23 February 2011

Open Letter to Esquire Magazine

by Frank Turk

Dear Esquire Magazine --

Y'all have a dirty little magazine. While I am actually not a prude, I understand why prudish people are the way they are -- some of them are actually appalled at the lure they feel toward the lurid, and some are hurt by the lurid details of other people's lack of dignity when it comes to things that are really much better when they are private. It is a principle you could consider for your own good, and the betterment of your "readers".

Now: I have't written you today to berate you about your high-class soft-core format. I'm writing because of something you did about a year and a half ago which just came across my e-mail, and I was wondering if you could help me get my arms around it. I want to grasp what you had in mind when you published this open letter by Shane Claiborne.

I get it, by the way, that Shane kinda peaked in 2009 after the "success" of Jesus for President and Becoming the Answer to our Prayers, and he was on a somewhat-perpetual mission of self-promotion at that time between all the time he was spending with the poor. So getting him to write an open letter "To all my nonbelieving, sort-of-believing, and used-to-be-believing friends" probably wasn't very hard. Zondervan probably helped him get the gig because that's what publishers do.

At this point, I'm sure someone else would want to take apart Shane's letter for all its broad and narrow mistakes -- and it has plenty. His reading of the parables of Jesus or of John 3 leave a considerable amount to be desired from a purely-Christian standpoint. I mean: these are Christian stories, and one hopes that when someone tells them they will at least get them right from a foundational point of view even if they then jump off them to some other use.

But I'll be honest: I think you guys did something out of character, and I'm trying to figure out why.

Here's the basic story of Shane's letter:
  • He's sorry that some Christians are so mean.
  • He's not one of those because Jesus is not one of those.
  • He loves you the way Jesus loves you.
  • Everyone jump up on the Peace Train. E-ya-Ee-ya-ooh-ah! Jesus says you don't have to be mean.
  • And God is not going to send anyone to Hell -- or at least we should hope so.
I'm willing to set aside the question of whether or not that's actually the Christian message, or even a Christian message, for the space of this letter for one reason only: I want to talk about why you would have any stake in giving this message, or anything like it, space in your magazine.

See: your magazine is about looking a certain way, looking at women a certain way, and thinking about things that, if you say them the right way, will get women to look at you a certain way. (cf. paragraph 1) There's not really the weight of ethical (let alone moral) bedrock under your magazine's periodical efforts. So to let Shane out of the box here with a message that says, in a very simple way, "don't be mean because God isn't mean," seems to scrub the fur of the hair of the dog the wrong way.

You guys couldn't care less about "mean". You probably enjoyed Shane making fun of the street preacher he witnessed while strolling in downtown Philly (ministering to the poor who were out on a date, I am sure), and enjoyed his shots at radio and TV messages by Christians, and the hackneyed Gandhi quote, but when he gets to the part about peace, patience, kindness, joy and love, did it strike any of you as somewhat ironic that one has to divert one's eyes from the link to "Women We Love Gallery" to read further? We can take it for granted that you didn't force anyone into sex slavery to fill that gallery, but is it really actually kind to pose women half-naked in order to drive traffic to your site and sell ad space in your magazine?

It's a living, I am sure, but is it actually any better than the fellow with the coffin and the mic Shane was so exercised over? At least the body that guy was treating like a sideshow attraction was a mock-up, and he wasn't rolling people for $18 for 33 issues of more of the same. Even if his method is a little impolite, his intention wasn't to make people more-likely to treat your daughter like a menu, or worse.

So why publish a letter from a guy like Shane Claiborne about how nice Christianity intends us to be? It seems to me that you could have had only one logical reason: you see his message as disposable. It runs in the same circle as the 10 essential truths of Men's Style, and your reading list which includes once-relevant items like Charles Bukowski's Women and Nick Tosches' Dino. Shane's idea of "nice" may offend the fundies and the TV evangelists, but it can't offend the libertine or the boozie hipster. In fact, it is marginally-admirable to them, an ideal which they can smell of and taste like a stick of gum which they hope will cover over the vaporous funk of what else they have been ingesting.

So all that said, I don't have a book to sell, and I don't have a hipster pretension to being some kind of post-medieval white rasta monk. I have a house in suburbia in the Bible belt, and I work a day job in renewable energy. I drive a decent silver sedan. My kids each have their own dogs, and I pay a mortgage. I am married to my one and only wife. But I have a series of 5 messages all about the length of Shane's, and they are about the problem that Christ poses for all kinds of people: conservatives, liberals, rich people, poor people, educated people, fashionable people, etc. If you're interested in more filler which will be even more edgy than Shane's letter, I'm game if you are.

Think about it, and as you do, also think about the kind of world we must live in where half-naked women and a message about being nice (not judgmental or even morally-refined) will co-exist without any raised eyebrows. That's a weird world to say the least, and your dirty little magazine has helped make it possible.

I hope you consider that good work, since it is your own. If not, perhaps we could talk about what good work looks like. I'd enjoy it, and I think you would, too.







107 comments:

Thomas Louw said...

No idée who this Shane guy is.
Never read an Esquire mag but, I read Shanes article.

You right in saying many things could be debated.

What got me is the realization that in a few years time my 7 month old daughter will be read like a menu.

I don’t know if I should cry or buy a gun.

Maybe both.

donsands said...

"It's a living, I am sure, but is it actually any better than the fellow with the coffin and the mic Shane was so exercised over?"

Excellent letter. Excellent point.

Shane is a decent guy, who needs to hear the Holy Scriptures in a less political way,and at the same time with more depth, and leave his shallow theology. He is way too much into politics/Christianity.

Joey Phillips said...

Let me be the first to reprimand you for the picture. Not because I am actually offended, but because I like being first.

Secondly, I would pay lots of money to see a Frank Turk article in Esquire.

Mark B. Hanson said...

I suspect the reason Esquire runs things like Shane's letter is to salve the consciences of their readers who have "judgmental" Christian friends. It allows them to dismiss the conviction that now and then comes upon them. And it keeps them looking at the pictures, and (most importantly!) buying the stuff advertised there.

DJP said...

You know, I find I look forward to each week's Open Letter from Frank as I've looked forward to a favorite TV show, except in this case it's invariably anticipation of something substantial and Gospelly.

Thanks, Frank. Keep on keeping on.

Rhology said...

Dang, I wish I could write like this.

Fred Butler said...

I'm sorry, Shane, but the Nathan Bedford Forrest goatee has gotta go.

Frank Turk said...

I admit I am jealous that Shane still has a head full of hair. What a waste that he wears it like that.

Frank Turk said...

BTW, this post was at 5-Stars until the 6th rating, so we know the haters have arrived. How a post which decries pornography, weak-willed spirituality, ideological consumerism and the trivialization of moral and ethical thinking can get one star from anyone -- even the editors of Esquire -- is only evidence that some of the people, all of the time, cannot find anything good in any situation they have not instigated.

Frank Turk said...

Also, that's Jessica Simpson shaving in the cover I linked here -- but you have to read the text behind her to get the joke.

Phil Johnson said...

Frank Turk: ". . . some kind of post-medieval white rasta monk. "

:-)

Frank Turk said...

Phil: it's my small contribution to your recovery.

Manalive said...

Frank, as a frequent Pyro reader, I want to say first that I really enjoy reading all the posts you guys put up. However, I'd like to ask, for the sake of your Christian brothers, that you avoid putting up pictures like that magazine cover.

While the picture may not actually "show" anything that can be labeled as porn, the intent of the cover is clearly to portray that message. My question to you would be, "How can you speak against what Esquire does in your post, yet lend them credence by showing a suggestive magazine cover?"

Joke or no, the cover has a crystal-clear potential (and even intent) to lead to lust in those who see it.

Whether you can look at and post that picture with a clear conscience is not really the issue. According to 1 Cor. 8:13, if it causes a brother to sin, it's wrong.

Please keep that in mind in future posts.

Mark B. Hanson said...

Manalive,

I am curious - did the picture cause you to sin - to lead you into lust - or is it just some theoretical guy you are concerned about? If you are the weaker brother here, Frank needs to take notice; if not, let that person step forward and plead for himself.

The "anonymous weaker brother" argument has been the cause of much of the legalism the church has had to work through and beyond in the last generation. It is not Paul's argument.

DJP said...

I can speak for Phil and Frank in saying we wouldn't want ever to post something truly salacious here. But if a shoulders-up picture of a woman fits in that category... well, "yikes" comes to mind. I truly mean no snark by that; but please do think about setting that as a standard.

Manalive said...

Hey guys,

Thanks for the replies. Let me say first that the picture does open a door to lust for me, and I'm sure for others.

Mark, I understand your point, and there are places I would completely agree. However, lust is such a widespread problem for many men, that any pictures like that should be posted only after a lot of careful consideration.

Dan, it's not necessarily what is shown in the picture, but what's implied. Ever seen a Hitchcock movie? That man could do more with implied actions than with showing actual murder. In the same way, I think it's very clear that Esquire meant the picture to imply that she was naked. Does that matter? Yep. A lot. My problem is not so much with what is on the magazine cover, but what Esquire was trying to do. Hope that explains it.

semijohn said...

As for the picture, I see Manalive's point. Maybe Frank can put a black bar over the bare shoulders or something. That would still get Frank's point across (Frank could make the point that there is nothing under the bar that is actually directly bad underneath). Frankly (no pun intended) the whole shaving thing kinda makes it seem weird and not lust inducing to me. But that's me.

On the actual article, I think I see Frank's point. But that's typical culture and business today. Play both sides (sort of) Or Fox. Particularly Fox, which has Fox News which plays in one direction, and the actual Fox network programming, which plays in another. Perhaps an open letter to Rupert would be a good sequel. Although I'm sure there's more actual separation between the two. But you don't have to be a media expert to know that Glenn Beck Dave Ramsey and Glee and Family Guy come from the same fountain. At least Esquire has never pretended to be coming from a place where it pretends to espouse actual Biblical Christian values.

Scooter said...

I read this article when it first came out. Looking at it again, it seems that Esquire did a magnificent job of transforming Shane into someone they can use to market to new readership. Those who want the sleaze but topped with some morality like a cherry on a sundae. They can pretend be "high-class" yet still be accepted in the mainstream of American society.

Finding a way to serve two master?

This is what I think about in between reviving 6-year-old laptops at work.

Rhology:
Dang, I wish I could write like this.

That makes 2 of us.

Frank:
I love the pics of your kids with the dogs, but if I look at them anymore I fear my next stop after work is the local SPCA. :)

Terry Rayburn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tom said...

Frank (not Zappa) writes:

"BTW, this post was at 5-Stars until the 6th rating, so we know the haters have arrived..."

Frank do you post here to get good ratings? If so, stop posting. If not, quit crying.

Love & Truth,

Tom

Frank Turk said...

manalive:

I receive your concern, and I think it is reasonably phrased. I disagree with it. There is nothing sexually-explicit about that magazine cover.

Frank Turk said...

Tom:

The ratings are just for reference as a poll of readers' reactions. The problem, of course, is that the haters usually drop a drive-by low rating and the people who liked it are only edified, and usually don't vote.

Just asking for people who are edified to vote, and we can see where it shakes out.

As for crying/whining, thanks for the laugh. I like it that pointing out what whiners and criers do is now qualified as crying and whining.

Into the shark tank with you.

Frank Turk said...

Terry:

she's obviously naked? To whom is that obvious?

Bverysharp said...

I guess I just dont get the open letter to a 'magazine'. It's a corporation.
If you were writing to a 'church' corporation I might get it due to the fact there might be some professing believers in the work of the corporation.
The magazine has one purpose which all corporations have 'counting money' for one sake or another.
Why rebuke what is already rebuked by it's intent? To profit from other's flesh interest.
The 'magazine' and anyone person that works for the 'magazine' can't be spiritual without being born from above. Why start with the oooze of thier sore when we should start with the cause of the sore? Lost people work for the 'magazine' and they need a clear presentation of the Gospel so God will prick and cut to the heart. Are they doing wrong? Yes... but how will they be cut to the heart without the presentation of the Gospel...? Unless I missed that important part?

Frank Turk said...

Terry:

she's obviously naked? To whom is that obvious?

Terry Rayburn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J♥Yce said...

We know the cover is provocative. Frank did crop it, me thinks from looking at Google images. For their 75th anniversary they "bait and switched" to lure readers while playing off another iconic cover from 1965 where Virna Lisi revealed "much less" ~ a cover that some "stars" wouldn't touch. Go figure. http://www.esquire.com/features/george-lois-0508 Consider the typical covers that year: http://www.esquire.com/cover-detail?year=1965&month=3 . 2011 finds many a folk...respected men-and-womenfolk "more desensitized" with all in the face these days? The words behind Jessica speak much. Fred MacMurray's My three Son's father character would have offered her his jacket rather than headline her privacy(immodesty). Welcome to this year.

Other than the rabbit trail, do find the letter spot on, Frank. Praying for you ~

semijohn said...

I think Manalive was arguing that the magazine cover is sexually implicit not explicit (I think that's gramatically correct).

DJP said...

That's some impressive research, Joyce. Seriously, I had no idea.

Not to position myself in the midst of a burgeoning snark-war, let me say three things:

I'm as vulnerable to eyegate issues as any man.

HSAT, honest as honest can be, all I thought was "Hunh, girl's shaving. Hunh. So, what'd Frank write?" Whoever it may be "obvious" to, it honestly wasn't to me. I think maybe the necklace helped me not think that way. Who knows? But I didn't.

HSAT, I have a thought:

Objectors have objected.
Frank has acknowledged
Frank isn't going to remove the picture

So could readers accept Frank's decision, and move on to talk about the contents of the post, exclusively?

Or just move on, until next time?

Said as nicely as I know how.

J♥Yce said...

Believe proceeding as you've suggested to be excellent advice, Dan. :-)

semijohn said...

Sounds good, Dan. And I won't proceed to object merely on the ground of the vapid nature of anything in the media concerning Jessica Simpson either.

Terry Rayburn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Frank Turk said...

BVerySharp -

I don't have anything to say to your comment which falls under the new guidelines we have here of neighborliness. Thanks for your comment, to which I disagree, and we'll see if there will be any posts this year you can find edifying.

Frank Turk said...

Terry --

Ok. I'm done.

The item is removed, and the weaker brother rules. May he live long and prosper.

Terry Rayburn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sir Brass said...

Thomas, you said, "I don’t know if I should cry or buy a gun.

Maybe both."

I can teach you to shoot ;).

Cathy Mickels said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Solameanie said...

SHANE! SHANE! COME BACK, SHANE! SHAAAANNNEE!

Herding Grasshoppers said...

an ideal which they can smell of and taste like a stick of gum which they hope will cover over the vaporous funk of what else they have been ingesting.

That sums it all up right there.

Great letter.

Julie

Frank Turk said...

I'm done talking about the Esquire cover. Next.

Josh said...

@Frank ...but the picture is THE MOST IMPORTANT PART of the letter.... lol

Now they're going to say that greying her out will just make them EVEN MORE tempted to see whats underneath... oh (weaker)brother...

BTW, excellent letter Frank!

Mr. Fosi said...

When I looked up the neomonasticism that Claiborne promotes what jumped to my mind was Luther's view of vocation and how God blesses our neighbors through us in the faithfulness of our "normal" lives.

This view changes the way that we view "good works" and "serving our neighbor" to include things that would otherwise be viewed as mundane. Who can deny that something as simple as a mother caring for her sick child is in fact a good work for her neighbor?

This seems to forcibly yank the rug out from under those who wish to put themselves under a man-made set of laws (though they don't call them that) such as the "12 Marks" laid out in the wikipedia article on New Monasticism: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Monasticism

I'm curious where our initial standing before God and the good news of what Jesus did for us fits into all this? Maybe theres a neomonk out there who can chime in.

Short Thoughts said...

That has to be one of the more unique and interesting query letters the magazine has ever received. Let us know when you're famous.

Shane Dodson said...

Well, since I arrived at this party late and cannot comment on a picture that no longer exists...I'd like to offer a few words about what Claibourne said about this street preacher because I am a street preacher. I don't make use of props (fake bodies or otherwise), but I'm well-acquainted with the grief that street preachers get (thanks to the abominable behavior of a publicity-hungry few).

I would love the opportunity of a Shane Claiborne jumping up on my box (if he could fit up there with me) and shout about God not being a "monster." Such a scene would probably draw a crowd, which helps more people to hear the gospel.

That being said, allow me to give you readers some encouragement regarding street preachers (as opposed to Mr. Claiborne's idea)...

Please pray for those who are out on the streets faithfully preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. And the next time you see a gentleman standing on a corner or in the middle of a crowded venue and speaking loudly about God, Jesus, heaven, hell, sin, judgment, etc...step in and listen to what he's saying if you can spare a few minutes. And if he is preaching the Biblical gospel, encourage him with a kind word and a handshake.

Forgive my off-topic momentary detour.

Thanks for reading!

Frank Turk said...

Josh:

Personally, I now feel like I have given jessica greater honor by covering her up (cf. 1 Cor 12).

SolaMommy said...

Lots of good stuff in this letter. I always enjoy reading these :-)

Jeff said...

I had no lustful thoughts until a reader objected to the picture. So please don't post your objection publicly because it produces lustful thoughts in people.

Frank Turk said...

I was just edified.

donsands said...

I remember Esquire as a younger adult, and thought it was simply, and mostly about men like Earnest Hemingway, Paul Newman, and Dean Martin etc. And it was a rather boring mag. And they were noted for the comic "strip", or drawings, they would share, and that these were a bit risque.

Now the whole mag is risque. Sad.

You know, I went to see Shane do his Jesus for President concert. For me, he is a shallow guy, who thinks he is doing what Jesus did. He did share that "yes, our sins need to be forgiven by the Cross", but it's way more than that.
I look at it totally the opposite.
The forgiveness is beyond comprehension, and it's what makes my heart fill with love for Christ.
Shane seems to have a more ideological gospel.
I did write to him as well, and he wrote me back on the back of a old piece of paper, which had typed words on the opposite side.
He's quite different. I would say he loves the Lord, but he lets politics get in his way.

S said...

You're criticizing a secular magazine for including a Christian voice? There are plenty of reasons to dislike Esquire, but their inclusion of content that isn't objectionable isn't one of them. If you dislike Shane's theology or his social message, then by all means confront those head-on, because as a Christian he should know better. But what have you accomplished by chastising a the non-Christian editors for selecting the "wrong" Christian voice for their magazine? How would they even know who best to choose to represent orthodoxy?

Criticize the magazine for its content and message or criticize Shane for his misrepresentation of Christian teaching or his choice to publish in Esquire. Here you're trying to have it both ways, and it's made your point incoherent.

The Squirrel said...

Frank,

I don't appreciate the tone with which you blotted out the picture.

Squirrel

Frank Turk said...

S:

Aha! Someone read my Open Letter!

(At DJP's house, the theme music for the drunken master is now playing, and he favorite part of the weekly post is about to be played out)

(at my house, there is great distress that Dad has to, again, explain all the subtleties of his posts, thereby robbing himself and the readers of this blog of all the joy in subtle satire)

What I said was, "I'm willing to set aside the question of whether or not that's actually the Christian message, or even a Christian message, for the space of this letter." What I also said was that this letter is "about how nice Christianity intends us to be". And lastly I said Esquire chose this guy and this letter becuase "[they] see his message as disposable." And lastly, I said clearly: "your dirty little magazine has helped make it possible [that] we must live [a world] in [which] half-naked women and a message about being nice (not judgmental or even morally-refined) will co-exist without any raised eyebrows."

When you see my letter this way -- that is, thought its evidence and thesis -- maybe the problem of Esquire magazine is the lesser problem. Maybe the greater problem is that somehow we can get duped into making Christians into disposable stereotypes which the world can thereby dispose of the actual message.

So therefore I offered Esquire the chance to print the actual Christian message is a series of Five 1500-word essays which I would be extraordinarily-pleased to provide at no cost.

Hilarity would ensue; Mayhem would be wrought. If you think the Derek Webb letter caused any bad thing to happen, Esquire taking up my offer would yield 100x the blow-back. And the point of this letter would become manifestly evident.

Frank Turk said...

Squirrel:

[squints at tree-loping vermin in a carnivorous and unseemly manner]

Love,

Frank.

Halcyon said...

Frank:

In the future, maybe if you had no pictures, no subtlety, no irony, no humor, no sarcasm, no cultural references, no original thoughts, and no words while writing these letters, then...no...no...there would still be people who would nit-pick about nonessentials.

I must be just you.

Tom said...

Frank (not Sinatra) writes:

"Maybe the greater problem is that somehow we can get duped into making Christians into disposable stereotypes which the world can thereby dispose of the actual message."

Frank, 50+ comments later and I'm still trying to understand the point of your open letter. I highly doubt anyone from Esquire reads this blog; and until today, I highly doubt the readers of this blog regularly peruse Esquire.

Isn't what Esquire did (ie. "making Christians into disposable stereotypes which the world can thereby dispose of the actual message" exactly what the world has always done? Read 1 Peter.

So, what do you want us non-Esquire readers to do? Given the high probability that Esquire mag execs or people close to them don't read this blog (unlike your other targets), aren't you essentially just talking to hear yourself talk?

Love&Truth

Tom

Frank Turk said...

Tom:

It was to perplex you.

Mission accomplished, I guess.

Frank Turk said...

Halcyon:

Yup. I smell like death.

Tom said...

Frank (not Lloyd Wright) writes:

"It was to perplex you.

Mission accomplished, I guess."

Not perplexed. Just wish you had a productive point to your post.

Love&Truth

Tom

DJP said...

...because, if Tom doesn't admit to seeing one, there isn't one.

Frank Turk said...

Shark tank warning indicator light just went off. Do not chum the tank.







Just sayin'.

Halcyon said...

We're gonna need a bigger boat.

Dave said...

So...

If Shane's "Jesus is really nice" message is palatable enough for Esquire to print...

And Esquire is a magazine that is clearly opposed to real-world implications of the Gospel, let alone the Gospel itself...

Then...

Then...

Wait a minute.

Ugh. Just lost it. I think it was something about the weight of a duck.

Frank Turk said...

Now Dave:

This isn't systematic theology. You keep thinking that hard and you'll be baptizing unbelievers before the sun goes down.

Dave said...

Understood.

(The llamas responsible for my previous comment have been sacked.)

Bob Johnson said...

Brother Turk, you are SO much fun!!

David Regier said...

1. Shane never answers the question in the title of his article, especially regarding himself.

2. Silhouettes are nothing if not suggestive.

NettieYork said...

i just have to chime in here, late, but chiming anyway.

i get the point of the letter...what is so difficult to get?

your humor is much appreciated, and your stand for modesty and the dignity of women is to be commended.

and with Thomas Louw, i say buy the gun! wish my dad would have.

Spot on letter! even if no one from Esquire reads it!!!

Regular Pyro Reader said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Thomas Louw said...

Sir Brass.
Thanks for the offer.

I live in South Africa…

We know how to shoot just very difficult to get a gun licence these days.

hespeaks said...

Frank, that analogy you drew between the author's disdain of drawing a crowd with a body and Esquire's delight in drawing crowds with bodies was terrific. Seriously.

DMG said...

I have to say this comment below was most wise comment on here and I agree with it whole heartedly:

"I guess I just dont get the open letter to a 'magazine'. It's a corporation.
If you were writing to a 'church' corporation I might get it due to the fact there might be some professing believers in the work of the corporation.
The magazine has one purpose which all corporations have 'counting money' for one sake or another.
Why rebuke what is already rebuked by it's intent? To profit from other's flesh interest.
The 'magazine' and anyone person that works for the 'magazine' can't be spiritual without being born from above. Why start with the oooze of thier sore when we should start with the cause of the sore? Lost people work for the 'magazine' and they need a clear presentation of the Gospel so God will prick and cut to the heart. Are they doing wrong? Yes... but how will they be cut to the heart without the presentation of the Gospel...? Unless I missed that important part?"

Where is presentation of the gospel?

This letter was really uncalled for serving no purpose. I know this comment will probably not be taken well.

(another thing.. why does Ingrid's name always seem to come up? I am not a good friend of hers BTW.... very childish IMO)

"Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth.This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.... " James 3:13-18

Merrilee Stevenson said...

I did get here early enough this morning to see the bearded lady before she was given the burka treatment, and was able to read the comment thread throughout my day, though unable to weigh in. (Whew! What a day!) So I went back and re-read it all. Now I know Dad/Frank (not yo' daddy-Tom) has patiently explained it for us, I just wanted to add one very helpful secret.

(whispering) it's about the g-o-s-p-e-l.

At least that's the theme I consistently read about here, and is what it keeps coming back to. The message that one offers to the world. Only, the world has their own message, and so on and so forth and it's almost midnight. Here in PA. So just keep that little secret tucked in your mind when you can't figure out what Frank is writing all about.

Regular Pyro Reader said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Queue said...

Open Letter to Commenters:

EVERYBODY PLEASE STOP WITH THE PICTURE, FRANK IS OBVIOUSLY SENSITIVE ABOUT IT!

Also, this tidbit was hilarious: "Now Dave, This isn't systematic theology. You keep thinking that hard and you'll be baptizing unbelievers before the sun goes down."

And also, I found the post helpful in sharpening my discernment, and carefully thinking through the hills I'm willing to stand on while people shoot at me for their amusement.

s.driesner said...

My I try a crack at it for all those confused about the point of the article?

Esquire prints an article that purports to be from a Christian perspective, and the article reduces the heart of Christianity and the Gospel to simply "be nice."

All this juxtaposed with pictures of women intended to entice readers toward lust, thus exposing the most decidedly un-"nice" way the publishers of Esquire view women.

Frank calls them on it, and in so doing helps us all to consider how much the Gospel has been trivialized in our culture, to the point where a smutty magazine can print the "be nice" gospel and pass it off as authentic Christianity.

How'm I doin', Frank?

Reformed and Renewed said...

Mr Turk. Maybe I am just a tad naive, but I dont see what people are fussing about the picture and all, good article ...you in africa we would feed this Shane fella to the lions, or the or to the Left wind socilist goverment...I think they would like him though..pity

Queue said...

Reformed and Renewed, that is because the picture you're looking at is of a grayed out woman, silly.

Driesner, in addition to what you said, I very much learned, that if secular culture is going to malign me or what I say for their amusement (as Frank suggests they're doing with Shane because they're not taking him seriously) then I want it to be for clear, hard stances that I take on real, biblical Christianity, and not in trying to win the masses over to me simply because what I say has some truth in it, and is palatable.

AND WOULD EVERYONE STOP MAKING FUN OF FRANK FOR THE PICTURE!!!11!!1! GEEZ, ONE BAD DECISION AND HE'S CONDEMNED FOREVER!!11!! BE NICE!!

Tom Chantry said...

RPR,

Take this as coming from a friend, and believe me I don't disagree with everything you say here.

But honestly, as long as you are hiding behind a pseudonym and an unavailable profile, please stop calling out by name a person who didn't comment on this thread and probably doesn't even know that it exists. It's unseemly, to say the least.

Merrilee Stevenson said...

Queue,

Thanks for the laughs. That last comment in all caps...still chuckling.


And if I were awarding any kind of prize for most concise and on-target comment (that I wish I had written), hespeaks wins the prize with this:


"Frank, that analogy you drew between the author's disdain of drawing a crowd with a body and Esquire's delight in drawing crowds with bodies was terrific. Seriously."

Frank Turk said...

It's the little things that really matter. That anyone noticed that comparison is flattering.

Ingrid said...
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donsands said...

"You're running quite a blog here, Phil Johnson. Dr. MacArthur should be proud."

It is a fine blog. Did you read Tom Chantry's comment Ingrid?

There will be commenter who say wrong things for sure.
But way beyond that, this blog is shining for the Gospel and for Christ our Lord.

I used to visit your blog, but I was deleted a couple times, so I stopped.

Lord bless you and your ministry sister.

DJP said...

DON SANDS was deleted?

Wow. Wow!

Terry Rayburn said...
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St.Lee said...

Maybe its just me, but it seems that if someone is going to complain that a comment comes from an anonymous source, that when you click the profile of the one doing the complaining, you would not get a message saying "Profile not available." But, I guess some people are so famous they only need to use a first name...sorta like Madonna.

. said...
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Rhology said...

. is Blogger Profile not available. Huh. Whodathunk.

Tom Chantry said...

Wow, "." I'm righteously offended on behalf of my wife, my mother, my two sisters, and every woman in my church, just for starters. I dearly hope your comment is deleted.

Frank Turk said...

"." --

Thank you for your deep insight. There's no question there is something wrong with me. I think the question has to be, "does that excuse the rampant bullying of others by people who want to be perceived as unapproachable?"

If it does, we have a new Gospel on our hands.

Frank Turk said...

Three hours are up, btw, so RPR's comment is getting flagged as SPAM and the rest shall be history.

terriergal said...
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buck said...

Yes, Rho, whodathunk? Not the sort of thing you find everyday® around here?

Word verification: prov182. Whodathunk?

Nice work all the way around, Frank. Where's an impassioned plea from Rodney King when you need it?

terriergal said...
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terriergal said...
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Mr. Fosi said...
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terriergal said...
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Tom Chantry said...

Terriegal,

I'm not that easily offended. I was (righteously - I believe) offended by the insinuation that a woman can be instantly spotted in a comment thread by being "a catty backstabber." Thought maybe we could all be offended by that - at least a little.

terriergal said...
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terriergal said...
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Frank Turk said...

I'm pondering my "knee-jerk defense" of the Esquire cover, btw. I am still somewhat flabbergasted that the first thought of anyone, upon seeing an image of a woman shaving her face -- because her shoulders are bare -- is "HUH! She's naked!"

My "knee-jerk defense" was really complete and utter astonishment. It is akin to someone telling me my profile photo is too racy because I have my eyebrow cocked.

terriergal said...
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Tom Chantry said...

This thread is dead, and I'm certain it will be closed soon. I'll be leaving now myself. Before I do, though, let me give you a pretty good definition of an "internet hater."

Anyone who hangs around at a blog just because they don't like it and they can't pass up a chance to say so. There's lots of blogs I don't like. I don't comment there. I happen to think life is healthier and happier that way.

Now I have seen a lot of internet haters - both at Ingrid's blog and here. I haven't seen any of the moderators of those blogs act that way, but Oh my, what a lot of haters there are coming around here every day. And don't deny that you are being a hater if you just can't help surfing in to this (or any other blog) for no greater purpose than to stoke your own rage against that of which you disapprove. It's sad - truly sad.

terriergal said...
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Josh said...
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Frank Turk said...

I have no reason to improve on your panache and style, TG. It speaks for itself. Besides, the few times I have spent jokes on you for the sake of adding some personality to the debate, you didn't understand them. Why should I write punchlines for people who have never heard the classics?

Frank Turk said...

Oh Josh: now you. have. done. it.

Comment thread closed.

Phil Johnson said...

To all:

I am bedridden with serious pain awaiting surgery on Tuesday. I have neither the time nor the desire to police comment-threads. But we've had a rule from day one forbidding off-topic comments. To invoke Ingrid's name in a derogatory manner, or to invoke John MacArthur's name in a threatening manner are both prohibited, and (as Tom Chantry said) "unseemly."

So I'm closing this thread, adding a few names to our banned-commenters' list, and deleting some comments that offended me. That's the end of this thread.

Play nice, or else.