[#] I've been co-opted

After nearly a year of blogging, I have received my first cache of free books from the tricky office staff at Christ Church in Moscow, ID, and in that I have my first review of a Doug Wilson book. The astute readers of the blog will note that the first free book I am reviewing at the blog apparently gets a positive review, and that must mean I've sold out – co-opted by the love of money and books.

That's a non-sequitur. What has actually happened is that the office staff at Christ Church answered an e-mail of mine and sent some free books, and in the spirit of good will I am review the book I liked best first in order to promote some of the good stuff that they have. We'll see what happens when I get to the baptism book.

A Serrated Edge: a Brief Defense of Biblical Satire and Trinitarian Skylarking is frankly must-read reading. First of all, it's cheap and short – which should appeal to all of you blog readers as your attention span and consumer motives are shot from blog-reading. Weighing in at only 125 pages and the measly price (via the link in the Shopping Cart at the right) of only $8.99, you can read it after breakfast one Saturday.

Axwell Tiberius, Juvenalian Scamp
stupid trinketman! repent!

The problem (and it's a good problem) is that you won't just read it once. Sure, the first time through you'll read it for the "good parts" and the laughs, but you'll come back to this book even if you disagree with it. Wilson's view of the politics of critique and the mechanics of social ideological revolution alone are worth a second pass for the Christian blogger. Moreover, his analysis of satirical genre-writing in the Bible is sharp.

If you follow his blog, he has blogged some of the best parts of this book under his "chrestomathy" section, but you can't get the full effect unless you read this brief book as it was written. The "good stuff" gets better in context, and the context is simply fine advice for the Christian church about addressing the culture without making any concessions that give up the ship.

As if Wilson's long-form views here were not enough, Doug Jones contributes an appendix about valorous resistance and the appeal of brave defiance in the cause of the Gospel. This stuff is just great, edifying reading. And for the record, any Christian blogger who does not read this book is hurting himself through ignorance.

I have some minor objections to this book – like the assertion Wilson makes in Chpt 5 that we ought not to make a list of words that are not appropriate for Christian discourse because that kind of approach is prudery and Victorian-style legalism. I think his theory is pretty sound, but the application is, of course, more complicated than a libertarian-type license on the English language. So the "F"-word is fair game in making apologetic or evangelical pleas? What about vulgar references to excretive and/or sexual organs? See: I think that his point is that we ought not to be yoked with false moral standards in our advocation of Jesus Christ, but in that there is a true moral standard which, in summary form, will yield some simple ground rules the Christian orator/preacher/evangelist/pundit can use as a rule of thumb. To be fair to Pastor Wilson, he does say repeatedly in this book that the standard is not a reductive standard, and that it is also not a neutral standard, but that it is the broad standards that are evidenced by the Bible itself – and even the Trinitarian advocate of truth can put his foot in it if he does not abide by the broader-scope standards which the Bible demonstrates.

So buy this book. Read it. Use it to fix your boring blog. Believe me: it can use the help.