Monday, November 07, 2005

Critiquing Other Christians...

Last week I posted about Bono Vox (as he used to be called) lead singer of U2 and his published remarks on Christianity. The post created an interesting string of comments!

One comment suggested that I was wrong to speak about Bono since I had not gone to him first in private. That always sounds good, and I am not trying to discount the particular Scriptures that teach us to approach a brother, but in the case of the wildly famous, I don’t think it works. I mean, how do you get close to a guy surrounded by thousands of fans and not a few large security guards? Even if I could get within shouting distance, I doubt we could enter a meaningful conversation about spiritual matters!

Besides that, I have met a few famous people in my day, and they all struck me as being very wary of giving anything too personal away. I mean, how can they trust anyone since almost everyone trying to get close to them is only “in it” for personal gain. Frankly, I think it is a pretty sad life.

So, does that warrant insignificant people like me writing about them instead?

I don’t think so, if I am just out to bash and smash. There is no place for that.

But the church is always swayed by the culture in which she is placed by God. And one of the prevailing winds of post-modern Canada (dare I add America?!) is the veneration of celebrity. Oprah and Dr. Ruth often carry more practical sway in some evangelicals’ minds than Moses and Paul. So, part of defending "the faith once delivered" in our day and age is engaging the statements made by celebrity voices and comparing them to Truth.

My motive in quoting the rollingstone.com article of Bono was not to bash Bono, but to point out where his statements did not line up to Truth. Why did I feel compelled to do this? So that good Christian people would not be swayed from that Truth merely by the power of personality.

Public statements should always be open to scrutiny (nobody seemed to mind scrutinizing mine!) and the goal of that examination must be to determine whether or not what is said is an accurate reflection of the Word.

7 comments:

  1. Don't get gun shy on us now. You gotta say what's on your mind, that's what a blog is for. You can say the sky is blue and you're going to get arguments for all colors of the rainbow. But again, that's what a blog is for. Even though everyone else is wrong, at least you learn some new colors!

    That was stupid. What I'm saying is that the discussion will often bring out some very different perspectives but in the end "iron sharpens iron" (Prov 27:17).

    You're doing ok.

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  2. I appreciated some of the dialogue that went on in that post, but grew tired of the bickering quickly.

    I've always been the one to play the "devil's advocate" asking how will this be seen from another's point of view. To me, picking apart Bono's statements seemed counterproductive. Here is a hugely famous person telling tens of millions of reader that the Holy Bible "sustains him", that it's "more than good advice", in fact, defining for the reader the term "rhema". In the World Magazine interview Bono says that he believes that Jesus is the messiah. How can this be bad?

    To me, a non believing blogger who stumbles upon this site and sees us bickering about whether or not Bono is a Christian would see us as silly, jealous, infighting idiots. Again, as a devil's advocate, from the outside it looks like this, "He's on your side, leave him alone, silly Christians."

    I am so greived that we find the time to tear each other down when we could be expending that energy on being the hands and feet of Jesus in a very real way in our communities.

    We can be better than this.

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  3. You said

    "My motive in quoting the rollingstone.com article of Bono was not to bash Bono, but to point out where his statements did not line up to Truth. Why did I feel compelled to do this? So that good Christian people would not be swayed from that Truth merely by the power of personality."

    And I'm glad you did that. In our day there are too many people far too willing to be swayed by the opinions and statements of "celebrities", for no other reason than, they like them.

    While I can understand the reasoning behind the second commenter's thoughts, I don't agree with him. I was once an unbeliever, and I appreciated Christians that had the guts to say and write what they believed. I appreciated those Christians that weren't afraid to roll up their sleeves and tackle the issues of the day, and show from the Bible, why they stood, where they stood.

    As an unbeliever, I obviously didn't agree with them, but they had something that it seemed other Christians lacked: conviction & passion.

    Yep, the lost are watching. The real question is: "what are they really seeing?".

    SDG ~ Carla

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  4. I think you're dead-on when you said:

    But the church is always swayed by the culture in which she is placed by God. And one of the prevailing winds of post-modern Canada (dare I add America?!) is the veneration of celebrity. Oprah and Dr. Ruth often carry more practical sway in some evangelicals’ minds than Moses and Paul. So, part of defending "the faith once delivered" in our day and age is engaging the statements made by celebrity voices and comparing them to Truth.

    I've seen this all too often in many evangelical churches, and unfortunately have even fallen prey to it myself. Making moralistic celebrities the standard for truth instead of Scripture is a danger. Clint posted on "redemptive analogies" on his blog in light of the discussion at this one, and I think that he's hit the nail on the head. Granted, it needs to be elaborated on and flushed out more, but the idea that Christians take aspects of the surrounding culture and try to make it "Christian" is quite significant. If we can recognize this, we can be aware of it in our own lives and in the lives of others. We need to be able to provide a good corrective.

    Anyways, thanks for the stimulating posts, it's been great!

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  5. I was expectant of some reference to Mr. T when I first say your post. What do you know about Mr. T's Christian witness? Have you heard "The Commandments of Mr. T"? It's great.

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  6. I haven't read these comments yet. If I'm repeating, forgive me.

    I think you need to keep in context who Bono was speaking to ("to whom Bono was speaking"). He is a performer and so he knows his audience. When speaking to Rolling Stone he chose language that would not be foreign to them and yet he didn't deny Christ or anything. I like how he claimed to be a bad representative of Christianity! In Rolling Stone you've probably only ever heard Christianity ridiculed.

    In the article in World Mag he knows he's speaking to a more Christian audience and so his language changes a bit.

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  7. I appreciate all the stimulating dialogue guys, thanks. It’s caused me to think a bit more about the EM, something I know little about. I though it may be of interest to note that NT scholar Scot McKnight, who considers himself to be part of the EM, has a number of posts on the subject of the EM on his blog JESUS CREED ( http://www.jesuscreed.org/ ).


    McKnight (PhD, University of Nottingham), who was formerly a prof at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, is now the Karl A. Olsson Professor in Religious Studies at North Park University. I though that the series ‘What is the Emerging Church’ may be of interest if someone like me is hoping to get a better handle on the identity and definition of the EM. The posts are long, but rich in content and well organized.

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