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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Some Interesting Po-mo lit

So this book was recommeded to me by Lydia on the Fishy Reading> site. I just read something very interesting in it. I think I like it (not just because he mentions Hemingway).

Donald Miller says,

The magical proposition of the gospel, once free from the clasps of fairy tale, was very adult to me, very gritty like something from Hemingway or Steinbeck, like something with copious amounts of sex and blood. Christian spirituality was not a children's story. It wasn't cute or neat. It was mystical and odd and clean, and it was reaching into dirty. There was wonder in it and enchantment.

Earlier in the chapter in which this portion is found, he speaks of how everyone wants to be "fancy and new." Almost everything that we encounter in life offers this or so it seems. Juliets promise to Romeo to make him new didn't really work out, he says. He then gives the example of an infomercial that claimed that a particular product worked 'just like magic.' The problem with magic, he says, is that it is always an illusion (ie. blaine, copperfield).

He compared this with God's propostion in the Bible to supernaturally make us new. When the Bible is taught as a children's fable with a 'moral of the story' at the end, it proves to be merely an illusion and does not have the power to make anyone new and is no different from the knives in the infomercial that never get dull. He says (from one of his experiences) that, "they talked about Noah and the ark because the story had animals...[but] failed to mention that that was when God massacred all of humanity."

If you got nothing from these quotes, I'll try to tell you what I learned from this. The Bible has supernatural power to get at the deepest and darkest places in the human heart. Why else would it be described as a 'two-eged sword?' The Bible is not gentle. Its words must attack the worst and most deadly things in our lives and over-power them.

Was this confusing to read? It was hard to explain. The guy never really just clearly states something. I guess I need to train my po-mo skills.


Blogger JLF said...

Oh Josh, you're so modern.

I hate this crap. People like Miller and McLaren and Eldredge take the biggest piles of dung and then just wax eloquent so long that by the time they're done saying nothing you're so confused and romanticized by whatever it was they were talking about that you're ready to swallow whatever they're spooning without even questioning it, because gosh-darn-it, it just sounds so good.

It kills me that so many Christians just refuse to engage critical thinking skills when it comes to the stuff these guys are shovelling.

7:47 AM  
Blogger amac said...

ha, i like miller's point that you turn the bible into a fable, and the power to change vanishes. and that is how most ppl see it. a 'good book.'

and it looks like he's using God's wrath to sell a more appealing view of God to a world that has boxed God. I thought ppl were pretty aware of God's wrath, that's why they don't really like Him.

anyhow, this guy does wax long, this is my fav sentence, "It was mystical and odd and clean, and it was reaching into dirty." pardon?

7:58 AM  
Blogger Lydia said...

whoa whoa, i find the broad sweeping statement that people who read their stuff are "so confused and romanticized by...yaddi yadda" pretty offensive--as though a Christian who decides to read Blue Like Jazz is less brilliant and is less prone to questioning. If you've actually read Blue like Jazz, you'd see that most of the stuff he says is left open ended FOR the purpose of getting people thinking. So its not as though Miller is attempting to shovel ideas down people's throats. true, i don't agree with everything he says...but i think he makes some good points, and i think he's written a good book for non-Christians--its a book that DOESN'T shovel things down people's throats, but DOES cause people to think and question their own paradigms.

As for lumping Miller and McLaren together--i'd say thats a pretty unfair thing to do, seeing as they find themselves on different ends of the po-mo spectrum. BUT, i will concede that there are many Christians who refuse to engage critical thinking skills. This is however, where i'd end it. its not a refusal to engage critical thinking skills to "things these guys are shovelling" but to a much broader range of Christian literature in general.

10:13 AM  
Blogger Son of Man said...

Julian, I LOVE when you rant! I totally agree that this kind of stuff can easily carry undiscerning readers away and as you say, make them ready to "ready to swallow whatever they're spooning." Somewhere in the midst of the ambiguity I found something that reminded me of something true that I love about the Bible. In his roundabout way he lead me towards something that I could honestly grab hold of. I just wish Miller was more like Hemingway.

10:19 AM  
Blogger TwinsK&D said...


Sometimes one is forced to consider the possibility that things that are being talked about in a manner which, all things being considered and making all possible allowances is, not to put too fine a point on it, perhaps not entirely straightforward. And as long as there is anything to be gained by saying nothing, it is always better to say nothing than anything at all. This article was a piece to the effect that in view of the somewhat nebulous and inexplicit nature of the writing and the arguably marginal and peripheral nature of the thought on the central theme and decisions within the wriing process, that there could be a case for restructuring the writing in such a way as to eliminate the liquidation from their immediate context. I could go on but Im sure you understand my main argument. Makes sense, eh Brian??

I like things that make sense..like the Bible!!! Keep reading it....


6:25 PM  
Blogger amac said...

i don't think anyone will read this, but i took blue like jazz off brad's self yesterday and started it. Miller write like I think, and maybe others.. I find that annoying, but i'm not holding it against him. so far, he isn't leaving anything open ended, he just implicitly outlined some of the best arguments for the sinfulness of man, and then said at the end of the chapter, 'sorry but i had to, cause I really want to communicate the fallen state of man.' I'll keep reading, it's nice.

1:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where did you find it? Interesting read video editing programs

11:33 PM  

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