Monday, October 23, 2006

The Secret Message of a Babbling Idiot

Those who read this blog know that I once held Brian McLaren in the highest regard. His book "A New Kind of Christian" approached the gospel in the sort of blank-slate way that was refreshing and important. He eschewed political ideology, and was one of the few authors I could recommend to my unsaved friends (who saw through the silly apologetics foisted upon society by most evangelicals).

Those who read this blog know that McLaren has traded all of this to become a shallow left-wing demagogue in the style of Jim Wallis. Witness his latest diatribe on Jim Wallis' God's Politics blog. As per his recent MO, McLaren says nothing, insinuates everything, and is smug as all hell. Selected excerpts (with responses, naturally) below. If you have something compelling to say, feel free to comment. If you want to write a paragraph about how I am an obtuse Republican idiot, save your breath. I'm in a deleting mood.

"believe the U.S. is passing through an era with some similarity to the last apartheid years in South Africa."

Savor that sentence for a moment. The United States is passing through an era akin to that of one of the most brutally racist societies in modern history. What color glasses do you have to be wearing to think this sentence makes any damn sense?

"It is a difficult era, full of tension, full of possibility too. "

When did America ever go through an era that wasn't difficult or full of tension? Does that mean we are awakening from Apartheid? Is that the similarity? He couldn't come up with ANY other corollary?

"It began, I suppose, with our decision not to remain isolated, but to enter World War II."

So began the tension. The 1930s were stress free, as we all remember.

"The dropping of the nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki marked the era indelibly, in ways we have hardly begun to grasp."

How much do you want to bet he provides no support whatsoever for this vague comment?
Let's check back later.

"In the 1950’s, the McCarthy trials helped define the era, and the era’s particular angst intensified in the 1960’s with the Civil Rights movement, the women’s movement, the anti-war movement, and the ecology movement."

Apparently we are in an era that was marked by the McCarthy trials. Of course, McCarthy is now one of the most celebrated historical figures in American history. I remember being a young lad, and learning about McCarthy's even handed approach to communism.

"For over three decades, the era was defined largely by the struggles of the Cold War, and then more recently, the internal “culture wars” and the external “war on terrorism.” What links all of these disparate phenomena is what linked blacks, whites, and colored in South Africa as apartheid came to an end: the struggle to forge a new national identity."

The cold war was a struggle to forge a new identity? Hmmm... I thought it was a struggle not to get our butts kicked by a communist superpower. Of course, the culture wars are inextricably linked to the cold war in such a way that does not require any further explanation. Yep, pretty much two peas out of the same pod there. Good observation B-Mac.

"Think of the questions that we have grappled with over these last fifty years: Will we be a nation of equality for all races, and for women as well as men?"

Is there anyone doing as much grappling as McLaren suggests? Everyone who is still grappling with the question of whether we should be a nation of racial equality, please raise your hand.

"Will we be an industrial nation that extracts riches at our environment’s expense, or an ecological nation that works harmoniously in and with the environment as its caretakers?"

Good morning Starshine, the Earth says "hello".

"How will we relate to other cultures and nations in the world? Will we be dominated by them, or will we seek to dominate them—or is there some other path?"

You mean, there is another path? Enlighten us, oh master of the freaking obvious.

"Will we be the world’s smarmiest pornographers, the world’s hypocritical moral police, or an imperfect but improving moral example among the world’s nations?"

Any who is grappling with these questions in any serious sort of way really shouldn't be putting pen to paper.

"All these questions, I believe, surface this one simmering, profound question of national identity for the United States."

Ah, now the apartheid analogy makes worlds of sense.

"If we can see them thematically as elements in one ongoing struggle, the struggle to define our national ethos and global role,"

Then we will be able to bore the living crap out of our neighbors with high-minded platitudes.

"perhaps we can find both a missing sense of coherence in our times – and a unifying goal toward which we can move together. "

I wouldn't suppose God would factor into the equation in any way? No? Didn't think so.

"Perhaps the articulation of our desired national identity and mission is more important than 90% of the so-called crises, but we just haven’t realized it yet."

Ah yes, the war on terror is a so-called crisis. Remember when planes flew into the Twin Towers. But a blip on the radar screen. No big whoop. The key for us is to find ourselves. I hope this guy doesn't deliver eulogies.

"We need to listen to our prophets and poets, our pastors and sages, our educators and activists, so that some time in the future, we will know what our pillars are…"

Well that cleared it up for me. Thank you... This is the sort of statement that builds consensus among college sophomores at 2 a.m. after everyone watched "Dead Poets Society".

I won that bet, by the way.

"and so the values they represent will be inscribed, not just on stone, but in our hearts and minds, our families and communities."

Not just on stone? What stone? Is he talking about the Ten Commandments? No, he was referring to pillars. They are inscribed on stone pillars, but they need to be inscribed on our hearts as well? That's a lazy sentence right there. Just throw a reference to stone in there, as though everyone knows what you're talking about. Maybe he was stoned when he wrote this. How emergent.

So, in conclusion, we are having an identity crisis, as we awaken from the McCarthy era, which led us to culture wars and the war on terror. But now we know better, and we're awakening from our own apartheid, so we must listen to the really smart people around us so we know how to forge an identity.

This is why I vote Republican, people.


Blogger emily jane said...

damn. nice.

6:52 PM  
Blogger Chris Hill said...

It wouldn't be so bad if he (or Wallis or anyone else on his blog) weren't speaking as if they're representing Christian values.

10:27 PM  
Anonymous Thom said...

Dagnabbit, Kevin...did you not get the memo? I have banned the word "demagogue" from the internet.

11:56 PM  
Anonymous Roger said...

See, Thom, that's the problem with Kevin...

7:45 AM  
Blogger Kevin Sawyer said...


Is didactic still in play?

10:03 AM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

If I ever write a book, you'll be the first person I go to before publishing- or the last.

Great analysis!

11:54 AM  
Anonymous Thom said...


Didactic is indeed still in play. knock yourself out.

12:58 PM  

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