Don’t [think/read/watch] this!

by MW Cook

Okay, so I’m cruising around the net and I come across this video (I tried to embed it but it didn’t take…)

I thought to myself, ‘Ah! Mohler! I’ve heard of him. He’s a Southern Baptist and he did that Together For The Gospel thing I’ve heard good things about, so I’ll watch this video!’

Watch it if you want, but it’s a very painful hour long. I made it about 15 minutes before I had to turn it off.

It’s a panel discussion, which sounds cool. All eyes are up front. What deep issue are they talking about? What encouraging truth are they opening their minds and mouths to grant to us?

Brian McLaren is serpentine child of the devil and going to hell (35:49). He’s written a book that’s disgusting and laughably silly (13:42).

Now, I’ve heard of this McLaren guy before. I don’t really know anything about him (other than that he’s very, very baaaaad). So when I come across a video like this my first reaction is, ‘Wow. I need to read this book they’re ripping apart!’

I had heard of the book. I think Driscoll said bad things about it. So I bought it. Don’t tell anyone, but it seems like a decent book (go check it out). It’s a novel, and the worst criticism I could come up with (and I tried really hard to criticize it) was that the characters were two-dimensional and I was pretty sure the author wrote himself as the sly Jamaican (but who wouldn’t want to be a sly Jamaican, really?)

It was so decent, I thought, that I couldn’t understand why there was such a to-do about it. So I checked out the video again.

It turns out, the video is about ‘A New Kind Of Christianity.’ I, unfortunately, bought ‘A New Kind Of Christian.’ Tee hee. Oops. Wrong book. So I actually don’t know a thing about the book they are criticizing (yet).

So I guess I shouldn’t really be saying anything. I guess the book they are talking about could very well be just as evil as they say it is. And maybe it is worth filling an hour over.

Now, I understand that people feel the need to debate. Of course! Why not? If a famous guy writes a book and you disagree with it, you ought to talk about that. But why do we need to be such jerks about it? Why fill a church for a hour to talk about it? And, most importantly, why oh why can’t you actually deal with his claims instead of calling him liberal and post-modern and all the other buzzwords that we associate with ‘bad?’ When McLaren calls the Flood genocide (15:39), why can’t you explain that it wasn’t (if it wasn’t)? When you say that his book is against the Bible (33:25) can you tell me how it is against the Bible? Or maybe I should just take your word for it.

I like book reviews. I go by them all the time. But I can’t go by this one because I feel like they are spending most of their time mocking the book (and its writer/readers) instead of deconstructing it. It was as if they were hired to judge a new piece of technology and, instead of talking about the in and outs of it, they just called it stupid with different adjectives for an hour.

But, again, I haven’t read the thing (nor have I finished the video. An hour of criticism takes a lot out of you). So I shouldn’t be saying anything at all, should I?

Of course, most people (like me) who criticize the Emergent Conversation haven’t read any books written by people who are actually part of that conversation. Most people (like me) have just listened to Mohler and Driscoll and come to accept what they think about the movement. Does anyone else find this a little dishonest?

It reminds me about when I was in KLBC and I attacked The Prayer of Jabez without reading it. Sorry Bruce, I shouldn’t have done that. And McLaren, I’ll read your stuff before I say anything bad about you. And even after I read it, I’ll try to be nice.