The Lime Strategy

(if you are viewing this via email, the website has a recording of this poem and commentary; click the title above)


I don’t recall posting this piece before, probably because back in 2021, I would not have considered this poetry. But, who cares.

The idea came up in a conversation I had recently with one of my most brilliant friends. He was telling me how he had messed up when he participated in a book club at work. His purpose in joining the club was partly to foster relationships with coworkers so he could introduce them to Jesus.

The first three books they read were about racism. My friend welcomed insights he got from the first two. But the third book was written from a Marxist perspective.

I told my friend, “I read that book and could tell it was heavily influenced by Marxism. However, I welcomed the incisive criticisms and descriptions of white supremacist behavior. Without such keen criticism I might never see some of how I myself participate in that evil.

My friend responded (this is a paraphrase), “That’s exactly what I figured out later on. But in the short run I messed up by railing against the Marxist non-solutions.”

By focusing his energy on what was wrong in the book’s perspective, my friend shut down what could have been fruitful discussion with fellow book club members. Fighting a temporary enemy, he endangered eternal influence.

Getting this right isn’t easy. We live in a society where everything is made out to be a crucial battle in a desperate war. “Our guys” are always right and “their guys” are always wrong. We cannot be civil. There’s no compromise, no nuance. Rather than talking, we must throw grenades. At least that’s the model we live with.

Because he is humble in addition to being highly intelligent, my friend was able to see his error.

There were other topics in our conversation where I was thinking, “Oof! Let’s not go into detail there; I’m not sufficiently humble yet to acknowledge my need for growth in that area!” But at least there was that “Oof!” One can hope it’s the sound of a seed cracking. Maybe soon a root will emerge. Then a shoot. Then leaves….

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  1. Tangential comment: I was once accused of promoting Marxism because of a Bible study conference I was inviting women to go to.

    Marxism, of course, is atheistic to its core. The irony ran thick that day.

    1. Maybe your critics were reading Paul:
      “The commandments… are summed up in the one command, ‘Oppose Marxism.'”

  2. Ha! Perhaps.

    As it happens they were listening to a particular fellow who thinks the Gospel Coalition is a “woke” and Marxist organization.

    As if slander weren’t a sin.


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