Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Bohemians hankering to be Philistines

I've been monitoring the toing and froing over Frank's comments on the iMonk. http://centuri0n.blogspot.com/

Let me say at the outset that I have no personal opinion about the iMonk I almost never peruse his blog. He and I have no prior history.

But I do have a personal opinion of Frank. I have read a lot of his stuff. He and I have had a number of direct exchanges in public and private. On the issue of ECB, it even got a bit tense and testy--on both sides.

I have no reason to suppose that Frank's motives are anything other than honorable.

It seems to me that Frank is comparing iMonk’s position to the village atheist who rails against the church because it's "full of hypocrites."

And Frank is making that comparison because, in a sense, he's been the village atheist. He sees the emergent movement as a halfway house on the way to where he once was. And he's seen where it comes out.

No one knows Marxism better than a disillusioned ex-Marxist like Orwell or Koestler. They've seen it inside and out.

The well-heeled Bohemian can flirt with Marxism because he's never seen it from the barbed-wire side of the fence, but only the gilt-edged side of capitalism. You know the type--the radical chic young anarchist, with his cell phone and iPod, firebombing cities which host the WTO, screaming police brutality when the cops cuff him and haul his Abercrombie & Fitch fitted behind off to the pokey.

But if, like Frank, you been on both ends of the spectrum, you have a better perspective on ideological or theological trends.

Nothing is more olde hatte to someone over 40 than the latest theological “innovation.” The reason we're not more "with it" is because we're more "was it." When we look at the likes of McLaren, we see a square version of Bishop Robinson or Harvey Cox in love beads and a Nehru collar.


  1. In the description of the well-heeled bohemian - I really wish you would have added "beardless" - but other than that c'est magnifique.

  2. Steve -
    Always appreciate your insights. I think you nailed it regarding Turk's vantage point.
    Just wanted to add something...It doesn't take an ex-Marxist to know Marxism. In fact, emergents use the same argument in favor of church-reform (their variety)---that they are merely disillusioned ex-churchmen who "know the traditional church inside and out" and therefore are de facto experts. However, your final point brings the real issue into focus, namely that age and honest, humble theological reflection exposes the presumptuous claim of "newness". Those who age without humility end up disillusioned because they expect the universe to serve them and it doesn’t (McClaren). Those who pursue theology with integrity but lack age and experience have too little praxis to prevent youthful lusts (e.g. power, influence, tightly wound answers to life's meaning).
    Perhaps Turk “knows” because he’s walked in those steps…but I’m betting his discernment is more grounded in years spent “trembling at [His] word” (Isaiah 66:2).

  3. Just a simple "Right On" sums up my thoughts about your post.

  4. Also I would like to say "Hey" to Jerry W. He gave us some of the best advice one day when I along with a group of men stopped by his office at Grace to discuss our church start in Murrieta. Stacy Johnson was with us that day and gleaned great wisdom from Mr. Wragg
    Again thanks. And hope to see you around Fide-O.

  5. Good to hear from you, Jason. Shoot me an email and let me know how you are doing.