Those who have tried to “label” and “dismiss” Tony Jones will have a hard time believing that Tony would be so interested in a text that starts out, “There are two ways, one of life and one of death! and there is a great difference between the two ways.” But, he is, and so we reap the benefit.
As anyone should who’s in the public eye (including most pastors), I have a couple “vanity” searches set up in Google to automatically search my name along with a couple keywords. This allows me to keep an ear to the ground about what’s being said about me in the blogosphere.
And here’s something that hasn’t surprised me at all: There’s been nary a word by any critics about my new book, The Teaching of the Twelve.
Honestly, I don’t fault those to my far, far right for blogging against me when I write a blog post about gay marriage, nor when I publish a book that has entire chapters devoted to epistemology. They have every right to tell the world that I am a dangerous theologian who should not be trusted. They can even shout it from the mountaintops that my books on (Christian) spirituality and prayer teach a pagan, New Age mysticism (which, of course, they don’t).
But the past couple weeks is what ultimately proves their dishonesty. I’ve written a book about an early church document, the Didache, which teaches about following Jesus. As Mike writes,
The concern of…the Didache is the “particular practices that constitute the rhythm of life for the gathered community. Instructions about eating sacrificial meat, baptism, the Eucharist, prayers, and welcoming wandering prophets and teachers ensue.” The detail of the practices of this first century community of Christians in comparison to our current practices of baptism, fasting, prayer and Eucharist are astonishingly fascinating.
And the critics are silent.
Of course they are. That’s because they are, as I said, dishonest. If they were honest, they’d write about my latest book that, while they disagree with my theological viewpoints in some books and posts, they can appreciate this book for its treatment of the earliest church. But they won’t, because they’re dishonest.
Instead, they post about me constantly. They put my name in other posts — posts about Rob Bell or Brian McLaren, and completely unrelated to me — in order to come up higher in search engines when my name is searched. They use my name as a keyword in posts about me, and in posts completely unrelated to me. They double-post their posts about me on two different blogs, and then link back to themselves, in order to have more permanent in-bound links, which is a primary way that the Google crawlers determine the strength of a site. (In other words, many in-bound links to a site that mentions my name tells Google, “This is an authoritative site about ‘Tony Jones’”).
They do all of this because they are dishonest.
That’s why I am asking all of you to never click on a link posted by Ken Silva, or Christian Research Net, or Lighthouse Trails Research, or Apprising Ministries.
Never use their names in a post or on a website (as I just did).
And if you’ve got any old posts that link to their site, delete the links.
I’m not asking you to do this because I’m afraid of criticism. If you’ve followed me at all in the past few years, you know that I’m not.
I’m asking you to do these things because these critics are dishonest.
I look forward to honest criticism about The Teaching of the Twelve and all of my books.