Monday, October 18, 2004

"Stop...You're hurting us."

If you have not yet seen Jon Stewart take the Crossfire guys to task, do yourself a favor and watch it -- link here.

Which makes me ask: Is Jon Stewart angry? (Rhetorical question -- the answer is yes.) But, is it OK for him to be angry? I mean, when he is firmly convinced that shows like "Crossfire" are hurting our democracy, that all they do is allow spin-meisters and political hucksters and sloganeers to come on and shout at each other, that they're about theater, not debate -- I mean, if he's convinced of all these things, then is he right to be angry?

I only ask this because lately I've heard a wave of, "You're so angry," and "You emergent people are so angry." To which I say, if you're not at least a little angry at the impotence of the church, then there's something wrong with you.

I sometimes wonder if the you're-so-angry defense is really a duck, so one does not have to deal with the real issues that the emergent church is raising. As a parallel, watch the clip and see how Begala and Carlson refuse to talk to Stewart about what he wants to talk about.


Blogger Phil Hull said...

John Stewart does have a right to be angry about shows like Crossfire. They add nothing to honest political debate in this country.

I agree that everyone should be angry with the Church as it is right now. Every week I flip past Jack VanImpe or the 700 Club and I want to smash the television. Those who are saying we're too angry are the ones who are too comfortable with the status quo.

Just remember, if God never changes, why should any of his people?

9:57 AM  
Blogger Jon said...

of course he has the "right" to be angry, but should he be angry. i think there is just cause for him to be angry. of course, i am angry about the same thing, so that is probably just a way of rationalizing my own anger. maybe validating is a better term. that was how i got so into emergent. there were older, smarter, people who were angry about the same things i was angry about, and emergent validated my anger.

i believe there is just cause to be angry at the u.s. american church, because i cannot speak for the church elsewhere, because of the effects it had on my life and those i am connected to. i see how churches in my town are crippling people this very moment. it angers me.

however, some people that are the church, are doing good things that encourage me. these are individuals and communities that are going against the system and i hang my anger on that and am encouraged. paul urged the church in ephesus to not go to sleep angry at their community. i think there is a time when emergent will need to be a post-anger entity, but i don't think that time has come yet. i could be wrong on that.

last thing. stewarts anger seems to come from his love for america and what she could/should be. emergent's anger stems from a love for the church, the bride of christ. we know what is possible and what is attainable and when we see that not happening something needs to be done about it.

10:26 AM  
Blogger Jason_73 said...

Go emergent, Go Go emergent.

11:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree - a little anger can be healty - but where it turns the corner is the issue - will it be constructive or destructive to the unity of the church...I hope my indignation for the status quo translates into real change - not just tired rants.
Brian O

11:57 AM  
Blogger timsamoff said...

Anger or not, I think Stewart had a lot of useful, thought-provoking things to say -- actual action-words as opposed to just sitting and yapping. What a great little piece of American history this will be! :)

12:38 PM  
Blogger CaptainRome said...

Stewart was on the money. I wonder, though, if the criticism from Carlson and Begala (that Stewart doesn't ask tough enough questions) might be legitimate. Does Stewart hide behind the facade of comedy central? Does he use his format and station as an excuse not to do the work that he exhorted CNN to engage in?

2:54 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

What an amazing clip! Not only is Jon Stewart one of the best comedians working today, his show (for all his down playing on Crossfire) is usually more astutely political than serious shows like Crossfire or legitimate news. With all the election news coming out of the US, Stewart was one of the first to produce the actual clip of Dick Cheney saying "there's tanglable evidence of a link between Iraqi and 911." Something the man is STILL denying he ever said.

7:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ya, i'm not sure why all the hostility towards evangelical church? does this stem from people being hurt and offended by others during their time in a congregation classified as such?

please educate me on this. thanks!

3:34 PM  
Blogger Bill Bean said...

bee you tuh fool

6:56 PM  
Blogger Chris Enstad said...

First of all, I'm going to come right out and say it, I actually like watching Jack van Impe... he's interesting and I want to memorize the Bible like him but not for the same reasons... mine would be merely to be able to verse back at those who verse me! ;)

Second, there is not as much anger towards the evangelical church as there is disappointment. What many emergent folks have grown up with is entertainment evangelism and now, as they are entering into adulthood, they are perhaps wondering why the church played around with the reality of Jesus Christ. There's a difference between what people deal with in their real lives and a youth group that uses Brown-Eyed Girl to introduce Jesus who died on the cross.

It's not a game.

7:29 AM  
Blogger Mike Clawson said...

I think there is cause to be angry (both at the media and at the evangelical church). However, if we truly desire to effect change, sometimes our anger needs to be checked so that our message will be heard. It's too easy to shut out what someone is saying because of the way that it's said. If us in the emerging church want to change the hearts and minds of at least some people in the evangelical church then we need to communicate our anger in a demeanor of love and humility. This is one of the reasons I love going to hear Brian McLaren speak, he's amazingly humble and respectful towards those he disagrees with, but at the same time he doesn't pull any punches. His is a model of discourse that I want to learn from and emulate.

-Mike Clawson

9:22 AM  
Blogger jen lemen said...

armchair psychologist here. don't you think anger is an emotion that just emerges from time to time, with or without reasoned explanations? it can't be right or wrong--it just is. people who care about you want to understand why you're mad, and if you find yourself making a career out of being angry, then nine times out of ten, most chronically mad people want to figure out why.

jon stewart appears to be mad because his values have been violated (common NF crisis for you myers-briggs fans) and all the logic in the world won't make sense out of that. it just is. stewart wasn't acting destructively with his anger--no broken bones or chairs flying, but by all the buzz generated by this, you wouldn't know the difference.

jon stewart's drama aside, imho, the church (emerging included) is still uncomfortable with unbridled angst. somewhere in our judeo-christian tradition we've equated christian with nice, and expressing anger (at least the in your face, not exactly passive aggressive kind) is still considered the worst character flaw ever. as a result, we try to decide when our anger is justified, effective or necessary. and that makes for a lot of pent-up hostility with an emotion that just is.

but that's my very unprofessional opinion.

11:47 AM  
Blogger jen lemen said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:47 AM  
Blogger dave p said...

"My show is preceded by puppets making crank phone calls!"

Stewart was (rightly) mad because his show is taken more seriously and is seen as more honest than the talking heads everywhere else, especially Crossfire.

I loved the way the hosts thought he would eventually drop the angry "act" and be the funny Jon Stewart they expected. And then he didn't. Heh. What was that line - something like "I won't be your monkey?"

Now class, in what other field are people taking "non-traditional" means more seriously than the "traditional"?
(Hmm, could it be... religion?)

4:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree anger is very much a God-given emotion as Jesus himself exhibited – at times with the Pharisees, the moneychangers, even confronting Satan himself. What I wonder about is the unfriendly contrast some paint of those within ‘the emerging church’ vs. ‘the evangelicals’ – which last I checked ranges from Baptists to Lutherans to members of the Charismatic and Assemblies of God movements. What happened to just being a disciple?

What I’m interested in examining is the root of such hostility towards someone even as intense as Jack Van Impe. While his approach might seem radical to some (or many) why should his ministry be any less effective or Christ-like because of it? Is it so unthinkable that he might just be reaching some poor soul in search of Truth? Yet a ‘seeker-friendly’ or ‘let’s be sensitive to everyone’s world view’ ministry who dares not confront a Muslim or Buddhist during one of today’s chic ecumenical roundtables for fear of offending them with the Truth is somehow superior or more inline with Jesus’ methods of reaching humanity? I have to wonder if the anger is truly some Righteous rebuke or self-righteous fashion.

What would we find if we were to track the time we spend praying for those proposed to be in error and failing the body, beside the time we spend speaking, thinking and writing critically about such?


10:49 PM  

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