I’ve brought this up before: The current emphasis in Christian publishing on the “mess.” You know, books are written (that I happen to like and often recommend, by the way) where jazz is blue and doesn’t resolve; the you need mercy on the road while you travel; that spirituality is messy. Again, don’t get me wrong…I’ve enjoyed the books and the way they focus on intropsection can be a good thing.
Unfortunately, thus far, the introspection turns into navel-gazing. None of the books really focus on the beauty of transformation in the spiritual life. It reminds me of how the fitness industry is focusing on the abdominals–getting those washboard abs. Without the diet and well-rounded fitness programs that are needed, you’re just going to have washboard abs covered by 3 inches of flab. The Christian navel-gazing is just going to result in discovery of the cobwebs and skeletons in our closets.
The beauty of the walk with Christ is found in TRANSFORMATION. What I once was I no longer am. The exchanged life with Christ, lived as a responce to and exhibition of GRACE.
Again, maybe all of those authors will focus on that reality in their next books. That’d be a good thing, too. They’re gifted and provocative writers and I’ve read their other books as well. I’ll pick up the others they write. Let’s be clear: I’m not saying those books they’ve already written are bad or shouldn’t be read. They’ve helped plenty of folks be more transparent with themselves and others. This is generally a good thing.
But, the first book I’m reading this year is titled, Why We’re Not Emergent (By Two Guys Who Should Be). I can’t imagine that needs any comment or explanation. The two guys are Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck. They touched on what I’ve been thinking thusly, after quoting a musician he knows who said, “In the music scene it’s cool to search for God. It’s not very cool to find Him.”:
“The destination matters little. The journey is the thing…Because the journey is an experience more than a destination, the Christian life requires less doctrinal reflection and more personal introspection. The postmodern infatuation with journey feeds on and into a preoccupation with our own stories. If my grandparents’ generation could be a little stoic and not terribly reflective, my generation is introspective at a level somewhere between self-absorption and narcissism. We are so in-tuned with our dysfunctions, hurts, and idiosyncrasies that it often prevents us from growing up because maturity it tantamount to hypocrisy in a world that prizes brokenness more than health.”
Have at it, patrons.