1. Keith Osmun says:

    I’ve read Jesus and John Wayne and I believe Michael is entirely incorrect on his assessment about the book and deconstructionism in general.
    There are no professional deconstructors. There’s no leftist agenda in Dr. DeMuse book, unless the message that “power and influence corrupt and having super megachurch pastors be held up as leaders in evangelical circles was a terrible idea” doesn’t translate for you.

    I thought this was a podcast about storytellers, not a political punditry soapbox.

    In my opinion, Mr, Young was not a subject expert at all, but a political hack. Please don’t invite him back.

    • Hallo again, Keith. You’ve been making the rounds lately with this highly specific criticism—Facebook, Twitter, and now here. (But posted to the wrong episode; you refer to episode 153.) Was that you I caught in the Lorehaven Studios yesterday, hastily scribbling another criticism on a Post-It note? 😉 I kid, but seriously, we thank you for listening and for sharing the episode, criticism and all. That’s healthy stuff.

      However, I believe your highly specific criticism (that our guest was “political” and that he wrongly criticized Du Mez’s work) is disproportionate to the episode’s actual content. One would think we did a whole takedown of Jesus and John Wayne. Rather, our guest hardly mentioned this, or his negative review of that book.

      We’ve already engaged your criticism elsewhere. It’s perfectly fair for you to criticize the podcast because it’s public content—just like it’s perfectly fair for Young or anyone else to disagree publicly with the Du Mez book. But let me add a few other remarks:

      (1) “I disagree” is not a substantive rebuttal. Young has documented the origins or postmodernism, its philosophical milieu, and deconstructionism, its newest application. Moreover, I’ve read several negative reviews of Du Mez’s book, from Young and many others, and seen no response other than social media blocking and false accusations of bad motives (which strike me as uniquely cultural-fundie separatist methods).

      (2) “There are no professional deconstructors” is dramatic overstatement. This line attempts to prove too much, and so it’s easily dismissed. If someone is trying to be an influencer, write books, appear on podcasts, or even (in the case of Joshua Harris) try to sell a whole package for aspiring “deconstructors,” that’s an attempt to go pro.

      (3) So is “there’s no leftist agenda in Dr. DeMuse [sic] book.” This argument attempts to prove too much. Notwithstanding the fact that we barely even mentioned that particular book, I’d ask these questions: What would a “leftist agenda” in a book look like? Would you disagree with a “leftist agenda” if you found it? Did you notice we weren’t speaking mainly about political labels like “right” and “left,” but about truth foundations—the Logos of the gospel versus the “everything is all about words and power” of postmodern deconstructionism? Then we mostly talked about superheroes?

      (4) If “power and influence corrupt” (always?) then everyone is vulnerable to this charge. Our podcast has some influence, so we’re corrupted. Your comment is an attempt to influence, so you’re corrupted too. Du Mez or any other author who attempts to identify this problem and gain influence to persuade other readers, is also corrupted. This will not do. Sin does not permanently infect God’s gift of power and influence any more than sin can permanently infect God’s gifts of imagination and empathy. I must dismiss this “power always corrupts” line as a nonsense argument. I think there’s real hurt behind it, but this hurt should lead to healing and better thinking.

      (5) Over on Twitter, my cohost Zack has explained why we invited Young to the show and how his input absolutely serves our purpose. That’s also clear from the discussion itself. From here, it seems his very existence as a critic of one favorite author was enough for you to disqualify him. I can’t view this as a valid criticism. But (as I mentioned on FB), we’d welcome any substantive engagement with his views.

      Finally, might I ask as graciously as possible whether you’ve not overcorrected from one kind of harmful hero worship (of other evangelical leaders) to another kind? It’s not healthy to have such high regard for any author or spiritual influencer. For my part, I learn from and respect many Christian teachers, but share public disagreements (however minor) with every one of them. If you don’t have such disagreements, or find yourself wanting to defend one person from the slightest hint of public criticism, that should set off your alarm bells. You’re doomed for another round of disappointments! The only Leader who will never disappoint you is Jesus Christ Himself. I would urge you to follow only Him as intensely as you here defend any flawed human influencer.

What say you?