efore you read another word here, I have two disclaimers to make about this post which, if you ignore them, you do so at your own peril. Pay attention to the disclaimers before you read the rest of this post:
 Love that Doug Wilson. That’s not sarcasm: that’s honest-to-pete admiration. If there’s one guy who can use a word like a mosquito and fly it into your ear for the sake of getting your attention, and then make a point that will require you to use a flashlight and a Q-Tip to remove it from the inside of your skull, it’s the pastor of Christ Kirk in Moscow, ID. Love ‘im. He’s the Mark Steyn of the theological blogosphere.
 I have read, and am now re-reading Peter Leithart’s Against Christianity, and I recommend it. Even with what I’m about to say in this post, I think anyone who wants to have a well-formed understanding of the many ways in which the American church today can and should be criticized, Leithart’s book is a sort of lexicon of complaints made from the contrarian view that everything we know is wrong. I have loved that phrase ever since I first heard the Firesign Theater use it in the album (big, round plastic thing that used to be used to play music) of the same name, and though Leithart never uses it, it’s between every other line in the book.
Whew. OK: there are no hard feelings for me or from me toward these two men in spite of the fact that I am about to complain about them both.
Fellas: use an outline. Maybe a coupla seniors from NSA or something. But the next time you write a book on a topic as critical and as necessary as the failings of the contemporary church, refrain from using the stream-of-consciousness methodology found in Against Christianity.
You know: you are right. Churchiology and churchiness and church-opoly are the pits. It completely caves in on all the things the church ought to be good at and ought to be doing to bring on the Kingdom through the Gospel. But if you’re going to deliver that message to the people who need to hear it most – which, by the way, are probably not guys like the popular heroes of the TR blogosphere, or even the characters at the variously church-Latin-named blogs one might encounter, but are in fact the stodgy pastors of mid-sized megachurches of the FBC and FPC brand name – you need to write in a way they will bother to read.
Isn’t that ironic? A member of teamPyro is here posting about relevance to the members of teamCanonPress. Leithart’s book ought to give every conventional pastor in America a black eye, but because none of them will bother to wade through its extraordinarily-stylized prose – you know: it’s not even written in CT essay-sized bites but in “what occurred to me now” blocks of text – you have fired off a devastating left-hook knockout punch at your own shadow rather than at the head of the guy standing in the other corner.
A couple of weeks ago, I raved about David Wells’ Above all Earthly Pow’rs -- but pointed out to a few people that it’s not for everyone because it’s like an encyclopedia of what’s wrong with evangelidom today. It’s thick with documentation and evidence piled on evidence until the conclusions Prof. Wells makes are so incontrovertible that one has to be either heavily invested or heavily medicated to want to try to put up a fight. This book ought to have been exactly the same kind of thing – theologically if not anecdotally -- but it jumps all over the place and never really delivers the coup de grâce.
So my complaint is that you (Pastor Leithart) almost wrote a great book here – it’s definitely worth reading, and I recommend it. But both of you (Wilson and Leithart) need to get out more. If you know what the disease is (I think you do, even if you’d frame it differently than I do), and if you have some pow’rful medicine with which to fix it up (and from a Presbyterian view point, I think you do – even if you guys like Sanders and Dunn), you have to deliver it to the sick people in a way which it’ll get after what ails them. You can’t put it in an inhaler when you can’t make the patient open his mouth, and you can’t put it in an I-V if the patient won’t lie still. You solution should be less-elegant and more functional – and I have a suggestion, but to express it in the medical metaphor will bring on the wrath of the homeschool moms and the language prudes from IP addresses in parts-unknown.
But I’m sure you are both bright enough to get my point. We have a problem in the church which involves the fact that we are sitting on our brains theologically. Putting the medicine in a fancy hat puts the medicine on the wrong end of the problem.
And what I really wanted to blog about today was the Catalyst podcast – which is a product of John Maxwell’s NJOY ministries – because Rick Warren was just the featured catalyst interview, but I didn’t get to it. Eventually, I will get to it.
No, I am not really on a fishing trip. And obviously, I’m not completely detached from the internet. But so far my blog vacation has worked out pretty nicely.
Also important: the t-shirt contest is getting more votes -- and we have had our first purchases from someone who didn't find the site from TeamPyro yesterday. For those who can't wait for the results, as of today the leader by a long-shot is Martyn Lloyd Jones. Like by triple the nearest competitor -- so if we're really a bunch of cessationists, we had better start buying some shirts by somebody who thinks the Gifts have ceased.
Thanks for asking.