A long time ago I wrote a post called “Why I’d Rather Not Blog.” It was actually an exercise in self-persuasion. I talked myself into thinking I had a few things to say that, in their own small way, might be of value in the scheme of things.
I haven’t lost faith in my expressive capabilities or the worth of my observations but I have learned a thing or two. The first is never doubt Jesus. Nobody knows what they’re talking about like Jesus. Sometimes it’s downright shocking how a look at a passage I’ve been reading for over fifty years can deliver fresh, slap-in-the-face clarity and put the world back in order.
The second thing I’ve learned is that I shouldn’t be surprised at surprising things, especially when they’re the very things Jesus tells us to expect. Hence the title of this piece and its reference to this often quoted, rarely comprehended gem from the creator of all things:
“…neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.”
The trampling part is pretty simple. We’ve all had our beautiful, well-intended words ignored or even maligned without due consideration by ignorers and maligners. Chances are we’ve all done a little of that ourselves.
That “rending” part, though… That never made sense to me. What would incense pigs so much that they’d want to rip a guy to shreds just for dropping a few pearls on the ground? Why would they bother?
Jesus doesn’t tell us why. He just says they do it so be wise and don’t waste your time and His Word. Don’t risk the damage when the intentions of the pigs are clear. Obeying the great commission, bearing witness, inviting people to “come, let us reason together” doesn’t necessarily mean throwing God’s word around indiscriminately. We’re not obligated to dangle red flags in front of bulls, especially when they declare their hatred of our Lord over and over again. Not misunderstanding. Not correctable misconceptions or sincerely held divergent beliefs. Hatred, blind, stupid and vicious.
I’m convinced the internet is built with highly sophisticated distortion filters that take the simplest, most easily comprehended pieces of logic and convert them into zombie-arousing dog whistles to anyone whose views aren’t absolutely indistinguishable from my own. I mean, it must be so. How else can you explain the many times I have stated that the sky is blue and been savaged for being a flame-throwing, Bible-thumping flat Earther who insists the sky is orange? What reason could there be for taking thoroughly innocuous words as cues to assassinate my character while trumpeting your moral and intellectual superiority, a self-assessment based solely on hating the right people?
I’ve been reading Jaron Lanier’s “You Are Not a Gadget.” Must reading in our digitally benighted age. One thing that comes through loud and clear is the hope that early net visionaries had for a world-wide architecture that would give everyone a voice, opportunity for free expression and access to all the best qualities of human kind. There are a lot of reasons why it hasn’t worked out that way but the wisdom of Jesus can’t be left out of the equation. There are those among us who will not be reasoned with no matter how graciously or persuasively we speak or how advanced and shiny the media through which we express ourselves. We are powerless to do anything but give them targets. Our words mean nothing to them.
The spoken word has no power. None. The only words that matter are the ones that are heard and swine aren’t known for listening.