29 July 2005

BlogSpotting: no longer a mere fad; now a classic tradition

  • Loki Odinsson agrees with me on matters of faith, but not practice. It seems he doesn't like my choice of shirts.
  • Steve "Purple" Hays may think of himself as "a Lilliputian," but he writes Gulliver-length posts. It's no fun to be downhill from one of his word-avalanches.
  • Joe Carter thinks the bad ideas that become fixtures are more deadly than faddism per se. He makes some good points, steps on some toes, and riles a few people. One guy in the comment thread thinks Calvinism is as dangerous as any fad. Another commenter is "really sick to death of the bashing of ... many of the very items that are reaching some of the unreached." Then the critic who hates criticism indignantly asks, "What ideas do you have to reach unreached people?" Joe replies: "Um, share the Gospel? Share Christ? Something like that perhaps?" Interesting discussion, and a revealing window into how rank-and-file evangelicals tend to think about these things. The argument for fads is invariably rooted in the weight of numbers: Look how many people are being "reached" by this. How can you criticize that? Thus almost any fad can become immune from criticism simply by being popular enough. Here's the point I have been trying to make: That's broad-road religion. It's what Jesus preached against. (See Matthew 7:13-27; Luke 13:23-24; Matthew 20:16; 22:14; 1 John 5:19, etc.)
  • Gavin, our friend in Perth, introduces us to a real find. It's The Aussie Bible, and it's no joke. Target audience seems to be Aussie drongos who are not the full quid. Here's an excerpt:

    Bonzer Tucker for a Fair Dinkum Mob (Mark 6:31-44)
    Jesus said to his team, "Come on out to the desert for a bit, so you can have some kip." (There was such a big mob hanging around they didn't even have time for a bite to eat.)

    They hopped in the skiff and rowed around the shore to a quiet spot in the scrub. But the mob saw them leave, and recognised them, and took off on foot. So people from all the townships got there ahead of them.

    When Jesus came ashore he saw this enormous mob, and felt sorry for them because they were like a bunch of aimless sheep with no one to keep on eye on them. He started talking to them, and gave them the good oil on a whole lot of things.

    Late in the arvo his team came to him and said, "This is dry mallee country, and it's getting pretty late. Let the mob pop off so they can buy themselves some tucker from local properties or townships.

    Jesus answered, "You feed them." They protested, "Do you want us to spend 200 smackers to buy enough bread for this lot?"

    He said, "Well how much bread is here? Go and check." They did so and said, "Five little pannikin loaves of damper—and a couple of fish."

    ...There were about 5,000 blokes in that mob.

  • Samuel at "The Adagio County Independent" thinks the forty days of Jabez should be left behind. Good line. But Samuel's not kissing up to be BlogSpotted.
  • Rhett Smith is the very model of a postmodern college minister. It's interesting to watch him wrestle with evangelical faddism from the paradigm of a young emerging church leader.
  • Ben Wright got a kick out of the Biblezine parodies.
  • Cindy Swanson wants my take on Matthew Fox. Easy. He'd go in the "Really, Really Bad Theology" section of my bookmarks. It's a no-brainer, really. Anyone who draws a connection between a document like this and Luther's 95 Theses does not deserve to be taken seriously as a theologian. In his capacity as a theological wolf, however, he ought to be taken very seriously.
  • Keith Plummer coins a useful word: Kitschianity.
  • Nathan White reminds us of the true priority.
  • Matthew Self finds "some good non-PyroManiac related blogging out there.
  • Chris at "Nihil Fit" has the perfect corrective for runaway faddism: read old books.
  • Tim Challies says I've gone from being flavor of the month to flavor of the week. Dan Edelen, posting in Challies' comment thread, figures that's enough to make me a fad.

Phil's signature


Chris Meirose said...

Enough with the blogspotting...we want more Wrigley content!

Really, I'm always surprized with the number of blogs I read that seem to be blogspotted by you. I don't know what that says about me/you/them...

Big Chris
Because I said so blog

Char said...

I just have to say for all the posting and commenting about marketing and fads, none of them-gangsta bible, australia bible, et and cet-are all that bad, (comparatively that is)-for me, this takes the cake:


Well so far anyway. Even a bunch of non-Christians thought they were sacriligious! :P
Sorry it's only sort of OT, just had to post that as the recent postings made me think of it.

Kay said...

the Aussie Bible?

Fairly tame compared to the Cockney Bible, and my personal favourite, the Black Country Bible, which has the 5000 say something like "Bostin' Grub, Jesus"

Tara a bit, like.

Tim Challies said...

Now that's not fair. The more important part of what I said is that people really ought to read your posts about the Fad Driven Church. The part about you continuing your reign as flavor of the week was secondary! :)


Jeff Blogworthy said...

I'm curious about a couple of more things:

Is/was Evangelism Explosion a fad? I suspect Joe Carter would rag on it heavily.

How about the ID movement?

I think these things have their place. I am curious about the opinions of others.

Scribe said...

All this blogspotting seems to me to be a form of self-glorification masking as discourse. I used to think this was an interesting blog. Now it seems merely solipsistic.

Dave said...

solipsistic? I need to go get my dictionary to underztand this "neopuritan" who is so above above us.

solipsisism - the theory or view that the self is the only reality.

Yep, that what I think when I read Phil's posts... puuleeeese! Is that all you have to complain about?

I am just enough egocentric that I would be honored to BlogSpotted by the ubiquitous PyroManiac!

Steve Weaver said...

Ha, I was almost blogspotted on Challies.com! At least I was standing near someone who was blogspotted (in the comments section). This is one of Phil's list on which I wouldn't mind being listed.

Kim said...

You can't be a fad, Phil. To be a real fad you have to have your books sold at Costco or Price Club. I don't know as if any book you wrote would be a big seller at the local big box stores.

Ann said...

The Aussie Bible reminded me of the Pidgen English Bible we saw in the airport gift shop on Maui. Have you ever seen that one?

Anonymous said...

Ann, I believe you may be talking about "Da Jesus Book", which was produced by Wycliffe Bible Translators.

Dan Edelen said...


Truth be told, because we're all bloggers, we're all a fad. But in an astonishing similarity to the pigs in Orwell's Animal Farm some of us bloggers are more faddish than others.

As for me, my blog Cerulean Sanctum was faddish for about a picosecond. ;)

Scribe said...

To "Reformer" - you might invest in a better dictionary. "Solipsistic" is synonymous with self-centeredness. The Shorter Oxford Dictionary offers an example: "He thought he was the only person who mattered."

As far as being "above above" you, well, I'm 5'5", so I'm usually below everyone else. Sorry to ruffle your feathers.

Habitans in Sicco said...

As in: "Pardon me, Phil, but your solipsism is showing."

I happen to agree. I'm right with you, neoPuritan. All this blogspotting and Phil hasn't linked to MY blog yet. How could he get any more self-centered than THAT?

Loki Odinsson said...

Oh, sure... just yesterday I was complimentary, but you have to go back and BlogSpot the post in which I ridicule your shirt. As Tim said, that's not fair!

Dave said...

neopuritan, we have more in common than I thought... I am a whopping 5'5" as well

My defitition for Solipsistic was qouted from the American Heritage Dictionary - obviously sub par. I'll have to get one of those new faddish dictionaries...

Having some fun!

Frank Martens said...


I totally agree with you, and can you give a small list of verses where Christ specifically preaches against broad religion? (Maybe edit your post)


Joe said...

so·lip·sism: a theory holding that the self can know nothing but its own modifications and that the self is the only existent thing.

Joe said...

pi·co·sec·ond: one trillionth of a second

David Ponter said...

As an Australian, I feel I must express that the term is properly smackeroos, not smackers.

I just wanted to make sure we are all straight on this point.


Frank Martens said...

Ra-ra-rock on! Thanks Phil

FX Turk said...


(1) That's the funniest comment on the blog.

(2) I's appreciate it if you stopped using that picture of my mother as your avatar.

puritanicoal said...

Here's what John Owen wrote about the fads of his day (17th century)in "Mortification of Sin in Believers":

"I cannot but by the way complain of many professors of these days, who, instead of bringing forth such great and evident fruits of mortification [of sin] as are expected, scarce bear any leaves of it. There is, indeed, a broad light fallen upon the men of this generation, and together therewith many spiritual gifts communicated, which . . . have wonderfully enlarged the bounds of professors and profession [i.e., church growth?]. . . Hence there is a noise of religion and religious duties in every corner . . .What shall we say of some who would be accounted religious and yet despise the gospel light . . .?"

My interpretation: Owen is "complaining" about professors, i.e., those who profess to be Christians, yet are not focusing on killing sin, but only sounding religious, while skirting the "gospel light." Ouch.

For those who think the subject matter of this blog is but a fad, if it is, it is yet an old fad that has stood the test of time. (See also Paul's letter to the Galations).

"Be killing sin or it will be killing you." -- J. Owen

Phil Johnson said...

Char: thanks for the link. If you pursue the links into the site, you'll see that they have more products yet to come. But the thing that cracked me up was the Companion Journal and Workbook. "Now you can record your experience while standing on the word of God!"

On the other hand, why not blog about one's experiences with In-Souls®? It would certainly earn a place on my blogroll.

...in the appalling category.

For those clamoring to know a sure-fire method of getting on the PyroManiac blogroll, there it is.

Chris Meirose said...

I knew a girl in Jr. High who would write scripture on her shoes, but those take the cake. She didn't reach many people though, as her family was part of a cult/church of the type that thought the only people going to heaven were those who worshipped inside the 4 walls of their church. There was a "big" local news story on problems some people had when they tried to escape this "church" around that same time.

Big Chris
Because I said so blog

Brian said...

I am going to tell you right now that calling everything a fad is the real fad.

I can remember when people told me digital cameras were a fad, I laughed.

I can remember when people told me the internet was a fad, I laughed.

I can remember when people told me computers were a fad, video games were a fad, the list goes on and on and each time I would laugh.

Now I get to hear people tell me blogs are a fad and yet again, I laugh.


Mick Porter said...

As an Aussie, I can tell you that I'll be leaving the Aussie Bible to the drongos :)