You know what? I ran out of daylight AND moonlight this week, and the video response will be worth it. It may not be the top-10 post I sort of promised, but it's worth the wait -- worth letting me have an extra night to get it in the can. But as a warm-up for that post (to be tomorrow, and DJP's post will roll over into Friday), I have an oldie but a goodie along the same lines. Enjoy.
Anyway, since Phil re-reviewed the "Why We're Not Emergent" book, I thought I'd coat-tail him again and sort of pre-emptively review the other book he raved about in that post. But as I was reading it, I had this problem I had to resolve: I found another book which I thought needed a review in a much more urgent way.
That "more urgent" book is a little tome called Pop Goes the Church (hereafter PGTC) by a fellow named Tim Stevens, and I came across it in my own bookstore. See: we belong to this marketing group which helps us out by publishing very slick advertising materials and mailing them to our customer lists, which is of course a perfect thing -- except that it causes us, from time to time, to bring in books we wouldn't otherwise, um, proffer. The reason is simple: these books get the ad money from publishers, and that money ultimately pays for the catalog.
Yes, I get it: that's ugly. That is also the way it goes when you join a marketing group: you have to somehow get past the 20% junk and somehow capitalize on the 80% better-than-junk to try to get people to come back into the store.
Anyway, I grabbed the copy of PTCG and started reading it so I could review it, and the strangest thing happened to me: I realized that the other book was actually reviewing this particular book for me. If I were a charismatic, I think I would attribute this to the Holy Spirit speaking directly to me through these two books. But of course, I have to maintain the semblance of dignity here, so let's just say that God, in His providence, gave me the fodder for a brilliant blog post today, and you're merely fortunate enough to get to read it.
See: here's the thing. Over the last couple of weeks there has been a little dust-up in the blogosphere as to whether one should recommend that others not read a book one finds offensive. One blogger in particular tried to make his point very transparent by deleting posts at his blog which disagreed with him about his point of view -- which, I think, is not exactly the message he was trying to send, but we all have an idiom which we tend to drop into.
Anyway, rather than make the obvious "don't read this book" post about Tim Stevens' book, let me suggest something else instead: first read David Wells' book The Courage to be Protestant and then read Tim Stevens' book. Because it seems to me that the only way to really "get" either one of these books is to actually put them side by side and, frankly, let the best man win.
Seriously: read them both and compare them. Or read them both and then give them to your pastor. Just don't freak out when he realizes that one of these books is a cook book, and he likes that one better. It'll be perfectly creepy like that Twilight Zone episode "To Serve man", because that's exactly what one of these books is advocating: to serve man.
There is an awesome update to this post, BTW: Tim Stevens now wants to remove the word "saved" from the Christian vocabulary when we are speaking to lost people. That is so amazing its making my eyes hurt. Maybe my eyes hurt from forcing iMovie to place text where I really, really want it.