Monday, May 12, 2008

Dag Nab All that Objectivity!

Jeffrey Overstreet got a letter today, and it’s a bit of a doozy.

Mr. Overstreet published a positive review of NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN at Christianity Today. The emphatic response starts out with:

“I cannot believe that any Christian could review this movie as objectively as you did!” (There were actually seven exclamation points, but I removed the extra ones for fear that they would poke an eye out.)

Now some of y’all, like me, are probably thinking that this is going to be a positive letter, starting out with such a strong compliment.

But you would have misunderstood the exclamation points: the letter-writer doesn’t consider being objective a compliment –in fact, he sees it as an insult.

Second sentence (and third thrown in for fun):

“This is exactly what is wrong with our society! Tell it like it is and don’t be afraid to offend anyone!!!!!”

The letter goes on to rant about what an awful movie this was; which is cool. I don’t always agree with Jeff myself, and everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

But I am disturbed by why he’s mad at Jeff himself – the three anti-Christian qualities that he considers to be the root of problems in America:

Jeff is objective – he doesn’t prejudge movies, and actually uses the movies themselves to form his opinions
Jeff tells it like it is – he is honest and truthful
Jeff isn’t afraid to offend others, especially with truth

Seems to me that rampant objectivity and honesty isn’t a problem in this country at all; in fact, they seem to be rare qualities.

And where does this fellow get off claiming that Christianity SHOULD be marked in such a way? That Jesus exemplified dishonesty, narrow mindedness and the fear of offending with Truth?

I guess I’m not riled by this because a lone nutter feels this way, but because I fear that he isn’t a lone nutter.

I fear that the country really is embracing a lack of objectivity and a lack of truth as virtues.

Certainly our specialized news channels (know what you think about the news before it happens!) and politicians (I’ll know what I believe as soon as the polls are in) seem to reinforce those “virtues.”

Hey, lack of truth in our culture has been around for a long time. But we used to pretend that we weren't intentionally dishonest (“I never lied. I just misunderstood the definition of the word ‘is.’”)

Are we really at the point where we can now boldly call someone out as unChristian and unAmerican because they are open and honest?

Just my thoughts (until the new poll numbers tell me I was thinking differently),



Linds said...

Derek Webb, one of my favorite Christian artists who aren't played enough (formerly of Caedmon's Call) has a song exactly on what you're saying. It's called "A New Law" The little ditty goes something like this:

don’t teach me about politics and government
just tell me who to vote for
don’t teach me about truth and beauty
just label my music

don’t teach me how to live like a free man
just give me a new law....

It gets better from there. :)

Dave Goulet said...

In many places on this planet Christians are a minority community, facing very real persecution and prejudice. But in America, where Christians carry a lot of political and cultural clout, we see a seige mentality. Boogeymen lurk in every corner.

My advice to those Christians convinced they are being attacked on all fronts: stop pretending you're the underdog. You're anything but.

Anonymous said...

I can't agree enough with Dave.

Omar Poppenlander said...

Sean -

I used to think you were a Christian, but now I am not sure!!!!! How can you endorse a lone nutter like this Jeff Overstreet character?!?! Clearly, he is out to serve a secular humanist agenda and is on the side of the Liberal Media Elite!!!!! Whatever happened to your nice, inoffensive posts, filled with half-truths and nice biased rhetoric?!?!? It's blogs like yours - filled with honesty, insight and humor - that are creating stumbling blocks for the youth of our nation!!!!!!