Friday, February 18, 2005


My blog isn't a site for tearing down public figures or casting my opinions on church or political matters. OK, not most of the time anyway. So I apologize upfront for possibly doing what I'm charging by taking the time to write and post today.

I must confess: I listen to the Albert Mohler program almost every afternoon during my drive home from work. It's quite like watching a train wreck: I'm pretty sure he's going to be talking about the failings of culture and of the Christian church to address those failings and we're all going to suffer from the catastrophic... whew. There is a build-up against things, but not a subsequent build-up for anything positive, in most cases anyway. I listen because I'm going to be offended, because I'm going to find myself self-righteously indignant over his name-calling and stereotyping, because I really feel sorry for someone who so readily has all the answers but who doesn't know there are other questions being asked besides, "who's against us as Christians now?".

Case in point: last Tuesday's broadcast, "What Are the Great Issues Facing the Church Today?" (02/08/2005, mp3 available here). He and his guest Dr. Daniel Akin spoke on what is happening against the church, focusing mainly on "the emergent church" as a problem to be addressed and avoided. No names are mentioned; no books or authors or pastors or churches are spoken of specifically. The only thing really accomplished was the use of "the emergent church" in pejorative and generalized terms over and over and over again. What happens next? With all the labelling going on from Mohler and others, if someone actually hears a speaker or a book from a "the emergent church", there is an automatic repulsive reflex that shuts down the paths of communication, isn't there? By "being fair and not naming names" (I'm the last caller on the mp3, and I asked for some sources, politely wanting to know who he was basing this on), he's attacked the whole thing without leaving open any arena for dialogue.

He has now named names, this week publishing a review of Brian McLaren's a Generous Orthodoxy. I've read the book, I've reviewed the book, and read Mohler's review, and I've got one big question: did we read the same book? Again, he has pieced together phrases from the text, added his own distaste more than real insight - it really makes me sad that someone takes more stock in "being proven right" than in living rightly in relationship to others. I do not need to defend McLaren, and there are parts of his book/s that are lacking and possibly offensive to me, but I hope I'm more open to the discussion without having to tear apart my opponents. I'm not going to couch my opinions in the midst of negative words and hurtful rhetoric.

"Love your enemies" and "if you're not for Me, you're against Me" came from the same Savior. Looking for who's against us as Christians is not the way to live life. More often than not, we should be looking for ways to engage those who are against us so that we can live out the desire to be for them.

[following links from Andrew Jones to Rick Bennett and beyond]


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