Well, the internet is a strange place. With all the enthusiasm for and against Jeff Bethke’s viral video and now all the enthusiasm for and against my critique, it may seem like all we have here is sound and fury signifying nothing. Maybe another Bellesque brouhaha in the making.

But sometimes good things happen on the internet, even in exchanges like this. Jeff sent me an email yesterday afternoon and we exchanged several emails since then. I have his permission to post parts of that exchange.

This was his first email to me:

I just wanted to say I really appreciate your article man. It hit me hard. I’ll even be honest and say I agree 100%. God has been working with me in the last 6 months on loving Jesus AND loving his church. For the first few years of walking with Jesus (started in ’08) I had a warped/poor paradigm of the church and it didn’t build up, unify, or glorify His wife (the Bride). If I can be brutally honest I didn’t think this video would get much over a couple thousand views maybe, and because of that, my points/theology wasn’t as air-tight as I would’ve liked. If I redid the video tomorrow, I’d keep the overall message, but would articulate, elaborate, and expand on the parts where my words and delivery were chosen poorly… My prayer is my generation would represent Christ faithfully and not swing to the other spectrum….thankful for your words and more importantly thankful for your tone and fatherly like grace on me as my elder. Humbled. Blessed. Thankful for painful growth. Blessings.

Grace and Peace,

Jeff

I wrote this in reply:

Thanks for your email. It confirms my impression of you—humble, sincere, a real love for God and the gospel. I can’t remember ever receiving such a teachable response to criticism. I’m grateful for you and your courage in taking time to write me a note. Really grateful.

I know that criticism can be hard. You are probably getting it from right, left, and center, from Christians and non-Christians. I’m sure you are getting a lot of affirmation too, and that presents its own challenges. I tried to my write my post as a friend, not as a hater. I am rooting for you, not against you. I wanted to approach this like Acts 18:26. Thank you for receiving it in that spirit….

What can I do to help you? Have you thought about posting a clarifying follow up to the video? Or maybe writing something on “what I wish I had said differently?” It could be a powerful example of the things you were talking about to come back and say, “Hey, I didn’t get everything right here. I don’t want people to take this in the wrong direction.” Do you want me to post some of your email to me on my blog so people can see your heart in this? Let me know if there is something I can do.

Your friend,

Kevin

Later Jeff wrote me back. This is part of his reply:

Wasn’t expecting such a quick response. I appreciate you a ton, and your words really hit home…My biggest fear is that I will say something and it will be out on the internet forever. But already quickly learning all praise goes to Jesus, and same with critique…Feel free to share parts of my email on the blog if you’d like! The tone is already gracious enough but it’d be cool to show that we have had some correspondence and it’d mean a lot.

The actual emails were longer, but these excerpts give you a feel for the tone. I’m immensely grateful for Jeff’s response and feel like I’ve made a new friend in this process. We talked on the phone this morning and had a chance to get to know each other better. We talked about the wonders and trials of the internet and the difficulty in receiving praise and criticism. We both talked about what we could have done differently in retrospect.

A friend wrote to me yesterday and said, “This is a good test for both Jefferson and for yourself. Is he the kind of guy who would be willing to write a critic with humility? And did you write the piece in such a way that the one being criticized would feel comfortable chatting with you?” I hope we are passing that test. Through the years I haven’t always aced this kind of exam.

I hope everyone reading this blog will share Jeff’s heart and mine for getting the gospel out as far as we can and as right as we can. I look forward to seeing Jeff’s next video.

Print Friendly
View Comments

Comments:


435 thoughts on “Following Up on the Jesus/Religion Video”

  1. DAVID says:

    Mike, you do no service to your position when criticizing me with lies and using zero to back up your finger pointing. Grow up and learn.
    Tata, for now!

  2. Chris says:

    Hi Pastor DeYoung,
    thank you for defending the faith through your great article. I’m glad to see that Jefferson had the humility to admit that he was wrong, saying, “I’ll even be honest and say I agree 100%.” However, I was wondering why over a year later he still has the video posted on Youtube. Furthermore, Jefferson wrote that if he redid the video, he would expand on some parts but would keep the overall message. So i’m not sure what to make of his 100% agreement.

  3. We absolutely love your blog and find nearly all of your post’s to be just what I’m
    looking for. Do you offer guest writers to write content in your
    case? I wouldn’t mind producing a post or elaborating on some of the subjects you write
    concerning here. Again, awesome weblog!

  4. We stumbled over here from a different website and thought I
    might as well check things out. I like what I see so
    now i am following you. Look forward to going over your web page
    repeatedly.

  5. Holley says:

    Nice answers in return of this difficulty with firm arguments and telling everything concerning that.

  6. google says:

    Just desire to say your article is as astounding.
    The clarity in your post is simply cool and i could assume you’re an expert on this subject.
    Well with your permission allow me to grab your feed to keep up to date with forthcoming post.
    Thanks a million and please continue the rewarding work.

    Here is my site: google

  7. If you desire to increase your experience just keep visiting
    this site and be updated with the latest gossip posted here.

  8. It’s actually a cool and useful piece of info.
    I’m satisfied that you just shared this useful information with us.
    Please keep us informed like this. Thank you
    for sharing.

    Feel free to visit my page Funny Youtube Animal Video

  9. hello there and thank you for your information – I have certainly
    picked up anything new from right here. I did however expertise several technical issues using this site, as I experienced to reload the site many times previous to I could get it to load correctly.
    I had been wondering if your web host is OK?
    Not that I am complaining, but slow loading instances times
    will sometimes affect your placement in google and could
    damage your quality score if ads and marketing with Adwords.
    Well I’m adding this RSS to my email and can look out for much more
    of your respective exciting content. Ensure that you update this again very soon.

    my website – how unlock phone

  10. I pay a visit day-to-day some websites and blogs to read
    posts, except this website gives feature based writing.

  11. I am really enjoying the theme/design of your web site.
    Do you ever run into any browser compatibility issues?

    A number of my blog audience have complained about my website not operating correctly
    in Explorer but looks great in Opera. Do you have
    any solutions to help fix this issue?

  12. With havin so much written content do you ever
    run into any problems of plagorism or copyright infringement?
    My website has a lot of exclusive content I’ve either written myself
    or outsourced but it appears a lot of it is popping it up all over the internet without my
    permission. Do you know any methods to help protect against
    content from being stolen? I’d certainly appreciate it.

    Here is my web page … מנעולן בתל אביב מחיר

  13. Beatris says:

    Lush plantations rise from the sea and sweep the entire state in verdant glory.

    For accommodations at the Fairmont Hotel at Millennium Park, go here.

    The Phoenix area, in my opinion is the greatest winter golfing destination in the US.

  14. An interesting discussion is definitely worth
    comment. I do believe that you should write more on this topic, it might not be a taboo subject but generally people don’t
    discuss such topics. To the next! Best wishes!!

  15. Excellent beat ! I would like to apprentice while you amend your site, how can i subscribe for a blog site?
    The account aided me a acceptable deal. I had been a little bit acquainted of
    this your broadcast offered bright clear idea

  16. Today, while I was at work, my cousin stole my iphone
    and tested to see if it can survive a 25 foot drop, just
    so she can be a youtube sensation. My apple ipad is now broken and she has 83
    views. I know this is entirely off topic but I had to share it with someone!

  17. Je peux te dire que сe n’est guère ijexact
    ..

    Ѵіsit my weЬ-site … http://www.godemiche.sx/

  18. Hi there very cool blog!! Guy .. Excellent ..

    Amazing .. I’ll bookmark your site and take the feeds additionally?

    I am happy to seek out a lot of useful info here in the
    submit, we’d like develop more techniques in this regard,
    thanks for sharing. . . . . .

  19. What’s up, this weekend is fastidious for me, because this time
    i am reading this impressive informative article here at my residence.

    my website activity tracker watch

  20. WP Hosting says:

    Hey there superb blog! Does runnibg a blog similar to
    this require a lot of work? I’ve absolutely no understanding of programming but I had been hoping to start my
    own blog soon. Anyway, should you have any suggestions or
    tips for new blog owners please share. I know this is off subject however I just
    needed to ask. Thank you!

    Feel free to visit mmy site … WP Hosting

  21. Enriqueta says:

    Hi there, just became aware of your blog through Google,
    and found that it’s really informative. I am going to watch
    out for brussels. I will appreciate if you continue this in future.
    A lot of people will be benefited from your writing.

    Cheers!

  22. This website was… how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I’ve found
    something which helped me. Appreciate it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Kevin DeYoung


Kevin DeYoung is senior pastor of University Reformed Church (RCA) in East Lansing, Michigan, near Michigan State University. He and his wife Trisha have six young children. You can follow him on Twitter.

Kevin DeYoung's Books