How did this book, of all books, end up in the “Read Me” collection at all, let alone read ahead of all the others?
Funny story …
I have been practicing not taking the “someone is wrong on the internet” bait. It’s a severe discipline.
Sometimes, though, I still get hooked.
I got seriously hooked the other day – hooked as in bleeding from the mouth in the bass boat bilge hooked – on how WRONG someone was on the INTERNET about the relationship of the New Testament to the Old Testament.
So hooked that I composed a long comment on Someone’s wrong blog post, articulating my passionate shock and amazement at their heinous wrongness in tones of ever-so-superior learning. As providence would have it, I regained consciousness just in time, remembered that the internet is forever, deleted everything and left a reference to a good book instead. [Bad enough, probably.]
It was a close call. And I was still so-o-o hooked that I felt compelled to compose what was, in my own eyes at least, a scathingly brilliant and clearly doctrinally superior point-by-point response to this appalling internet wrongness.
However, because of my prior commitments, in particular the one to accuracy, this compulsion further compelled me to do research before posting this brilliance on my own blog.
Nothing TOO involved. Just double checking a few facts, and tracking down the Wrong One’s references …
Because references are signals of context, and context is everything.
In this case, what I learned about the context from the references was that most of what I objected to in the offending internet post seemed to have its source in a recently-published book: Irresistible, by Andy Stanley. Moreover, it turned out the book had generated a lot of buzz, mostly, it seemed, in evangelical or “evangelical” circles. [Maybe I wasn’t the only one who was hooked.]
So now, based on the buzzing book reviews I was reading, on the internet of course, I was even more hooked. Now I had it on good internet authority that Stanley was [as good as] a modern-day Marcionite. Since I have been passionately opposing the modern-day manifestations of the Marcionite heresy at my church for the last 20 years or so, that is, ever since I learned that there was such a thing as the Marcionite heresy to oppose, I was pretty sure that I needed to oppose Irresistible by Andy Stanley, too. Passionately.
But, again in deference to the prior commitments, not wanting to be one of Those People who get all passionate about how wrong a book is that they haven’t even read, I could only see one next step at that point, so …
Long story short: Irresistible jumped the queue.
Because I was high on “someone is wrong on the internet” juice.
It could have been worse, I suppose. Irresistible was worth reading, and gave me a lot to think about, despite my still-profound disagreements with some of Stanley’s actual (in contrast to rumored) positions.
Not least of which is why this, of all things, would be the piece of internet wrongness that hooked me this way. Why would someone saying “the New Testament > the Old Testament” send me off on a week-long “WRONG!!” binge? There’s the fact worth checking out. Because my experience has been that tracking down the source of a reaction like this always teaches me something.
Often, it’s something I need to know.