Thursday, February 10, 2011

Why I Read the Old Guys

One of the frustrations I have with my generation is the plethora of new books out criticizing the church, the faith, the traditions, previous generations, etc, etc, etc without posing helpful solutions. On the one hand, my generation is very skilled at expression. We are artistic, creative people who can wordsmith with incredible speed and finesse. I'm amazed at our ability to formulate expressions in cyberspace that can go viral within hours! Phrases like "wassup!" and "that was off the chain" appeared out of nowhere and just as quickly were replaced with techno shorthands like LOL (laugh out loud) and MLAS (my lips are sealed). The problem is that we use these communicative skills lazily and with the attention span of a humming bird on caffeine. Because we're products of the high-speed Internet age, we tend to formulate opinions without thoughtful research or informed reason. Without naming any names, I've recently been perusing a number of writers from the so-called "emergent church" movement. Very expressive, colorful, even entertaining! But there is often an air of arrogance and rebellion implicit in their assertions. Everything sacred is up for inspection. Questions are raised about orthodox theology, institutional church, forms of worship, hermeneutics, seminaries, revelation, and any number of other precious topics. But the questions posed are given no solid answers. It's as if these writers are high school kids given an opportunity to meet a five star general and encouraged to say, "What's up, dude?" when they meet him. That's why I tend to shy away from the latest best seller. I want to know that an author is truly an expert in the field, someone seasoned through rigorous training and a life well-spent. I want to know that the work he or she has written is more than colorful language with a dose of clever. I need, our world needs, substance. And substance usually comes from older or dead people who lived long lives of deep devotion and study to God's Word.