Book Review: Truth and the New Kind of Christian


“Truth and the New Kind of Christian: The Emerging Effects of Postmodernism in the Church” by R. Scott Smith

I had the pleasure of having Dr. Smith as my last professor while at Biola University. He taught two classes, one on organization ethics and another on moral decision making. Besides teaching in the Organizational Leadership program Smith is also an Associate Professor of Ethics and Christian Apologetics. I really enjoyed my time in class with him, he was very articulate, affable, and always took a Christ center approach to his teaching. During the class I learned more and more of his background and his interest in postmodernism the emergent church movement.

Through exposure to figures like Rob Bell, Brian McLaren and Tony Jones I had become very interested in the Emergent Conversation myself, as I learned Dr. Smith I had. During the class I read Brian McLaren’s “A New Kind of Christian”. I found the book to be intensely interesting, some ideas I read seemed to really make sense and open my view to God and ministry, others scared me a little and maybe even whispered heresy in the back of my mind. But either way it got me thinking, and looking for an alternate take of McLaren’s views I decided to read Dr. Smith’s book “Truth and the New Kind of Christian: The Emerging Effects of Postmodernism in the Church”.

This book while being approachable to the layperson does require a quite a bit of critical thinking, and is not as easy to get into as the McLaren work is aims to respond to. A little bit of experience or knowledge of academic logic and basic philosophy would go a long way to help you get through this one.

Those hoping to see a detailed response to the ideas and approaches McLaren talks about in his book will probably be disappointed in this book. Rather then solely addressing McLaren’s work Smith takes on the broader concept of Postmodernism in Philosophy and in the Church. While picking a choosing and choosing a few select ideas from the like of Tony Jones, Brian McLaren and certain postmodern Christian philosophers, Smith gives a basic overview/introduction to their worldviews and philosophies. As others have said this is probably the best part of the book as it gives a fair well balanced review of the current Christian postmodern movement.

After this, however, Smith focuses on taking apart all these thoughts and views using philosophical logic, and boiling everything down to the idea that postmodernism prevents one form knowing truth, therefore they can’t know truth, therefore their ideas are faulty. I know that probably is a rough way of saying it and I may have even gotten it a little off, but that is how I interpreted it. He also spends a chapter disputing the entire characteristics McLaren find problematic with the Modern Church. Smith used his own church to disprove most of these ideas. But I felt he missed the point McLaren was making. He was talking about general overall impressions that he has (And I too) about the modern church, and I don’t think presenting one church that does not match any of those characteristics does not constitute a valid argument against McLaren’s statements.

Then after doing such, Smith spends a chapter pretty much calling Christian Postmodernists relativists, and then he goes on deconstructing and disproving relativism as a viable ethic, I found this to be a helpful lesson in showing how relativism is not viable, but this all hinges on his argument that postmodernism leads to relativism which I do not agree with. The final chapter deals with knowing objective truth and how modern philosophy and worldviews allow for that, which I felt is his way of saying everything is still fine and postmodernism is not needed and will not work.

I respect Dr. Smith immensely; his thoughts in this book are very well thought out and presented. But unfortunately after reading this work I think he still falls under the Modernist idea that everything has to fit the logical and philosophical standards set, I believe he misses a little bit of Neo’s point that maybe we can’t quite understand where and how it all works. Postmodernism allows for a bit more of that I think. Dr. Smith approaches the whole topic like a philosophy professor, and while I understand all that, I don’t think that is what people are looking for today. I think Brian McLaren or Tony Jones would agree that arguing philosophical proofs with a nonbeliever today is a rather unlikely (But not at all impossible) way to lead someone to Christ. Dr. Smith brings up some interesting topics, thoughts and criticism to the conversation but I feel like his extensive philosophical training creates a modernist views that causing him to miss the greater overall postmodernist/emergent message.

Advertisements

Movie Review: “Body of Lies”


Okay, I should probably admit I going into this review that I am already a fan of many of the principles involved in this film. I thoroughly enjoy Ridley Scott as a director, and I tend to think Leonardo DiCaprio is one of the best actors of my generation, and despite his occasionally trouble causing personality I think very highly of Russell Crowe as a performer. So I went into this film a little bit biased and also on a bit of a spy movie kick. In the last week or so, I have also screen “The Good Shepard” and “Syriana”. So CIA flicks are the hot thing with me right now.

Anywho, I found this movie to be fun and entertaining. Not overly action filled like other Scott movies but also not a methodically plodder like “Shepard” and “Syriana”. I found the plot for the most part believable and the acting to be very good as well. DiCaprio again brings the signature intensity to his role that has become a hallmark of his acting, and Crowe falls right into the character of a schleppy CIA spymaster with a nice southern accent. The supporting cast keeps thing believable and moving especially thanks to a great performance by Mark Strong as the Jordanian Head of Intelligence, although his costuming in this movie kept me thinking of Andy Garcia’s character in the Ocean’s 11 movies.

The movie is not an over ambitious action flick, nor a highly detailed spy thriller but a good mix that makes for an enjoyable movie overall, I recommend it.

Viva Los Doyers!


For those of you wondering, yes, I was at the game Sunday night.

It was cooler then the other game.

I am now 3-0 as a fan in post season baseball.

I was sick with a head cold and Amy was sick too but we hung in there.

I had my first Picante Dog (Which I know Ryan likes), and it was pretty good.

The fact that the cheapest seats were $50 kinda weeded out the unruly Mexicans, but not all of them.

If you were a Phillies fan in the cheap seats you still got hounded by all the Mexicans. Even good looking girls in Philly shirts got hounded. If only all Dodger fans were as passionate as drunk Mexicans, then we could give Red Sox and Yankee fans a run for their money.

Phillies fans were a lot tougher then the Cubs fans, but a 2-0 lead could do that to you.

56,800 in attendance supposedly largest Dodger game crowd ever. That is like the fourth attendance record breaking game I have been too.

I really would of liked to have seen the fight, but then I realized we can afford to loose anybody and I wished there wasn’t a fight.

Kuroda is the man, and he was heavin’ up to 95 a couple of times last night.

Starting Moyer just seemed like a bit of a mistake to me. I really felt we were gonna knock him.

If there was a fight I would of loved to of seen Chan Ho Park run in from the bullpen to deliver a spinning roundhouse kit to Pat Burrell. If I had seen that I could of died a happy man.

I hope the Blue Crew pulls it off tonight because if they do I am buying a World Series Ticket tomorrow morning at $150 a piece for top deck.

Go Rays and I hate J.D. Drew more then vegetables, liberal democrats, and that burning sensation when I pee.

Viva Los Doyers!

Break It Down

My amigo Ben asked me to break down my experience. Here is what I wrote:

1. Packed, one of those rare days where the game was sold out and everyone actually showed up.

2. Food lines were long and slow, so apparently the concessions staff, much like the Cubs, did not up their game for the playoffs.

3. The Dodgers had some really good video packages for between innings. This 50th anniversary thing has made them step up their game.

4. I know this was a playoff game and all but I think Don Newcombe will show up for any Dodger related event anywhere.

5. Kudos to any Cubs fan thought bought seats in the cheaper sections. That was a dangerous place to be. Probably not to different from walking through Tijuana wearing a U.S. Immigration Services T-Shirt.

6. Cubs fans got really excited for Derek Lee first double, then they were quite for long time.

7. Since Amy won’t let me name one of my sons Tavish I may now name him Hiroki. Boy was on! Not that he didn’t have a couple of pitches smacked but he held it together.

8. I welcome our new closer Johnny Broxton.

9. Early in the game I got a hold of a beach ball and knocked it over the railing, someone threw sunflower seeds at me, I bet it was a Mexican.

10. And my bet was he was here illegally.

11. Harden really was pitching a pretty good game, he kinda just caught some bad breaks. But I like to think it was my goat secented aftershave.

12. I think this all goes to show God does not care about the greek orthodox church.

13. I was nervous all game.

14. The then just elated and relieved.

15. Bunch of Dodgers later came back on the field and ran around and said a few things.

16. No riverdancing with goggles on though.

17. Walking back to the car Amy almost walked by a Cubs fan who was just taking an enourmous leak in the parking lot. I mean enourmous, like turning a 2 liter bottle upside down kind of flow.

18. But yeah the cubs fans were bareable. Or maybe they were just scared.

19. Vince Vaughn was there. I figure he has had enough lucky breaks in his life that his mere presence lowered the Cubs chances. He also looked fat.

20. Cubs were scared of Manny!

21. Next Sunday the Phils come to town. I am looking forward to some great fights in the stands.

Think Blue!

Dodgers Win!


Wow.

I just kinda kept waiting for it to fall apart, for Lee, Ramirez, Soto, DeRosa, But we held it together.

Wow.

Bring it on Philly!

I do feel for the Cubs fans, for as Vin Scully once said:

“Losing feels worse than winning feels good.”

The Dodgers, The Weather, And My Ulcer

“Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit drinking.”
-Steve McCroskey

Last night my beloved Dodgers opened a pony keg of whoop ass on the Chicago Cubs. I was really feeling good and almost felt bad for Cubs fans until the bottom of the ninth when we brought in Saito. Yikes! He was flat, no movement, and when he did find the strikezone, Cubs bats found the ball shortly after. That performance really shook me and made me think that Takashi is not ready to close games. Broxton did not look too great either.

Tomorrow is game three of the series. Myself and Amy will be attending. There is a 40% chance of rain. Just my luck. I don’t even know how Kuroda pitches in cold damp weather.

Suffice to say I think we will get rocked tomorrow. I just can’t beleive they will clinch the series on the day that I show up.

The Dodgers, The Weather, And My Ulcer

“Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit drinking.

Advertisements