UPDATE: A number of memorable comments have appeared today, but none more entertaining than this one.
Really, it would be best to stop blogging. It’s the end of the road. Decision time. Carl’s devastating “fisk” has caused an eruption of cognitive dissonance. Deep down, you know the truth, but it’s too painful for you to act on, entrenched as you are. From this point on, for you it’s “Become Catholic or dissolve.”
Dissolve? What the…..
Carl Olson’s fisking of me today did something to me. It’s hard to describe exactly what, but I’m going to try. (And let me be sure to say that Olson’s piece was not a personal attack on me or offensive. He’s more than welcome to state his faith and use my post as fodder.)
For seven years on this blog (seven! Good Grief!), I’ve occupied a unique place and built a unique audience. I was been called and labeled everything from a Baptist fundamentalist to a postmodern emerging church guru to a Catholic sympathizer to a Catholic critic to the Spirit of the AntiChrist.
With this latest fisking, I have now been taken down and apart by Phil Johnson, Frank Turk, James White, Steve Hays, Ken Silva and Carl Olson. From the internet’s most well-known Reformed Baptist apologist to a Roman Catholic editor/author/apologist, I’ve been made famous on blogs far more widely read than my own. I’ve been called an enemy of Piper and an enemy of Calvinism, and I’m constantly receiving emails from Calvinists who love my critiques of evangelicalism. According to the dogs at Fide-O, I’m a Barthian apostate and according to fans of Joel Osteen, I’m the devil himself. I’ve criticized Driscoll and supported him. I’ve defended the SBC and shot at her. I’ve advocated Wright and Capon, and I’ve stood apart them as well, all to the applause and boos of the typing chimps.
Today, none of it made sense anymore. Standing in the middle of the fray. Standing with the other guy when he gets the bully treatment. Reaching out to Roman Catholics as my brothers and sisters, trying to be reasonable and accepting. Speaking as a post-evangelical to despairing evangelicals. Decrying team sport theology but winding up like the dead possum in the middle of the road. As one character said in a Hemmingway short story, “It all tastes like licorice.”
My wife said I ought to quit it, and she’s right. I can do better.
I’ve lost something today, and I don’t know if it’s coming back. Right now, I don’t want it back. If the answer to my blogging is Olson’s “Why I’m Not A Protestant,” I think my answer to Olson is…….completely irrelevant. If I call him my brother, I’m a damnable heretic with the truly reformed, and if I call myself a “Not a Catholic”, then the best I can be is just one more deficient, defective Protestant, outside of the true church with no authority to say anything anyway and never getting the real Jesus because I refuse to recognize transubstantiation. (Plus, I’m unwilling to read a Scott Hahn book to get all my questions answered.)
So I’ve got a lot less Piper books than I had last week because I’m obviously too critical to derive any benefit, and as of this weekend, I’ll have a lot less Roman Catholic books of my shelves, because this whole business of trying to build a bridge to people who don’t need a bridge is stupid on my part. (I’ll be sure and tell the priest at the local RC Church to give you credit for my generosity, Mr. Olson.)
This blog is going to take a turn, at least on the writing side. And I hope it’s a long-term turn for the better. Exactly where, I’m not sure. It will still be me on the confessional, honest side. I’m still going to advocate what’s important to me. But it won’t be me getting into the theological crossfire with these teams. Whatever I thought I was doing trying to be independent and reasonable, I’m not doing tomorrow or beyond. Have your little wars without me guys. Apparently there isn’t any place I can stand accept where I get buckshot in my ass.
If what I’ve written and said has been a blessing, maybe the blessing will continue. Or maybe you’ll not like what I’m going to do. What I can assure you of is this: as best I can, I am going to obey the constant call to “Find my own voice.” (One note: I do have some book review commitments that I will fulfill.) I’m a better writer and a better person than the one who wants to respond to Olson right now. I’m going to let that better writer have his turn in the captain’s chair.