11.2.04

I just read this article, and I am not to sure what to say. It scares me. I always knew that the 'Left Behind' series was popular, I have read the first 6 books myself. But that it is being associated so directly with such a major political power? The Christians who speak in this interview seem entirely to ready to damn, and entirely to representative of the state of evangelical Christianity. Speaking of the rapture, one man said "I have to accept that and believe it. Or I begin to reject it, then it begins to work on my faith in the wrong direction … It would lead to doubt. Doubt is not even an option.” How has the rapture become so closely tied to this man's faith that to doubt it would cause him to 'doubt' in general? I don't believe we should doubt Jesus Christ, if we can avoid it, but I also don't think that is so wrong. On the side of doctrine, I think a good healthy dose of humbling doubt is exactly what many of us need.

And what about the one man think tank, funded by LaHaye, who works out of his garage to prepare for the last days? The 'Pre-Tribulation Research Center'!!! Or LaHaye pointing out the fear that can drive people to Christ?!?!?

Last night I was talking with the PinkMoose about pop culture, and how the only entity that has really managed to come close to it without being assimilated or destroyed is the evangelical sub-culture (this view is open to debate, i am sure). We wondered if that was a good thing, if it was possible to be so close to pop culture, and to be your own sub culture, without somehow distorting the message? even if it is possible, is it good? Having read this article though, I realize that in creating a sub-culture so close to pop-culture, evangelical Christianity has created a population of people, evangelicals, who have some startlingly similar traits to many pop culture consumers. Heavily influenced by what is popular in their culture, willing to take things at the words of 'experts' regardless of credentials and without research (compare to how many ppl believed that Sadaam was resposnible for 9-11 or other such fallacies), consumers to the core, with a slightly different label on their products.

Witness the 'Left Behind' series; a series of fiction novels, full of doctrine which would once have been on the edge of Chrisitan belief, becomse popular, and boom (not to say this is solely responsible for the mainstreaming of their beliefs, nor to say they were on the edge before LB was published, but it has had a huge effect. I can see this personally, as well as in such articles as the one referenced above). Compare to the Prayer of Jabez. Or Rick Warren's "Purpose Driven" stuff (I think he has some good ideas, but I can think of very few books which have worse biblical exegeisis). All incredibly popular books and programs which get passed around the country with such eagerness and forcefulness, driven by popularity, consumed by the masses.

There is at least one sane comment in that article, and the writer/editor was wise enought to put it at the end. It is from Rev. Gomes, a Baptist Theologian at Harvard (they don't make it clear what he believes, I feel like they cut his quotes to match the rest of thier article, but thats just an impression, in any case his last one is good.)

"Not everybody who thinks they know what's going to happen knows,” says Gomes. “So, I'm willing to take my chances, not with the evangelicals, but with the Lord. I'm going to place my hands in his.”

No comments: