Saturday, August 19, 2006
The Nasty Bits
...but then you started to find out about the Nasty Bits. You know, stuff like spam, viruses, spyware, phishing scams, etc.. Too bad that you got your education almost as soon as you hooked your PC up to its first modem, because it sure was a big hassle to reinstall everything from the ground up to get rid of that virus. Having learned that lesson, you went out and put anti-virus software on your PC, and that worked alright until you let the anti-virus signature subscription lapse, reopening the door to all sorts of new viruses. Next, you got that email from eBay that informed you that your account information needed verification. It directed you to visit a Web page that then prompted you for stuff such as your credit card number. Too bad that it wasn't eBay that sent you that email, but a nasty impersonator who'd just managed to trick you into handing over the keys to your credit line. Through these and other experiences, you've learned that the Internet is a lot like a rose bush: lots of pretty flowers, but oh those thorns!
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And now, back to our program...
Sorry about the commercial interruption, but that's the price I pay for using a free blogging service. :-) Come to think of it, though, isn't The Wonder Drug a good example of an item that seems to have so many advantages BUT is chock-full of Nasty Bits that may shorten your life by years? What a pity that the thousands of (usually young) people who take up smoking every day are ignorant of the severity of the negative side-effects of their beloved habit?
Dear reader, the problem before us goes far beyond the inconvenient (Internet viruses, etc.) and the unhealthy (cigarette smoking). As a matter of fact, today's evangelical church is rife with teachings and movements that promise all sorts of wonderful benefits.
For instance, Rick Warren's Purpose-Driven movement promises both personal fulfillment and radical church growth. If half of what he promises is true, who wouldn't want to hop on his bandwagon? But what about the Nasty Bits? What about the formerly gospel-preaching churches that find themselves torn in two when the PDL program is introduced? What about the countless souls who attend PDL churches and assume that they are Christians because they made a decision, walked an aisle, or prayed a prayer? What of the compromises that are made to the clear and forthright preaching of the Gospel in order to not offend the seekers? Warren and his collegues obviously won't make mention of these Nasty Bits, but yet it's becoming all too obvious that evangelical movements such as PDL aren't as wonderfully peachy-keen as they claim to be.
So, let us beware of Wonder Drugs that promise nothing but good. Any product worth using or movement worth following will come with a frank admission of the difficult stuff: the cost. A medicine will tell you the side effects you may encounter while using it, and in the Gospel itself we find Christ and the Apostles warning us that there is a price to pay for believing on and following Christ. Although the benefits of The Wonder Drug aren't sufficient to outweigh its Nasty Bits, the side effects of many legitimate medications are worth enduring in order to reap the benefits they provide. Likewise, the Gospel is well worth following even though you and I are going to have to take up our respective crosses. To our sinful flesh, the Nasty Bits of the Gospel--denial of self, etc.--utterly pale in comparison to the innumerable benefits of that wonderful message. Whereas the Nasty Bits of the Internet require diligent caution and those of The Wonder Drug arguably warrant total abstinence, the thorns amidst the roses of the Gospel are well worth the pain and suffering they will inevitably provoke.