I started writing a book about ten years ago, the working title I gave the book: ”The Death of Truth and the Commodification of Christ”. I have never sought to publish the book because the tone of the book is angry and back in the early days of emergent all of us were labeled as “angry young preachers” and I didn’t want to contribute to that idea. I truly wanted to foment a reformation and theological conversation and anger does not promote conversations.
My basic idea in the writing was this: Modern philosophical concepts of “truth” have killed it, turning “truth” into this static thing that is “out there” instead of a dynamic thing that is shaped by participation. This concept of truth de-motivates us by suggesting that ”truth” can not change - it can only be discovered. As the church bought into the modern concept it changed the role of the church from being a participatory truth changer in culture to being a truth dispenser focused on the individual. The shift to the individual provides the framework that we are now trapped in - the framework that suggests that the individual possess “truth” (as long as they are rational and informed) and does not need anyone else(except to inform). Everything that exists outside the individual is just a commodity for the individual to be consumed and only valued by the “felt needs” of the individual. My conclusion - at this point in church history - we have actually elevated the individual to a “god-like” position and subsequently positioned Christ as the ultimate consumer commodity for the individual. etc etc etc
When I would discuss these ideas I could see that it was too foreign to suggest that our assumptions about individualism, felt needs and truth could be wrong, But that was 10-12 years ago. I was shocked when I saw the title of this new book - The Divine Commodity. I have not read the book, but I like what I am reading in the promotional material, and comments and when I listen to the author talk. I see that he is friends with an old buddy Dan Kimball - so I have ordered the book and am anxious to read it.
Forgive me for my self-indulgent, poorly informed, initial excitement. It it just hard to constrain when you hear others say things that you have been saying for a while - because it makes you feel “that you are not crazy” and more than once I have felt that way on this journey. Now I hope the book is good!
I am not a blogger - by evidence that I never post, so most will never read this, but I should write this just the same - it is the right thing to do. I am posting in defense of Mark Driscoll.
There is recent discussion/posting about Driscoll’s cussing, in part due to the NYTimes Magazine piece that labeled him the “cussing pastor” and dust-ups at evan-fundy conferences like the Shepherds conference and some Southern Baptist stuff where Mark is on the line-up; but also in part to Tony’s Book, The New Christians, about Mark’s behavior at Axxess in Arlington, TX over a decade ago.
Mark contacted me when the book came out to apologize and ask for forgiveness. I forgave him with no hesitation and passed on his thoughts to the people in our community. I have accepted his apology and forgiven him and have no problem with Mark regarding the language he uses. Mark is a good man - IMHO
My problem with Mark is his theology. I think neo-calvinism is cowardly and weak! It is just cuddling up with thought leaders that were brilliant/forward thinking/thought provoking theologians for their time - but today - not so much.
My opinion is that the failure of modern philosophical/theological assumptions caused this return to “calvinism” as people grasp to the comfort of the convoluted evangelical concept of “sovereignty” that exists in that circle. neo-calvinism is such a waste - classic calvinism was built on a covenant hermeneutic and, at least, held a “cultural mandate”; neo-calvinism is built on a dispensational hermeneutic and has no mandate at all. neo-calvinism is cheap, easy and good-for-nothing and it is not at all “true to scripture” as is often claimed.
let me say again: Mark “manned-up” and ask for forgiveness regarding his cussing. His neo-calvinism that is another matter.