I feel I should apologize about the relatively low quality of the articles I’ve posted this week. I decided to take a week’s “sabbatical” to focus on writing the book. I thought of calling this a vacation, but that didn’t seem quite right. In the end I settled on sabbatical since I like the sound of the word and since it makes me feel very professional. I wish I had had the opportunity to take more than a week, but this is about all I can reasonably fit in with the volume of clients and web sites I am dealing with now.
I have never dedicated a complete week to writing before and must say that, on the whole, I really enjoyed it. There have been moments of frustration, but I really have enjoyed myself and am looking forward to taking another week in the near future. In fact, I think I could gladly write all day every day and be perfectly happy doing so. Unfortunately I have not found a way of paying the bills doing that. Maybe in the future! Of course if you are filthy rich and would like to sponsor me to do so, I’m all ears!
But seriously, thanks to all of those who have been praying regularly for my labors on this book. I’ve said so before, but please know that these prayers are making a difference and I am grateful for them. If you are wondering about the book’s progress, here is a very brief update. Essentially I have until March 1 to write some 60,000 to 80,000 words (which should bring the book in at between 150 and 200 pages). I don’t quite know what will happen if I don’t submit the manuscript on the agreed-upon date, but I assume it will involve Justin Taylor (or another Crossway employee) flying up to Canada with a bullwhip and a baseball bat. As per the statistics below, I am probably heading towards the mid-way point of my writing if we are to measure purely in quantity. I feel the quality of the book still leaves a lot to be desired, but my approach to this point has been mostly to plot out and expand upon ideas. Later sweeps through the book will refine the quality, writing style, and so on. I’ve never been told how to write a book and have not had opportunity to confer with any previously-published authors to learn from them, so I am really just making this up as I go! I assume this is what most authors do their first time around.
So here are where things stand at this very moment:
Manliness is not Godliness
A reader sent me an article that appeared yesterday in the L.A. Times. It sure seems that the media is expressing a growing interest in the general weirdness of evangelicalism. There have been multitudes of articles in recent months dealing with all that is wrong with Christianity and a lot less dealing with what is right! This article, entitled “Manliness is next to godliness,” deals with “GodMen” and other movements seeking to recapture a masculine Christianity. “Stine’s daylong revival meeting, which he calls “GodMen,” is cruder than most. But it’s built around the same theory as the other experimental forums: Traditional church worship is emasculating.”
Hold hands with strangers? Sing love songs to Jesus? No wonder pews across America hold far more women than men, Stine says. Factor in the pressure to be a “Christian nice guy” — no cussing, no confrontation, in tune with the wife’s emotions — and it’s amazing men keep the faith at all.
Cue up the GodMen house band, which opens the revival with a thrashing challenge to good boys:
Forget the yin and the yang
I’ll take the boom and the bang…
Don’t need in touch with my feminine side!
All I want is my testosterone high.
This is all part of a movement, which I have seen through the multitudes of books I receive from publishers, to capture a picture of Jesus that is distinctly masculine. And, of course, Jesus was masculine. The image of Jesus that arose from the middle ages and that has seemed to stick around is what guys like Mark Driscoll are preaching against. As Driscoll says, “It’s hard to worship a guy who you can beat up.” But this new movement goes to far.
“‘Jesus was a very bad Christian,’ [Paul] Coughlin declares. After all, he says, the Son of God trashed a temple and even used profanity — or the New Testament equivalent — when he called Herod ‘that fox.'” Uh huh. Coughlin wrote a book called No More Christian Nice Guy in which he tried to convince men to stop being prissy. A noble goal, but one that doesn’t necessarily require a cussing Jesus.
And so these conferences encourage men to head into the wilderness (though not necessarily to talk about their “father wounds” with John Eldredge) and to act like real men. And apparently real men swear. “Stine, a born-again Christian, shouts that it’s OK to cuss — and then demonstrates with a defiant ‘bull….'”
So whatever happened to meekness and humility? These were traits Jesus valued and exemplified. Somehow it seems that these men’s movements, these virility crusades, confuse masculine with obnoxious. Cussing doesn’t make anyone more masculine. More obnoxious? Yes. More masculine? No. More godly? Certainly not. This movement, like so many before it, seems premised on the idea that God is most pleased with us when we act most in accord with our desires, as if God desires authenticity more than godliness and submission to His Word. From what I see in Scripture, this simply isn’t the case.
You can read the article here.
And Finally, A Video
I don’t know how I missed this (actually, I do. Bob, would you fix your RSS feed already!) but Bob Kauflin posted the video of the George W. Bush impersonator who appeared at the WorshipGod06 Conference. Here is what Bob said about it:
Last August at the WorshipGod06 conference, I wanted to welcome Irish singer/songwriters Keith and Kristyn Getty to the conference in a special way. If you didn’t know, Keith and Kristyn write theologically rich, musically appealing contemporary hymns for the church, and are good friends. So, I got in touch with John Morgan, a guitarist in the Sovereign Grace church in Orlando and also a professional George W. Bush impersonator. I asked if he would introduce the Getty’s at the conference and he was kind enough to say yes. This video was taken the night he welcomed them. He did such a good job that I received a letter from one attendee wrote me to say how thrilled they were to finally see George W. Bush in person. They were serious.
However, this video isn’t. Enjoy.
Here it is for your viewing pleasure. And in case you’re interested, this is John Morgan’s site.
And just like that, I am going to get back to my book. I trust you will enjoy your Friday and look forward to spending a weekend to the glory of God.