"like ministry"


K: I was going to TeamPyro this one, but Thursday is Dan day at TeamPyro (somehow I get some Mondays and most Wednesday -- except on the Wednesdays everyone tacks onto my post because they think we're an episode of the Outer Limits or an argument against cessationism or something) and I just can't keep this one in any longer.

I dunno what made Phil think about the symmetry between the anti-intellectualism of the Emergents and the same in Fundamentalism, but I know exactly what made me think of it: interacting with both groups in close proximity in the last seven days.

I was reading an SBC tirade against Calvinism and the deemin likker, and this person started up on SBC bloggers who are not line-toers and tea-totallers and "bible-believing baptists" (such marvelous alliteration). The resounding note this person struck was the fact that he didn't have time to blog -- he was out knockin' on doors (apparently not selling Amway or Shaklee or the Book of Mormon, but F.A.I.T.H. evangelism -- between hunting vacations and the other things he does when he's not keeping office hours). To make sure the reader "got it", he made it clear that he had better things to do with his time -- like ministry.

You know: he doesn't buy t-shirts from my pawn shop. That doesn't hurt my feelings any. But it was an interesting attempt at sarcasm that sort of made me laugh -- like when you watch a kid try to be very angry with you and they spill out a malaprop in frustration.

Anyway, I've also been interacting with Matt over at From The Morning (because he thinks I'm a little sneaky), and in his meta I mentioned the specific dimness of Rhett Smith -- and Rhett Smith showed up! It's that cool? Well, Mr. Smith was very stern (as far as ECs get stern, anyway) about my referring to him (apparently I have violated the copyright of his name or something -- see: when he takes a shot at John Piper without first having a private conversation with him, it's all good, but when I mention his silly ideas in the meta of a widely-ignored blog, I'm a scoundrel), and in mentioning it he makes sure to also mention that he has better things to do with his time than debate with people who think he's wrong -- like ministry.

Isn't that strange? I mean -- surely he doesn't mean he's out doing the retail politics thing by knocking on doors and handing out tracts like the unnamed SBC pastor, does he? See: I thought that the Emergents had a corner on the new media -- like ministry in the blogosphere. I thought they at least "got" the idea that we can conduct ministry in cyberspace instead of only in the coffee shop or the punk rock concert or whatever.

I also thought that they had read the Bible -- they complain so much about not being understood and that they affirm the Bible and they "get" the Gospel and all that. But they apparently missed the part where Paul "reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath" (Acts 17:17; 18:4).

But there it is: the same sly inference that somehow blogging about error and being willing to stand up and defend one's point of view is somehow unacceptable -- from both the politically-rabid fundie and the trendy "culture" missionary (whom I will call the "indie" hereafter). Now, since these guys don't ever run in the same circles -- they'd rather be caught dead than be in the same place at the same time -- how is it possible that they both came up with such witty repartee? Coincidence?

Oh brother: if you believe that, let me see your wallet -- I think I left $20 in there and I need it back.

Pay attention, folks, because this is critically important to any continuing discussion on this blog. The reason both the fundie and the indie find the phrase "like ministry" so avant garde is that they both see argument the same way. That is: they see it as something to be avoided at all costs.

Now, why is that? Really, I think they both have the same problem at different stages of diagnosis. The fundie has the problem of rejecting all reasoning as inherently worldly and therefore sinful -- which is both extra-biblical (meaning "not found in the Bible" as opposed to "having extra Bible added") and being duped by rationalism's promise that it can replace God (not to mention that he has to get to those conclusions by ... reasoning them out). The indie has the problem in that he thinks arguments are mean and hateful and therefore sinful -- which is both extra-biblical (see above) and being duped by rationalism's claim that emotions are invalidators of the search for truth (even though, of course, he's validated by his positive vibes in this beautiful day in the neighborhood).

But the are indicative of their movements.

The Fundie thinks he's got truth nailed down -- because he's in the right denomination with the right men who will do anything for the sake of the truth (including, apparently, lie and assassinate the character of those who disagree with them). If the truth's nailed down, there's no room for argument, and the ham-handed "like ministry" snark-o-graph is his way of saying, "you're not worth arguing with".

The indie, on the other hand, doesn't want to nail the truth down -- because he's not really trying to set forth the truth: he's trying to make best buds and get people to hold hands and sing whatever the iPod video podcast equivalent of "Kumbaya Milord" is. And there's only really one reason to have an argument anyway: to set forth the truth. All other reasons pale in comparison. And thus the snark-o-licious "like ministry" is shorthand for "dude: that went out with Howard Jones (except, of course, for the classic 'No One Is To Blame') -- your arguments don't matter to me."

Two dead ends: one tactic. And it's funny, really: who knew they had so much in common? They should have lunch and compare notes -- maybe this time they can really give it to those dirty Calvinists and their stinking propositional affirmations and confessions.

There: I said it, and now you can call my blog a "hate site" along side Slice and the other places which think the EC is harming the body of Christ -- but make sure you mention that I also think wobbly Baptist political attacks against confessional Baptists are equally-dispicable. That way all the right people will be mad at me and I can have a clean conscience.

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4 comments:

aztexan said...

"Now, why is that? Really, I think they both have the same problem at different stages of diagnosis. The fundie has the problem of rejecting all reasoning as inherently worldly and therefore sinful -- which is both extra-biblical (meaning "not found in the Bible" as opposed to "having extra Bible added") and being duped by rationalism's promise that it can replace God (not to mention that he has to get to those conclusions by ... reasoning them out). The indie has the problem in that he thinks arguments are mean and hateful and therefore sinful -- which is both extra-biblical (see above) and being duped by rationalism's claim that emotions are invalidators of the search for truth (even though, of course, he's validated by his positive vibes in this beautiful day in the neighborhood)."

Yes, excellent points. To yours I would add still more, baser, reasons: laziness; carnality; stupidity. Also, in tragically high numbers - if we're to be honest - total blindness due to unregeneracy. It's the truth.

Vicki said...

I do like the way you reason things out Frank-the way you come to conclusions. Clear thinking is so rare these days. Ha-and you are funny too. That is even more rare.

Just Jules said...

I read your blog for the comics :)

Signed,
Wife of Cartoonist

Robert said...

Thanks for the comic relief. Or maybe we should be thanking the indies and fundies. It is really amazing how people don't work through the implications of what they say. And people think we're evolving?

Is Mr. Smith another one of these guys who does web searches for his name so he can pop up and be offended?