Slacktivist has been one of my favorite blogs for a very long time (surprise!), though I’ll admit I usually scroll through his Left Behind posts, for reasons of limited hours in the day and only so much headspace I am willing to give to certain things, like end-times prophecy and scriptural literalism that isn’t even literal. However, the last few weeks of the series, dealing with Rabbi Tsion Ben-Judah (linked for convenience: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) have been sheer knock it out of the park brilliant. I started paying attention around #3, and then went back and actually read the earlier ones–he gets it. Not just the complex issues attending to textual interpretation, or the huge gap between Jewish and Christian understandings of the same passage (though either of those by itself would be rare enough), but his exposition of the utterly unconvincing parody of Judaism presented by Tsion Ben-Judah (good grief, even the name!) is an excellent example of putting oneself in another’s shoes, listening with another’s ears, and being keenly aware of the false notes. And in today’s post, he takes that a step farther, into a critique of the Jenkins/LaHaye version of evangelism:
This doesn’t just mean that the the authors are failing at evangelism themselves. It also means they’re setting up their readers to fail as well. Those readers are being sent forth with the expectation of encountering people who do not actually exist. They are being taught to expect to meet these imaginary innocent ignorant, the Real True Christians-in-waiting who have never heard of Jesus before and will gratefully ask to hear more — finding the message instantly persuasive and thus eagerly converting.
I don’t think that has ever really happened. Maybe once, but probably never.
Now, obviously, I can see resonances between this critique and things I have written about recent developments in a church that still thinks of itself as mainline (and thus, supposedly, not the audience that Slacktivist is writing to). And there are also resonances between the entire last month’s worth of posts and the big thing I’ve been mulling over about theology and interfaith issues… but I still haven’t really processed the end of last week past the point where I dissolve into incoherent pain and fury and bitterness I do not want to have room for in my soul if I think about it too hard, so I’ll leave drawing out the connections as an exercise to the reader.
Go and read the rest.