Monday Morning Confessional: Zombies, Neo-Cons, and Biographies

I confess that I want to like Zombie movies, but as yet have not watched any. I watched the old Donald Sutherland Invasion of the Body Snatchers, is that considered to be a Zombie flick? See, I’m not even qualified to talk about the genre. I confess that sometime in my near future, I’m going to go on a serious Zombie kick and catch up. It seems like the best critique of capitalism/consumerism happening in popular culture. I confess that I would love recommendations on where to begin and how to proceed. Zombie fans???

I confess that I am much too ready to critique. I spent last week reading on St. Francis of Assisi so that I could preach on his life, which I did yesterday. I was very convicted during the week by Francis’s insistence that the “best critique of the bad is the practice of the better.” I confess that it’s difficult sometimes to know when to critique something and why. I think that I am trying to “practice the better” in the way I live my life, but I often feel compelled to speak against some the bad, especially when I see so many people falling for it.  (Mark Driscoll comes to mind). I confess that I have been critical of the evangelical’s wholesale acceptance of conservative politics. I confess that I often critique American culture on any number of issues from individualism, to consumerism, or nationalism. I confess that I’m more and more bothered by my own critiques, even as I make them, even when I feel they are justified. The thing is … I’m not sure I can stop. I’m not sure I should stop. Still, I’m inclined to confess this anyway.

That being said, I reluctantly confess that I’m embarrassed at the way conservative governors have done all they can do to thwart the implementation of the ACA, including Kansas governor Sam Brownback. Mostly I’m upset with their refusal to expand Medicaid because this has hurt so many people. Here’s a paragraph from John Blake’s article on CNN’s Belief blog:

“The coverage gap was created when 25 states refused to accept the expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare. The people who fall into this gap make too much money to qualify for Medicaid and not enough to qualify for Obamacare subsidies in their state insurance exchanges. If they lived elsewhere, they would probably get insurance. But because they live in a state that refused the new health care law, they likely will remain among the nation’s uninsured poor after Obamacare coverage kicks in come January.”

I confess that I think poverty is a moral issue. I confess that I think the growing income disparity between the rich and the poor is a moral issue. I confess that the unholy marriage between evangelicals and the political right really needs to come to an end. I confess that this cannot mean a new marriage to the political left. It’s time to learn to just be Christian.

I confess that something smells at my office. I’m not able to find the source of the smell, but it’s all over about half of the building. Is it me? Am I the smell? I suspect that our cleaning service has changed to new cleaning products. It’s nasty. I confess that I’m burning so much incense in my office that my eyes are stinging. People are going to think I’m smoking pot.

I confess that I’m on a biography kick as of late. I’ve been taking stock of which books I’ve been working my way through over the past six months because have been trying to decide what’s next. (What’s next will be the new Doris Kearns-Goodwin book Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism.) I confess that I actually spent time ranking the books I’ve gone through since summer from favorite to least favorite. Here’s where I landed:

  1. No Ordinary Time (FDR/Eleanor) – Doris Kearns-Goodwin
  2. Truman - David McCullough
  3. Team of Rivals (Lincoln) – Doris Kearns-Goodwin
  4. The Hiding Place - Corrie ten Boom
  5. Saint Francis of Assisi - G.K. Chesterton
  6. American Lion (Andrew Jackson) – Jon Meacham
  7. Francis of Assisi – Augustine Thompson
  8. Amazing Grace (William Wilberforce) – Eric Metaxas

I confess that I did not love Metaxas’s biography of William Wilberforce. I’m reading one by Stephen Tomkins right now and it seems a bit more thorough. Metaxas is a wonderful writer, but I always feel as though he skews his perception and portrayal of his subjects to fit his own political and theological views. He did the same with the Bonhoeffer book. Bonhoeffer and Wilberforce both come off a bit like neo-Calvinist evangelicals or Fox News neoconservatives. If you want to read a couple of good critical reviews of his Bonhoeffer book there is one here and here. The one from Christian Century has some interesting comments if you are interested.

I confess that I’m working on edits for Shrink again today. I confess that progress is not what I had hoped it would be. I confess that I try to make my role as pastor my first priority over and above writing. However, this has begun to make it difficult to meet my deadlines on this manuscript. I’ve never missed a deadline before… I’m a little shaky about this one coming up. I confess that I could use all the prayers I could get on this one.

Okay friends, I made my confessions. Now it’s time for you to make yours:

About Tim Suttle

Find out more about Tim at TimSuttle.com

Tim Suttle is the senior pastor of RedemptionChurchkc.com. He is the author of several books including his most recent - Shrink: Faithful Ministry in a Church Growth Culture (Zondervan 2014), Public Jesus (The House Studio, 2012), & An Evangelical Social Gospel? (Cascade, 2011). Tim's work has been featured at The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, Sojourners, and other magazines and journals.

Tim is also the founder and front-man of the popular Christian band Satellite Soul, with whom he toured for nearly a decade. The band's most recent album is "Straight Back to Kansas." He helped to plant three thriving churches over the past 13 years and is the Senior Pastor of Redemption Church in Olathe, Kan. Tim's blog, Paperback Theology, is hosted at Patheos.

  • http://jwayneferguson.wordpress.com/ Wayne Ferguson

    ["I confess that I think poverty is a moral issue. I confess that I think the growing income disparity between the rich and the poor is a moral issue. I confess that the unholy marriage between evangelicals and the political right really needs to come to an end. I confess that this cannot mean a new marriage to the political left. It’s time to learn to just be Christian."]

    Amen. Here’s a great video on wealth inequality for anyone who has not seen it:

    Money on the
    Mind

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IuqGrz-Y_Lc

    I confess that I am very tempted by any number of distracting thoughts and emotions, but am thankful that this moment welcomes me just as I Am! :)

    p.s. Chesterton’s “St. Francis” is a gem — well worth your time, whoever you may be:

    http://www.basilica.org/pages/ebooks/G.K.Chesterton-Saint%20Francis.pdf


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