Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Reading and the Arrogance of Me

About a week and a half ago or so, I read Donald Miller's Blue Like Jazz. And I really enjoyed it. Anyone that is looking for an easy, but good, read should pick it up. I admit I had reservations. I have read many of the books purporting to look at christianity (in a positive way) through a post-modern view (e.g. the "emergent church" movement). And I left all those books feeling like I had at best come away with nothing I had not entered with, and at worst I felt less intelligent after reading them (more on that thought in a second). Blue Like Jazz, however, was actually quite enjoyable. I actually went out and bought two more of Donald Miller's books. I hope they are as good, but I haven't started them because I got caught up in re-reading CS Lewis's Space Trilogy (which, by the way, if you haven't read, you need to read them before you read anything else, save maybe Chesterton's Orthodoxy: The Romance of Faith) But anyway, go read Blue Like Jazz sometime.

Ok, here's my issue with this whole christian/post-modernism thing. For starters, christianity will never be post-modern. Once it gets to that point, it will be an empty religion, devoid of any actual content. Second, once you lable something as "post-modern", it is no longer post-modern (if it ever was in the first place). Once you label and define it, it will cease to be "post-modern" right then and there. So calling anything (books, religion, ideas, art, etc.) post-modern is a silly thing to do in the first place. And third, you can't name a movement until the movement is over. If we are calling things "post-modern", then (previous objections aside), we are past the post-modern era and have moved on to something else, in which case, "christian culture" (whatever that means) is behind the times yet again.

And now, here's my issue with "christian books" in general. They are generally thoughtless and silly. At the risk of sounding prideful and arrogant, they don't tell me anything. Yes, that was prideful and arrogant, but the fact is I am a prideful and arrogant person (to deny it would only add "hypocrite" and "liar" to that list). Here's an example: I was sitting on a couch at last year's YS National Youth Worker's Convention. One of the speakers mentioned a particular christian author (who shall remain nameless so as not to offend anyone, or at least, not offend anyone anymore than I already have...). There was a person sitting next to me who asked me if I had read that author. I mentioned that I had read several books by said author, but that I didn't really like them. They replied that they did, but the reason that they did was because they loved to read hard, challenging books that make you think. There was nothing more I could say to them because the reason that I didn't like the author was because I like to read hard, challenging books that make me think, and this particular author did nothing of the sort. But I couldn't say that to them, could I? So the conversation ended right there.

What's my point? I don't really know. But to those who write these christian books, please stop. You're hurting me and you're making it hard for me to have converstations with people.

more on the state of christian books later...


Anonymous Alexis said...

I like to read hard, challenging books that make me think.

5:24 PM, August 31, 2005  
Blogger metafiz said...

might i suggest my forthcoming book Chicken Soup for the Vegan Soul (to follow up on the success of my Chicken Soup for the Left Behind Soul?

4:28 PM, September 02, 2005  

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