7 rules that Christians must break

Rev. Jonathan Fisk, the young pastor known for his lively  Worldview Everlasting videos, has published a book entitled Broken – Seven “Christian” Rules That Every Christian Ought to Break as Often as Possible.  This is a book that needs to get into the hands of Christians who are emergent, burnt out, disillusioned, lapsed, millennial, cynical, and the pastors who minister to them.  What are the 7 rules that need to be broken?Well, it’s not quite as easy as just listing them apart from understanding what Rev. Fisk is trying to do in this book.  He argues that Christians often get entangled in 7 misunderstandings or misperceptions that distort what Christianity is actually about.  These misunderstandings, in turn, manifest themselves in different rules that Christians think they have to follow.  But following these rules results in spiritual problems and frustrations.  Actually, Christians need to break these rules, which they can do by the power of the Gospel and the truths of God’s Word.

So instead of listing the rules, I will list the 7 areas that Rev. Fisk takes on:

(1)  Mysticism; the notion that “you can find God in your heart:  the worship of your emotions.”

(2)  Moralism;  the notion that “you can find God in your hands:  the worship of your works.”

(3)  Rationalism; the notion that “you can find God with your mind:  the worship of your thoughts.”

(4)  Prosperity:  the notion that “you can find God in this world:  the worship of mammon.”

(5)  Churchology:  the notion that “you can find God in churches:  the worship of spirituality.”

(6)  Freedom:  the notion that “you can find God in God’s absence:  the worship of Lawlessness.”

(7)  Counterfeit Christianity:  the notion that “you can find God:  the worship of yourself.”

What is left, you might ask?  Well, God finding us.  Christ.  The Cross.  The Atonement.  The Gospel.  God’s Word and Sacraments.

A book about the need to “break rules” might be thought to be antinomian, rejecting God’s law and good works, but this certainly is not.  In fact, antinomianism is the subject of #6.   In #5, I’m sure that Rev. Fisk understands God’s presence in church.  What he refers to there is the idea that all I have to do is just find the perfect church, the impulse that takes many people to Roman Catholicism or Eastern Orthodoxy (and Lutheranism, I suppose, though one finds that it isn’t “perfect”).

The book is lucidly written, full of personal experiences, vivid descriptions, and striking explanations. The style is taken over from Rev. Fisk’s well known videos, so the language is conversational to the point of being slangy (my main complaint about the book, which has the makings of a classic except that it will have to be revised every year or so, since nothing seems more outdated than once-fashionable language that has gone out of fashion).  The book has all kinds of graphics and visual flourishes (which I will tolerate this time).  But it communicates and it connects.

Broken comes down on the side of confessional Lutheranism, which for Rev. Fisk offers a framework for the Christian life that avoids these dangers,  but you don’t have to be a Lutheran to profit from this book.

 

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Kathy M.

    Just finished reading this book for a second time. I like what Rev. Fisk says and agree with his arguments. I also agree with Dr. Veith regarding the language. I am a literature major and homeschool mom, who has read a lot…while I related to most of his literary and slangy language, sometimes I was wanting Rev. Fisk to be a little more concrete and less abstract in making his points.

    Broken is a good book for a group to read and discuss as it addresses a lot of issues that plague the church.

  • James Sarver

    Kind of like how all the Commandments point back to the 1st Commandment, all Rev. Fisk’s categories point to his last one, worship of self. Focus on my emotions/works/thoughts/money/spirituality/choice = “it’s all about me”. I suspect that no matter how nicely it is stated people don’t want to be told to get over themselves.

  • Karen

    So he also has “broken” the rules of good writing? I have only had time to read the first section, but this is a terrific resource. Several high school/college students (including my son), are reading and discussing the work -on their own- To God be the Glory!

  • Joe

    I just started reading it. Like it so far.

  • larry

    This is a great book. Its title is almost misleading in a good way. Rev. Fisk writes in an earthy style which is great for getting concepts across. That does not mean its not neath. To the contrary the book goes very deep especially regarding the root of original and what sin is. One of the key lines in the book, my paraphrase, that we will seek God and to worship him in everything except where he has SPOKEN.

  • Mockingbird

    I agree that the content of the book is great, but to be honest I’m not sure how many of my teens would plow through it, simply because it is very slangy and he often takes three pages to say what could have been said in one. Then he repeats himself.

    Again, the content is great, and I like the format of addressing the “isms”. I’m just not sure the video format translated well to the printed page.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    I found it an enjoyable read that made some concepts people would feel daunting rather easy to grasp. The conversational style of writing really helps with the approachability and will appeal to the set of the church that has never read anything deeper than Max Lucado. I think this is a good thing because maybe we can start weaning them off the milk and move them to real solid food.

  • mikeb

    I got this book for Christmas, thanks to my lovely bride, but have been so busy with work I haven’t got to read it. If you haven’t checked out Worldview everlasting do so–and share it with your friends. He does an excellent job of teaching.

  • Thalion

    I thought the language was fitting. However, I recognize that the book was directed at my age group specifically, so I understand that different age groups may feel differently about the tone of the book itself, but not in the areas of the book where the Gospel was proclaimed. In those particular sections, I felt the language was very concrete and could not be said better.

    I also really liked the art, much of it(not all!) reminds me of stain glass artwork and was very beautiful, but again that is only my opinion.

  • Thalion

    Dr. Luther in he 21st century #7,
    Very well said! I agree, American Christians do need to be “weened” away from the inability to read complicated writing. The issue is such that cannot be done quickly.

  • Heidi

    As a visual processor, while I appreciated the woodcuts and Monty Python embellishments, I found the bolded and enlarged and prettied-up words very appealing and extremely helpful. I suppose some could find this distracting or babyish or textbook-like, but I was captivated by the substance and style of Pastor Fisk’s printed words pointing directly to God’s Word. Just like the bright, scrolling sign at one of our nearby WELS churches, Broken reminds us in flashy letters the simple message that we don’t find God, God finds us.

    * And Broken reminds us that we would be wise to read or re-read Paradise Lost. Just sayin’.

  • http://www.adcrucem.org Peter Slayton

    If commenters here are willing, it would be wonderful if those of you who loved it could post your review on Amazon and give it a five star rating. That will help get it out there even more. Even just copying and pasting what you posted here would be great. Thanks!

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @#12 I have already done so, just under my first name.

  • http://www.adcrucem.org Peter Slayton

    Awesome! Thanks!

    Also, for new readers here on Patheos who might not be familiar with Pastor Fisk, check out his fan page on Facebook. I don’t know if I can post links here, so just do a search for Worldview Everlasting. You can find out more about him and the videos on theology and pop culture that he puts out each week.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Read it. Loved it. Wrote a review on Amazon.com for it. Have recommended it many a time and lent it out to a family friend.

    This is one that needs to be put into the hands of many, Lutheran and otherwise.

  • https://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    I wrote a review of Pastor Fisk’s interviews about his book : ). Here is what I said about him:

    Confessional Lutherans have very few people who are as gifted communicators as he is, bolstered by his knowledge and critical appraisal of popular American culture – as well as of history and philosophy. Ever creative and insightful – nothing can be boring in his hands! – Fisk’s book will be full of relevant analogies, anecdotes and antidotes. Especially for those who sense evangelicalism’s weaknesses and errors, his message will benefit them greatly. No doubt, Pastor Fisk has succeeded more than any person in my age group (thirtysomethings) to consciously promote Confessional Lutheranism to the wider public.

    After reading the book, I said this:

    Pastor Fisk especially excels at making big ideas accessible to the average modern reader – and has a real gift for speaking so that that non-Lutherans can easily follow him (also: the book does not so much teach Lutheran theology as much as do it – to great effect, I think).

    +Nathan

  • tODD

    I will probably give this book a read, because I’ve enjoyed many of Fisk’s videos — or, rather, parts of them. It sounds from various reviews like the book suffers from the same problem his videos do: a lack of editing. Oh well.

    (I mean, ever since YouTube allowed him to go over 10 minutes, his videos have gotten long — if we’re going to make concessions to a post-literate culture, shouldn’t that also be reflected in our ability to communicate succinctly? Maybe it’s just me, but I rarely want to set aside 20 minutes to spend watching a video beginning-to-end.)

    And since I haven’t read it yet, I’ll just go ahead and note that I’m not really crazy about the design CPH went with on this book. I can tell they wanted to have fun and do something “zany” in keeping with Fisk’s videos, but, well, it kind of looks like old people trying to be hip (especially the “wacky” antiquated-y woodcuts.) Actually, the cover most reminded me of the Old 97′s “Fight Songs” album. But whatever.

    Fans of Paul T. McCain will enjoy perusing the reviews over at Amazon. Especially how he has taken the time to berate many of the reviewers who dared to give the book less than five stars, in one case going so far as to try to unmask the identity of the man who gave it its sole two-star rating. That seems like a winning strategy, for a publisher to be so personally involved like that.

  • SKPeterson

    May I also suggest checking out Grace Upon Grace by John Kleinig?

    http://www.amazon.com/Grace-Upon-Spirituality-Today/dp/0758613040

    It is a great book on spirituality and how its true expression is grounded in the words of God found in the liturgy, in our study of the Bible , and in daily prayer. It is a fairly easy read which addresses several of the ‘isms” noted by Fisk.

    I also enjoy Fisk’s videos and actually like the longer form. I was also going to go out on a limb and say that the person giving Fisk 2 stars on Amazon (Ray P. Lanthier) was probably Pr. Brian Wolfmueller or Pr. Bill Cwirla, just because they would probably enjoy the opportunity to tweak both Fisk and McCain in one fell swoop. The I read some of Ray P.’s reviews. He had this to say about the latest novel by Dean Koontz: “A New Epic Masterpiece” giving it 5 stars. Dean Koontz. Five stars. He also has a review of Sid Meier’s Civilization, which I sincerely hope he is not using to criticize Rev. Fisk with this sort of comment: “Actually his knowledge of history, culture and theology rapidly diminishes in direct proportion to their distance from Star Wars.” Maybe Ray P. could get a position writing reviews for the journal Sacramone is now editing.

  • Hanni

    I have already ordered this book from Amazon. BTW, many reviews there are phony, paid for by author, and/or designed by others to destroy the book’s popularity. I see, however, that A is trying to correct that, by saying in some instances that the reviewer has PURCHASED the book.

  • Booklover

    I was very disappointed to find out it was not out on nook. That is the only way I buy my books ever since a flood destroyed most of them.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @19 I will have you know my reviews are genuine imitation artificial reviews. 8)

  • http://reformation500.wordpress.com/ Andrew

    I have to disagree with Dr. Veith. The language is more than slangy. This book misses a huge opportunity to be just what the doctor ordered for the church today. The writing, instead of being slangy and up to date, is rather childish. The analogies are lame and the metaphors get mixed (for example: are we looking for the “(w)here church” or is the church an old lady?). If that sounds confusing, well, it is. This book is written in such a way that, if I were to turn in something of similar quality to an 8th grade English teacher, I would be shocked to receive more than a C for a grade. This book should be recalled, updated and edited by somebody who knows what he is doing, and re-released as the poignant and timely work for which we were hoping.
    That is part of the problem though. It seems as though everyone is pretending that this book is what we were all hoping it would be. It is not. The tedious, puerile prose contained in this book is almost painful to read. I was, to say the least, sorely disappointed.

  • http://www.adcrucem.org Peter Slayton

    Seriously? Wow. That seems quite harsh! And I don’t think you are correct when you assume that all of us who loved it are “pretending”. It is what I hoped it would be. Perhaps it is not your style of writing. Or not directed at your demographic, whatever that may be. But to then say that all of us aren’t being honest in our assessment is going too far.

  • Kathy M.

    @23 Peter, don’t get me wrong. I like the book, have read it twice and am rereading my underlines and margin notes. However, you say above that it was directed at a demographic. Isn’t that one of those church growth rules that should be broken – targeting demographics?

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Andrew @ 22,
    While I would say that Fisk does overuse the analogies at time in his book, I’d hardly call the language in it “childish.” The language is quite appropriate more often than not, and conveys its points across quite well most of the time.

    I think you should be a little more charitable about this book, perhaps read it again a little more carefully. Fisk is taking theology and puts it in the language of a non-theologian. That’s a good thing.

  • http://reformation500.wordpress.com/ Andrew

    The writing in the book is poor to the level of being embarrassing. Pastor Fisk is capable of much better. Perhaps I have been too harsh; but I don’t see how a professional could put his name on something like that and charge money for it. It wasn’t a youtube video. It was a book. Let me say that I didn’t mean to accuse people of dishonesty; though I can see why you took my statement that way. I meant to say that people seem to think it is a great book because they were expecting a great book. The fact of the matter is that it is not a great book. It isn’t even a mediocre book. That is too bad because it is a book that had to be written. The ideas in the book are all very good. It’s just a good example of poor writing.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @#26 If you do not like the style that is fine. But to say that it is at the level of being embarrassing is too much. Personally, I think it is a good example of that style of writing. Sure it does not have an academic ring to it but it was very readable and for the most part was quite clear. It had a few sections I had to reread but then most books do.

  • Thalion

    Andrew @#26 Perhaps (and correct me if I am wrong, I am making an assumption) it is possible that you are out of touch with American youth. This is a book I have recommended to a great many of my friends, most of them are between 17-40, and there are quite a few who struggle with reading (in my personal opinion this is one of the great pitfalls American youth have) to the point that they cannot read paragraphs without difficulty. This is extremely embarrassing for them, and often they react by avoiding reading altogether. “Broken” provides a solution for them, a way out. The book gives them a connection to a world of Theology, doctrine, history, philosophy and many other subjects that they have not been able to indulge in previously because of the difficulties they have. In my personal opinion, this is the books greatest strength, that the average guy can read it without much difficulty! So the next time you bash a writing because you consider it “elementary” (it’s elementary, my dear Watson! :D ) consider looking around instead of simply demanding that the books you read be tailored to you personally and your reading level. Look around and see that there are so many Americans (ESPECIALLY, ESPECIALLY MEN!) who struggle with reading literature.

  • http://reformation500.wordpress.com/ Andrew

    My problem is not that the book lacks an academic ring. My problem is that the writing is so banal that I could scarcely make it through a single page without rolling my eyes, groaning, or both at least once. I honestly don’t know what you mean when you say “that style of writing”. What style? I keep hearing the term “conversational” bandied about. If I were having a conversation with someone who talked the way “Broken” is written, I would have to excuse myself from the room out of sheer boredom. I’ll not spend anymore time here belaboring the point; but this book is just poorly written. Pastor Fisk makes the fatal mistake of trying to be clever, and very often, fails as a result. This book is, as I said, tedious and just plain not well written. Understand me, I believe he could do much better. I am not taking anything away from his abilities. Alas, I don’t know how CPH let this thing get out the door. My guess is they wanted to capitalize on Pastor Fisk’s modest but growing celebrity and they hurried. They should have said “This is a good idea, Pr. Fisk. Now go back and write it well. Then we can talk publication.”

  • http://reformation500.wordpress.com/ Andrew

    Thalion @28 It’s not about reading comprehension level. It’s just a poorly written book. It’s bad. I was hoping to be able to recommend it to friends myself; but I wouldn’t be able to do it with a straight face. I would be embarrassed. As for being out of touch with the 17-40 crowd I am 35 and hired and worked with a lot of teenage boys at my last job. While I may not get it all, I have at least a passing familiarity with the young man’s mindset. But as I said, it isn’t about reading level. It’s just really bad writing. I found the book to be exceptionally difficult to read, in part because the insultingly bad analogies were worse than a fillet knife in the eye of my mind. Or something like that…

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @#29 I guess we read different books. I found it very easy to read and fairly easy to follow. And I have no problem recommending it to people.

  • William

    @#30 My dear fellow get over yourself.

  • http://reformation500.wordpress.com/ Andrew

    @32 I’ll try, but in the event that I am able to do so, we will still be left with a sub-par book.

  • Thalion

    Andrew @#30
    Ok, I can understand that you don’t like the book. That’s your opinion. That’s fine. I personally prefer to read fiction to nonfiction, and I won’t let anyone tell me otherwise, so I understand when you don’t like a book. What I cannot understand is speaking negatively about the book because you* found it difficult to read due to bad writing. As I cited before, there a great many number of young men (and women, don’t get me wrong, difficulty reading is not singular to the male gender, although I would argue that men have been much more heavily effected by the this issue) I know that struggle immensely with reading, and trashing on the books that they enjoy or found helpful in beginning to step into reading. Especially guys who are often proud and have difficulty admitting that something like reading is difficult for them, again this is extremely embarrassing and some will refuse to read altogether rather than face the issue that they struggle with reading. Really, it is a serious problem for American teenagers.
    “So he also has “broken” the rules of good writing? I have only had time to read the first section, but this is a terrific resource.” Karen points out that Fisk “breaks the rules of writing” So what? The book is drawing people [Tarzans and Janes(Now there's a bad analogy for you :P )] towards the idea that maybe reading isn’t so bad and that maybe it is possible for them to understand. Maybe you didn’t like the analogies, but in my experience, kids that have read it, enjoyed it, and found the analogies easy to understand. Perhaps it’s a generation IY thing. Not trying to be rude, I just think that when evaluating a book it’s important to keep in mind that ther are other readers.

  • Thalion

    …”and trashing on the books that they enjoy or found helpful in beginning to step into reading.”
    Somehow the ending for this sentence got edited out, I don’t know why. ahh! Anyways:

    Trashing on the books that they enjoy or found helpful in beginning to step into reading is really not helpful.
    Sorry!

  • http://reformation500.wordpress.com/ Andrew

    @34 No need to worry about coming off as rude. I opened the can and I can eat the contents. If I couldn’t take it, I would have no business expressing such strong opinions in this type of forum. So there is no offense taken. You are right that there are other readers; but I am not them. Lying underneath my strong expression here is frustration. I was quite literally angry at certain points because the book, in my view, was just half-assed. It wasn’t that it was written in a lay-friendly way. I expected that. I am okay with that, being a lay person myself. I truly found the book to be dumb. And my comments here are the result of my building frustration over the fact that the Lutheran world is just falling all over itself over this very so-so effort from Pastor Fisk. It isn’t that I feel the book is somehow beneath me. It is that the book is beneath the author. I find that insulting. If the book is helpful to people, I am glad. However I think it could have been helpful to those same people and written in a much less clunky, tedious manner. In fact, I dare say that it would have been more helpful to the people you speak of if it had been written better. Oh well, I have said my piece over and again here.

    Regards all,
    Andrew

  • Gene Veith

    Could we discuss not just the style but the substance of the book? What about those 7 realms of confusion that Fisk cites? (Mysticism, moralism, rationalism, anti-nomianism, etc.) Do you see these tendencies in contemporary Christianity? In yourself? (I know I do.) What does it mean to “break” these “rules’?

  • http://reformation500.wordpress.com/ Andrew

    In terms of what the book addresses it is very timely indeed. I am a mystic, moralist, rationalist, anti-nomian, heretic! These things aren’t just tendencies in contemporary (western anyway) Christianity. They ARE contemporary Christianity. They are contemporary Christianity because they are the expression of the combination of two facts about mankind. First, we are in a state of rebellion against our creator. Second, we are inescapably religious. So we seek to be religious in a way that allows us to maintain our own position as the only true and living God. That was Fisk’s overarching point, I think, and I do appreciate that.

  • Thalion

    Dr. Veith, @#37 What do you think about them? Not to answer a question with a question, but I’m interested in what your thoughts on the substance of the book are?

  • http://reformation500.wordpress.com/ Andrew

    I misused the word “lying” in a post about somebody else’s bad writing. Oops. I meant “laying”. That’s humbling is what that is.

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com John

    I really enjoyed the book, despite that fact that I didn’t like the style (in the interest of fair disclosure, I read Barth and Bavinck for fun, so there ya go). However, I would just add that the fact that so much of this thread is about the style, and not the substance indicates that marketing may have overplayed their hand.

  • Kathy M.

    As per Dr. Veith@37…having not grown up Lutheran, I am familiar with the “rules,” especially mysticism, moralism, and prosperity. I have also encountered the church growth movement, but am not sure which rule it falls under. I find that a book is easy to like if you can relate to it; today, in the LCMS church, I see lifetime Lutherans who want to embrace these rules, especially mysticism and church growth. I am encouraged by Rev. Fisk, an LCMS pastor, who is not falling for the rules, but is pointing them out and steering people to the cross. My question would be, “What is a lay person, not lifetime Lutheran and therefore not seen as having ‘credentials’ to do when faced with LCMS rule keepers in the church who are running the church?”

  • https://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    I’d say Pastor Fisk was not trying to write an academic book, but to connect with the 17-40 demographic or so in particular (others can read to!) – the ones who are basically not well represented in church. I understand some of the complaints here -my wife commented that he “mixed his metaphors” too much. That said, I think the book has a real potential to connect with disenfranchised believers in this age group and beyond. It is a raw, honest, and intellectually penetrating work – even if it is put in language that may strike some as childish. The great thing is that anyone who reads the book is going to be able to understand most all of what he is talking about – and not only is the book a wonderful “Trojan horse” for Lutheranism (as he admits in interviews he has done), but it is a great way to effectively inculcate all kinds of important historical and philosophical content into otherwise bored and shallow minds…. and frankly, I think that accomplishment is amazing! To be able to popularize this kind of penetrating theological anaylsis, is in my view, rather astounding.

    He inspired me to think harder – and to put together a three part series I called a Lutheran anthropology for non-Lutherans (no show what original sin “looks like” in action). See part III here: http://infanttheology.wordpress.com/2013/01/07/a-lutheran-anthropology-for-non-lutherans-my-post-broken-philosophical-and-apologetical-round-up-part-iii-of-iii/

    +Nathan

  • Roger

    To me, what is troubling is that the arguments FOR this book ring so close to the arguments FOR contemporary worship. “He’s reaching a lost demographic.” “He’s connecting with the youth in a fresh way, isn’t that good?” “The kids of today can’t relate to the traditional writings/liturgy/hymns/fill-in-the-blank, so let’s give them something they can relate to.” With contemporary worship, can you separate style from substance? Isn’t the style partially a vehicle for the substance? The same goes for this book. No, I’m not equating it to a Divine Service, but the slangy-trendy substance of this book just reinforces to our young people that they need something new and special, that the “traditional” theological writings (with loads of substance) do not speak to them. That’s the red flag for me.

  • https://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    Roger,

    “but the slangy-trendy substance of this book just reinforces to our young people that they need something new and special, that the “traditional” theological writings (with loads of substance) do not speak to them. That’s the red flag for me.”

    Yes, a good thought here. Is “what you get them with what you keep them with” true here? I don’t know. That said, this book has “loads of substance”, and while I found the language modern and more youth-centric, I did not find it to be juvenile or childish. That said, maybe I just am revealing things about myself here then….

    +Nathan

  • Mockingbird

    “Broken”: Evangelical Style, Lutheran Substance.

  • Tom Hering

    Funny, isn’t it, how we all act with the conviction that style – alone – communicates important things (an example would be what our choice of dress says about us), but when it comes to defending a controversial style, we say it doesn’t matter much.

  • https://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    Perhaps it is best put this way: Fisk and his approach is good for young persons who have fallen away from more historic Christianity but still are willing to hear someone out. He is speaking in a “heart language” so to speak, trying to reach them (although I’m not sure about the “juvenile” charge – I’d like to see some concrete examples of this).

    That said, if you are raising your kids in the faith, taking care to teach them traditional hymns and sermons – and of course using “age-appropriate” songs and stories as well (I am Jesus’ Little Lamb, “Little Visits with God”) – and they are eating it up – even into their teen years… perhaps the only reason you might want them to read Fisk is not so much to strengthen their own faith, but to better get a sense of how to approach persons who have rejected – or have just some curiosity about – that which they never rejected. Yes, it would be better if they simply loved and meditated often on Luther’s catechisms.

    Fisk himself has commented on his videos how they are not solid food by any means – but contain much that is meant to gain person’s attention. I’m sure he’d agree with McLuhan to some extent about the medium affecting the message.

    +Nathan

  • https://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    “that which they never rejected”
    they = your kids

  • Roger

    The style/substance debate should really be explored further. I’d love for Dr. Veith to expound on this and am curious to know if he has read Postman’s “Amusing Ourselves to Death.” In his own review, Dr. Veith even refrained from listing the 7 “Rules” as they stand because Fisk’s attempt at being witty and trendy made the rules seem nonsensical. If we create a whole category of music/literature/youtube videos, and tell a certain demographic that these are just for you and speak to you in a way that nothing else has, we are only widening the divide. Why would they want boring theology books when they can have Star Wars metaphors, cool art (which, to their immense disappointment, did not quite transfer over to e-book form), and jargon which will be outdated within a year? Why would they listen to a boring lecture when they can watch a spastic, fast-paced, pop-culture video? Can the same substance be achieved in a more timeless way? In other words, why choose this style when better ones are available? Why choose a fluffy hymn when a meatier one is available? Why make an effort to dress up for church when jeans are more comfortable?

  • https://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    “If we create a whole category of music/literature/youtube videos, and tell a certain demographic that these are just for you and speak to you in a way that nothing else has, we are only widening the divide. Why would they want boring theology books when they can have Star Wars metaphors, cool art (which, to their immense disappointment, did not quite transfer over to e-book form), and jargon which will be outdated within a year? Why would they listen to a boring lecture when they can watch a spastic, fast-paced, pop-culture video? Can the same substance be achieved in a more timeless way? In other words, why choose this style when better ones are available?”

    To the last sentence: because some won’t listen to us in the first place unless we speak like them. That is to their shame, but it does not mean that we do not try if we are given the means to to so – which will usually go hand in hand with the persons that we find ourselves spending time with (for whatever reasons). We want persons to listen to us.

    Fisk admits his videos are basically theology via entertainment. Maybe that is the issue: is that ever OK?

    +Nathan

  • https://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    “Why would they want boring theology books when they can have Star Wars metaphors.”

    That was a particularly good way of illustrating his point by the way. Talk about concrete and down to earth. And not really juvenile at all….

    +Nathan

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/geneveith/2013/02/7-rules-that-christians-must-break/ notdead3

    I like the book I get a little annoyed when people look more at grammar or say it’s confusing because of analogys or is childish because the kingdom of heaven was made for children the book is easier to read than most theology books and if the analogy is confusing you should read (on being a theologian of the cross by Gerhard) The book was about how we like to worship ourselves over what God said. The book was made to be useful to even learned Christians to recognize some of the signs of this in others and keep themselves from falling into it and it’s good for the struggling christian who just needs a drink of water. Even if it’s childish and even if the pictures are lame the book isn’t about how it’s written the point is on Christ and him crucified so if you want to criticize the book I ask criticize not the way it’s written for it’s still easy to read compared to other theology books but what it says.

  • Tom Hering

    Notdead3 @ 53, I can see why you get a little annoyed with people who look at grammar. ;-)

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/geneveith/2013/02/7-rules-that-christians-must-break/ notdead3

    I mean there is a lot of entertainment in it and all but there’s still theology in it as long as he doesn’t take away the theology
    or as long as he doesn’t take away the gospel and law because he’s afraid it might be uncool I think it’s fine. I gotta say it’s because of Fisk that I even got in touch with a theology book or 2 and learned Lutheranism. But I think it would be cool if he did some videos with a little less entertainment. Which is why in this video I think it’s cool he mentions he’s going to post his video’s on his church bible study on revelations and his new idea on WE tv is pretty cool as well were he brings in other people to take about Lutheranism. I’m just happy that he makes tons of video’s surrounding Christ and him crucified and the 6 chief parts and law and gospel. I’m just a little worried that he might get a little to active with wanting money for the WE ninja clan thing and go down a bad path because of it. But we shall see what happens. I just need to thank Jonathan Fisk that he probably saved my soul I was going of to all sorts of things from pietism to pentacostalism to a group that was almost like an occult tat resembled some cathlics like a 1000 years ago. I think it was just a few sects but it’s bad stuff.

  • https://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    notdead3,

    Wonderful testimony to Pastor Fisk’s work and mission. Again, he himself says his videos (at least the early ones when I watched more of these) they are “entertainment” and have all kinds of things to keep people’s interest and attention. All the while, he always encouraged the reading of books and other resources, telling persons to go deeper (even if sometimes I thought his reading suggestions were “too deep”!). No, there are definitely conscious efforts on his part to “wean” persons off of videos and get them going deeper. I think his recent videos have far less pictures and videos to.

    +Nathan

  • http://www.adcrucem.org Peter Slayton

    To be clear, none of the money raised through the Lutheran Ninja Clan goes to Pastor Fisk. It all goes towards making the show better, by purchasing equipment and hiring help. He doesn’t take a penny of it. It just keeps him from burning out and needing to stop entirely!

  • helen

    Fisk needs contributions for the same reason Issues Etc. needs contributions.
    These things cost money and (so far) they are not produced with “pop ups”
    to pay for them. :) So, enjoy (and send him a few bucks/buy his book.)

  • https://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    People here may want to check out this link: http://steadfastlutherans.org/?p=27358

    I’m 25 minutes into the presentation Fisk gives, and it is good. As I listen right now, he is addressing the problem with his own videos boring his own church kids out of their mind…. : )