Sunday, December 03, 2006

Fibnarratives, Metafibnarratives, And Drive-By Smearings.

As all three of my readers know I think the Emergents are a bit creative in their persuasion techniques. For instance, if one has a really fine tractor to sell a farmer, one has only to tell the farmer exactly what all its features are. If, on the other hand, you are selling magazines that will never arrive for an outrageous price to the lady with the two kids screaming about to slam your nose in the screen door, you'd better get creative. You need to come up with a good story like if you don't sell enough subscriptions you will not get home from college for Christmas and see your mother who is going to die on December 26 at 10:15 in the morning of that tumor protruding hideously out of the small of the side of her neck that looks just like Abraham Lincoln at the first Lincon-Douglass debate. Yes, that should do it.

I call that a fibnarrative. And fibnarratives are very popular with Emergents. Say you're Erwin McManus and you want to tell everyone that the gospel is wrong. Well, you make up this fibnarrative, about how John the Baptist was not really an ascetic, but a barbarian, and turn it into a book for young Christian guys that don't like their dads and pastors much, call it The Barbarian Way and sell it everywhere you can. Then just when no one is looking say that the gospel is too "domesticating" on page 32 and if you believe that Jesus died for your sins you could never be a barbarian like John the Baptist and tell your pastor to shove off. (In the Spirit, of course.) Or if you're Brian McLaren and you want to reveal to the world that you don't believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to get saved, write a fictional, first person story about just how much you love your daughter. Make it turn out that your daughter has just become a universalist. Then at the end of the article, right after you tell the bit about how you watched her drive away with her boy friend in his little beat up Honda and you saw the blue smoke drift up into the lonely sky as you bit your lower lip and held back the tears, and while every reader with any sort of a heart at all is balling their eyes out, say that if anyone doesn't like the daughter you love sooooo much just because she is a universalist, then by golly they don't have to like you either! Yes, that'll do it.

Then there is the drive by smearing. This is another persuasion technique. Where I grew up it worked like this: "Well, you know, that drunken sot Wally Botts said, such and so." That was to make everyone know that whatever Wally said, don't believe it, because he's just a drunk. That way if it's true, you really didn't say it wasn't. And if it wasn't true, then you're the hero. Anyway you hate Wally.

If you're an Emergent this technique hinges on the "fact" that anyone who disagrees with your wacked out, straight-from-Mars-Hill doctrine is a smelly, rotten dirt-eatin' turkey who deserves to die a slow and painful death. Now, quite often the person disagreeing with an Emergent is someone the reader will be likely to actually like or respect. So the technique is to quickly call them a smelly, rotten dirt-eatin' turkey and then get on to the next sentence before the reader can think about it. Like this from Brian McLaren's A Generous Orthodoxy, page 178:
"Although I was taught that the Bible fulfilled these modern-Western-moderately-educated desires, I no longer see the Bible this way." Did you catch it? McLaren said his teachers are stupid. Moderately-educated. You don't want to be moderately-educated, do you? Then you just gotta agree with Brian. See?

Yep, and that's how to be an Emergent author that can write a doctrine only men on the moon would believe and get Christians to believe it. My only question is if a fella used a metanarrative to fib about something instead of just a regular narrative, would it be a metafibnarrative or a fibmetanarrative?

Phil Perkins.

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Blogger j.p. said...

in your comments about mclaren's article you forgot to mention that the article is an excerpt from the last word and the word after that, a work of fiction. the story is of a fictional pastor and his fictional daughter.

i just thought that it would be an important thing to point out, since you refer to the article as if it is something mclaren is writing about himself and his daughter, which is not the case as seen by the introduction to the article.

12:40 AM  
Blogger Phil Perkins said...

Thanks for the heads up on that. If you follow the links, that is not indicated on Beliefnet where I found it. All that is indicated is that it is an excerpt from a book. Then the story begins in the first person.

At any rate, I will either pull and rewrite this post and the previous one to which it refers or I will edit them, for accuracy.

Thanks again,
Phil Perkins.

7:06 AM  
Blogger Phil Perkins said...

Sorry about your grandmother. huuummmm. I feel for you.

Phil Perkins.

8:57 AM  
Blogger j.p. said...

thanks for your condolences regarding my grandmother, i appreciate it.

actually, it was by following the links that i found that the article was fiction. the intro to the article (on the first page), under the title and author, it states:

"In this excerpt from "The Last Word and the Word After That," a fictional pastor who has been suspended by his church describes his struggles with the theology of hell."

before going on to the text itself.

3:45 PM  
Blogger Phil Perkins said...

Thanks I see it now.

Phil Perkins.

4:55 PM  
Blogger Ken Silva said...

You should know guys that this is how McLaren "hides." This is exactly where his theology is heading but in my opinion he hasn't the spiritual fortitude to admit it.

11:29 AM  
Blogger Phil Perkins said...

Pastor Silva is trying to cheer me up.


4:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have a good style. I enjoy your witticism mixed with substance. Easy to follow and understand. Keep up the good work.

12:33 AM  

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