Random Thoughts for The Weekend

Image result for james k a smith augustine

1. My first thought about the Coronavirus – which I truly know next to nothing about – is this: “Do not worry about your life…seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.” I do not blame those who seek ways to protect themselves. Only seek his kingdom and righteousness with the same determination. Or more.

2. It was not easy being without glasses or any corrective lenses for about 10 days. It was like a disability, though slight. But I learned to slow down a little. “I cannot do that,” was a refrain. Walking was not even always easy. But it felt like a gift I was glad to give back.

3. The newscasts and news sites are calculated to make you worry and be afraid. The Scriptures are calculated to make you unafraid. Ignore the former and feast on the latter.

4. “How can I love them well?” should be the question I am trying to answer when dealing with my kids (at home and at school) when they have done something wrong. But often it is the question I am trying to answer after I have showed them I am angry and neither of us liked what we saw.

5. It is good to look at, listen to, or taste something beautiful, knowing it comes from God.

6. I recently ate pizza seven days in a row, so I kinda know what it’s like to realize your dream and wonder what to do now.

7. In God’s providence I am just now discovering St. Augustine’s life and writings, thanks to James K.A. Smith’s newest book, which I strongly recommend. Both the life and the writings are all at once convicting and encouraging. Nothing helps you along the road away from sectarian thinking more than the Church Fathers.

8. Not knowing what everyone is angry about is the best thing about not paying attention to social media.

9. Asking for forgiveness will make you feel terribly good.

10. Loving and respecting the people you work with, these fellow teachers in the trenches, is an incalculable gift.

An Apology to Jonathan Merritt

Image result for augustine the city of God

I have not been on Facebook or Twitter for about 5 or 6 weeks. This has been good for me for a number of reasons. Not the least of which is you get a good look at yourself as opposed to your online self. Sure, there are overlaps. But while being offline, as it were, I caught a glimpse of the Matt Redmond I knew before the world of social media. Before I was known by the world of social media. And I gotta be honest. I liked that version of me a lot better.

I was a less angry person. More thoughtful. More joyous. And less likely to argue with people I barely know, if at all. I also had a glorious cluelessnes about what everyone is upset about on any given day.

Not long before my exit, I got into a small kerkuffle with Jonathan Merritt. What is so sad is that I do not even remember what he said or what I said in return. But I am pretty sure I subtweeted him with a “Jesus juke.” It was not the first time I’ve done it.  But here’s the thing, what is telling is that I knew it was wrong for me to do. Not necessarily due to the substance of his or my argument. Honestly, those are fairly irrelevant.

The problem is I did not respond with love. My faith was working itself out with an online fist and not love.

I’ve been reading a lot of Augustine lately and about him. In Garry Wills’s small biography, he says…

“Augustine is, as usual, reorienting classical thought, which based society on justice. Augustine early on calls Cicero’s definition of a polity (civitas) mistaken. Cicero, like Plato before him, based society on its member’s joint recognition of what is just (juris consensu, 2.21). Augustine bases society on a social agreement on “things one loves” (rerum quas diligit, 19.24). We see once again that Augustine gives primacy to the will, not the intellect, to love, not to theories of justice.

I wish I had responded with love. Or because of love, just not responded at all.

So I would like to apologize to Jonathan Merritt. But the problem is, after repeated attempts, Twitter will not let me log in. When I stepped away from social media, I had my wife set up passwords for my accounts.  And for some reason we cannot get into Twitter. Even when we attempt to reset the password it puts us in am endless loop telling us the password has been reset and then asking us to set the password. It is a thorn I am somehow thankful for.

So I need your help. I need someone to post this to twitter and tag me and Jonathan Merritt so he can read my apology.

Jonathan Merritt, if you are reading this… I was very unkind to you and not loving at all. I apologize and offer no excuses. Please forgive me.