Skip to main content

In Defense of Plagiarism

In recent days the evangelical internet (now there is a silly concept) has been in an uproar about the issue of plagiarism.

First, Mark Driscoll came under fire for apparently using massive amounts of other people's material without properly citing them. In some cases his books allegedly borrowed virtually word for word from other sources. I've not investigated these claims. If they are true, it's wrong.

More recently, a young female blogger reposted the writing by Rachel Held Evans, claiming it as her own. It's pretty clear that she copied and pasted with minimal changes. To her credit, the young lady apologized after being called out for her indiscretion.

Plagiarism is bad. I get it. It's theft. It's false. It's selfish. At times, it negatively impacts the ability of some to earn their livelihood.

I've heard preachers use my words and my thoughts as if they were their own. It made me angry. I had worked hard to formulate those thoughts. I had labored over those words. I wanted the credit for those thoughts. It was my right to protect my intellectual property.


But what about this? It's not apples to apples, but Paul knew about some guys who were preaching the Gospel out of false motives. They were teaching in a way that placed him in a bad light. They were using their platform to harm him.

He didn't care. As long as Gods truth was getting out, he didn't care.

Another time, some Christians were arguing about which church leader was best. Was it Paul with his dizzying logic or was it Apollos with his soaring oratory? Paul didn't care. He didn't care who got credit for the Gospel success. It wasn't he or Apollos that was doing the work, anyway. It was God.

And that's the thing.

Those words of mine that get borrowed... They aren't really mine.

That article of yours that got stolen... It's not really yours.

Those thoughts of that one guy that got pirated... They aren't really his.

If it's true, it belongs to God. All truth is His. He just lends it to us to steward. And if someone hears Gods truth from me, and then passes it off to someone else... Awesome.

And if I don't get credit, that'll be okay.

I think that's what Christ would want. I think he wants me to give up my rights rather than fight for them. I think he wants me to seek his fame, not mine. I think he would rather me be generous and gracious than tight-fisted.

I know it's more complicated than this. I don't think you should copy my work and claim it as your own. But, ultimately, that's on you... And if it does the kingdom good, well then good for me.

Popular posts from this blog

How I'm Going To End the Creation - Evolution Debate

You may or may not be aware that coffee has a very quick “mold-creation” rate.  If you leave a cup of coffee sitting out for too long, it will quickly begin to develop mold spores.  In fact, I would imagine, that in just a week or two a mug of coffee would develop a bog-like surface if left alone. Therefore. I’m placing a full mug of coffee in a secluded room where it will be undisturbed.  I’m also leaving instructions in my will that in 100 years, my grandchildren are to go into that room and document the lives of all the mold creatures that have come to life. That’ll show those silly creationists.

The Inability of Metaphors and Similes to Describe the Church

The difference between a metaphor and a simile is the word "like."   (that's perhaps overly simplistic, but useful: Metaphor: You're a Dog. Simile: You're like a Dog. Of course, neither a metaphor nor a simile really does a good job of  proclaiming reality: You aren't a Dog. Often times, Jesus and His friends used metaphors and similes to  describe the church. Some of them would be: The church is (like a) house The church is (like a) family The church is (like a) body The church is (like a) temple All of these are useful for helping us understand some nature or  function of the church, but none of them are terribly effective as a  comprehensive description of the reality of the church: The church is not a house The church is not a family The church is not a body The church is not a temple The church is the church. It is completely different than any other  organism/organization known to man. It is a spiritually-joined,  mis

I Shall Have My Revenge

I shall have my revenge I'm not sure I have the quote exactly right, but in the movie Gladiator , Russell Crowe's character says something to the effect of, "I am husband to a murdered wife, father to a murdered son and I shall have my revenge in this life or the next. " I am typically not a big fan of vengeance. It's not usually a wise course of action. However, yesterday this quote came to mind while I was delivering some money to a friend (wisdom side note: never loan money to a friend. Give it to them. If they pay you back, you still have your money but if they don't you still ave your friend ). I thought to myself, "the person who is giving this gift isn't expecting to be paid back, but they will be… In this life or the next. In This Life or the Next Sometimes we live as if we only believe in this life. We make no provisions or plans for the next life. Sometimes we are so focused on taking care of ourselves