I remember how shocked I felt several years ago when a friend of mine talked about the spirit of a passage in the Bible as opposed to only the words. Could a person actually do that? Wasn't that dangerous? Wouldn't it lead into error? It was a totally new concept to me. Imagine sifting the Word for the Spirit of it all. Scary (and scarry) stuff. You have to read great chunks of it to get a glimpse of the Spirit of it all. A snippet here and there just won't do it.
I was reminded of all this as I was reading the recent posts and comments at both the Boar's Head Tavern and the Internet Monk. Knee jerk reactions to only the words and no room for the spirit in it all is what I see happening. Snippets read here and there will not do it here either. And how we all long to have people get to know us well enough so that they can read between the lines of what we say and see our spirits.
I've read these two sites for several years now. It may be an illusion but after a while a person thinks they might know the posters just a bit. Be able to predict the kinds of posts and comments they will make. What impresses me is the spirit in which it is all done. Controversies abound. Differences of opinions. It doesn't detract from the unity of spirit. Yes, there's occasional slap up the side of the head. Some days I imagine I hear "what a jerk" whispered under someone's breath but done only by people who know they also look in the mirror and say the same thing. Some days in my imagination I see a dimly lit pub with the clinking of glasses and an occasional "here, here" being proclaimed. I watch as one of them leaves the pub. The rest may talk yet they truly wish each other well. More than the need to prove a point is the desire to get the point of it all.
Who would have thought you could find the church in a pub? Not in my reality. But to see it you have to be willing to discern the Spirit in it all.