the formalities of trial, the proof).

We must not wait until our madness is restrained by a speaking ass.


Wolfgang Foxglove said...

This post would have been some use on blog and mayblog as of yesterday.

A question though: Are we as Christians to investigate alleged crimes perpetrated in our own midst the same way that the feds would look into illegal activities on the word of an informant? In other words, is it necessarily a
one to one correspondence?



Wolfgang Foxglove said...

Sorry, I should have said, "sins" rather than "crimes" in my last post.

The Oracle said...

Primarily I was addressing personal sins using the metaphor of the cops. To the degree or not I need to be truly an investigator of Christian community sins is the degree to which I am a pastor or, on the other end of the spectrum, a gossip.

The Anti-Darwin said...

If not for pride, an enormous amount of time and energy could be expended for the good of The Kingdom. Instead, justly or unjustly accused Christians endeavor to evade justice or injustice through a multitude of explanations as more and more Christians, or not, join either the accused or the accuser(s). Of course, each participant of the embarrassing display will probably claim the right to participate, but we would probably be much better off to learn how to mind our own business. Oh, it is your business, you say? Well, then. Excuse me.

The Oracle said...

I agree, Anti. We can either stop such in its tracks by 1] being quiet rather than defensive or 2] agreeing with our detractors that we do need to examine our souls.

Psmith said...

While I am not a warpath ex-CCer; I've often wondered about the venom directed towards the anonymous accuser. In my life many of the most valuable rebukes I've endured were from people who didn't have the fortitude to confront me in person. What they said was no less pertinent to my sanctification. While I certainly cherish the friends that do confront me; I still try to at least ask whether or not an anonymous accusation has merit or not.