Here is the whole post from CR?N:

An aptly titled piece from Washington Post and another example of the “Have It Your Way” Burger King spirituality in the emerging church and post-evangelicalism:

Donald Miller still loves God and Jesus. Don’t misunderstand him. His problem is with Christianity, at least how it’s often practiced.

“It’s a dangerous term, so I try to avoid it,” said Miller, who considered giving up his career as a Christian writer and leaving the church in 2003 because he couldn’t attend services without getting angry.

For him, the word conjured up conservative politics, suburban consumerism and an “insensitivity to people who aren’t like us.”

So the emerging church just makes up its own version sensitive to people who want Jesus without the holiness. And inadvertantly Donald Miller may have just described how the Holy Spirit feels about the man-centered Emergent Church, “[H]e couldn’t attend services without getting angry.”

I read the whole article and Miller’s point is that he got angry with the church because for him, “the word conjured up conservative politics, suburban consumerism and an “insensitivity to people who aren’t like us.” I whole hardily agree that these are good reasons to get angry at the church. Miller makes no comment on “wanting Jesus without holiness.”

In addition, Miller is a member of a church which holds a conservative reformed view. Why shoot your own?

I also realize there has been some criticism by conservative Christians of Miller’s “Blue Like Jazz” and some of it may be legitimate. However, these critics frequently forget that it’s written as a journal, not as a doctrinal statement. If any of us read our personal journals to each other, we’d probably have more then a few “heresies” in there.

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50 Comments(+Add)

1   Brendt    http://csaproductions.com/blog/
January 19th, 2008 at 7:13 pm

If you had “discernment”, you’d know Miller’s heart and be able to interpret that quote as “I want Jesus without holiness”.

2   Chris P.    
January 19th, 2008 at 7:29 pm

I do not view Miller’s theology as any better than TBN’s.
I loathe pious blether.
I also find it interesting that people will grab any and all books off the shelves rather than pick up a Bible.
Meet the new boss,same as the old boss.

3   Phil Miller    http://veritasfellowship.blogspot.com
January 19th, 2008 at 7:31 pm

I don’t know how many Donald Miller books I’ve given away. It’s really quite amazing how well he connects with college students.

I think my favorite book of his was actually Through Painted Deserts, but all of his stuff is excellent.

4   Tim Reed, Owosso MI    http://churchvoices.com
January 19th, 2008 at 8:06 pm

Gee, slandering a fellow Xtian anonymously. If they’re fighting a truth war, they’re doing so unarmed.

5   Matt B    http://matbathome.blogspot.com/
January 19th, 2008 at 8:10 pm

Phil:

I agree with the connection part. In college I grew quite annoyed with the single issue voter Christians (abortion). Miller just wrote a lot about how I felt since growing up in a politically right leaning church/community.

6   Matt Brown    http://www.goodbrownie.blogspot.com
January 19th, 2008 at 8:29 pm

I guess it’s easier to make sweeping statements about Miller than to examine whether or not what he has to say has merit. Miller is talking about his own experiences here, he’s not making a talking point memo for the “emerging church.” But I guess that Editor doesn’t want to think about the validity of Miller’s criticisms. Based on this post, I’m guessing that if Editor pastored a church, he’d demand absolute authority without question. [If you do stop by here for a response, Editor, I'd love to read it. ]

7   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 19th, 2008 at 8:58 pm

“I do not view Miller’s theology as any better than TBN’s.
I loathe pious blether.
I also find it interesting that people will grab any and all books off the shelves rather than pick up a Bible.
Meet the new boss,same as the old boss.”

I wonder at people who claim to read the bible and still don’t get it… makes me wonder if they have detached the written word that is truth from the Person Who is Truth… Jesus and are into some strange abstract truth gospel… that is no gospel at all.

iggy

8   Bruce Gerencser    http://www.gerencser.net
January 19th, 2008 at 9:20 pm

Chris P,

How many books did you read in the last year? Magazines? Newspapers? Blogs? Websites?

Man, people will read anything but the Bible.

Donald Miller speaks for a lot of us who are tired of worn out Republican, Conservative, Fundamentalist, Gettin Ready for the Rapture, My Favorite book is Left Behind, Bash anyone who is different From Me Evangelicalism.

His books are biographical for the most part. It is his story. They were never meant, Thank God, to be theological tomes. We have enough of those.

Bruce

9   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 19th, 2008 at 10:26 pm

Bruce,

Donald Miller speaks for a lot of us who are tired of worn out Republican, Conservative, Fundamentalist, Gettin Ready for the Rapture, My Favorite book is Left Behind, Bash anyone who is different From Me Evangelicalism.

One thing I appreciate about Donald Miller is his honesty. So many times I “felt” like what he has written… I think that so many churches alienate those that are not “Republican, Conservative, Fundamentalist, Gettin Ready for the Rapture, My Favorite book is Left Behind, Bash anyone who is different From!” people and keep them from the gospel by their own non biblical or extra biblical opinions.

iggy

10   Matt B    http://matbathome.blogspot.com/
January 19th, 2008 at 11:02 pm

Chris P

If you could focus on loving your fellow brother in Christ, it sure would be helpful.

11   Bruce Gerencser    http://www.gerencser.net
January 19th, 2008 at 11:10 pm

Iggy,

The problem is…………honesty doesn’t pay. I see that on my blogs )past and present) If you are open and honest you better be ready to handed your head in a basket.

If you question any point of professed orthodoxy you are deemed a heretic. If you question any of the currently held views on any cultural subject you are deemed to be a liberal.

Recent days have brought professing Christians my way who think I am unsaved. Nice loving people. If I was was struggling with my faith (and on any given day I might be) I would certainly be driven away from the faith by these people.

Whatever happened to being able to have an open, honest, no strings attached discussion?

Bruce

12   Matt B    http://matbathome.blogspot.com/
January 19th, 2008 at 11:17 pm

There are things that the Psalmist says that are almost too honest. Things like:

3:7 Arise, O LORD!
Deliver me, O my God!
Strike all my enemies on the jaw;
break the teeth of the wicked.

It’s very heart on the shirtsleeve stuff. I’ll admit, I say some prayers like that at times when I’m frustrated. But David was a brutally honest blogger/journaler. Imagine the comments he would have got if he did blog that. :)

13   Joe Martino    http://joemartino.name
January 19th, 2008 at 11:45 pm

Bruce,
That comment is the Great Quote #68

14   Sandman    
January 20th, 2008 at 4:01 am

Then too, you have people who try to redefine Jesus and the Gospel to suit their purposes in other expressions of Christianity.

From just reading the WaPo article, I would’ve thought that Miller had roamed the world and visited every type of Christian church, though I know that’s not the case. What he’s written is from a specific point of view, and may appeal to a particular demographic, but shouldn’t be considered an indictment of all Christians who are conservative in either faith or politics.

Oddly enough, I got to see things from the other end of the spectrum. I grew up in black Baptist churches that had a hard time walking the talk. In Flint, MI, if you were black and Baptist, you were assumed to be liberal. To live as though you had any conservative leanings meant you were a sell-out, self-hating, poseur trying to be white. The pastor preached about moral purity, but in his “declining” years before he died, he reportedly recognized three women in the church one Sunday and, talking about them, quipped, “They were some of the best p***y he’d ever had (his wife fainted on the spot).

After his death, his son was installed as the pastor. A man with shady dealings in the past (drug abuse, charges of embezzlement and such), after a number of years in the position, he was busted for possession or narcotics.

You can’t trust white people, but it was fine to have them (and they were always Democrats) come in and lock in some votes during election season.

The illegitimacy rate among blacks is shameful, yet there was no real talk about abstinence. And some of the kids of the pastors and the prominent families were infamous for their promiscuity. So for some, abortion was needed to curb the illegitimacy rate.

I guess I learned more about being a Christian from my next door neighbor and going to a Lutheran school for a number of years, so I dissasociated myself when I was 18.

Oh, I have to go to bed now. I can’t think straight anymore and when I wake up later, this will probably make no sense to anyone. If there’s a question, I’ll try to clarify.

15   Keith    http://fivepts.blogspot.com
January 20th, 2008 at 9:49 am

I actually read the Donald Miller article in our local paper before seeing it on CRN and here. I’m not really familiar with him/his ministry, but I can relate to his comment: “the word [Christian] conjured up conservative politics, suburban consumerism and an ‘insensitivity to people who aren’t like us.’”

Some of the rudest, most hateful people I know were some that identified themselves as “Christian.” We USED TO go to church with them…we changed churches.

16   Sandman    
January 20th, 2008 at 11:37 am

Keith,

I notice that a lot in people who are tied to the ritualism of religion.

The same people you describe, I’ve noticed often have these grim, constipated looks on their faces. I’d hear someone ask them how they’re doing and it’s a knee-jerk “I’ve got the joy of the Lord in my heart, brother/sister.”

Maybe their hearts need to communicate that with their faces.

17   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 20th, 2008 at 11:43 am

Maybe their hearts need to communicate that with their faces.

Or just be honest enough to say they need the rest of the Body… to pray, encourage, edify… and so on… so often one part of the Body hurts and hides it, and the rest hurt with them and no one does anything about.

iggy

18   Sandman    
January 20th, 2008 at 1:00 pm

That too. Thanks Iggy!

19   inquisitor    
January 20th, 2008 at 2:37 pm

“he couldn’t attend services without getting angry.

For him, the word conjured up conservative politics, suburban consumerism and an “insensitivity to people who aren’t like us.”

Can we interpret “conservative politics” with anti-abortion, anti-homosexuality, and anti-sin???? Is it these things that he didn’t like?

and can we interpret “insensitivity to people who aren’t like us” as refusing to allow others to justify abortion, homosexuality, and sin????

What does DM really mean by what he said? I don’t think anyone here really knows what he meant.

Maybe I’m right about what he meant. Maybe I’m wrong. Who can say beyond any doubt that I’m either?

So we really need to know a little more about DM than just the small quotes above.

P.S.- I happen to think that I’m right. I think that he just doesn’t like standing against sin.

20   Bruce Gerencser    http://www.gerencser.net
January 20th, 2008 at 2:56 pm

Inquistor,

Conservative politics are certainly not anti-sin. They are the politics of hot button issues.

One can be against abortion and not like conservative politics. There are a number of us that are a long way from conservative politics that are anti-abortion. We just don’t like the hypocrisy of the conservatives on the issue. Are they really so pro-life? Then explain their support for abortion in case of rape or incest? Explain their position on allowing for the use of certain birth control pills that cause spontaneous abortion?

One can believe homosexual sex (not homosexuality as a orientation) is a sin and still be a long way from the conservatives on this issue. Homosexual sex is a moral sin like any other moral sin. Why make one sexual sin “worse” than any other. Why is sodomy a sin but “wink wink” adultery is OK. Maybe we are tired of scathing sermons that blister all the homosexuals who aren’t in the service, yet the actual sins within the congregation go unmentioned. This is called preaching to the choir and some of us are tired of singing in the choir.

Some of us think homosexuals deserve equal protection under the law.

DM is dead about insensitivity. It is one thing to preach on sin. It is another thing to beat people with the sin stick every time they come to Church. (especially since we know how human all pastors are) A little humility and love will go a long way in reaching people.

21   Matt    
January 20th, 2008 at 3:53 pm

Donald Miller’s church has always taught that homosexuality and abortion as sin. To suggest that Miller is pro gay or pro abortion is deceitful. He is against the American church’s love affair with Rebulicans.

22   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 20th, 2008 at 4:10 pm

Inq,

P.S.- I happen to think that I’m right. I think that he just doesn’t like standing against sin.

I think then you need read the book… as he built a confessional booth on a secular college and confessed his sins to non Christians… so I do not see your understanding of him at all accurate… and in fact see that if you are saying these things, you are sinning against hims as a brother in Christ.

So, are you going to stand against sin and confess that you are sinning against him?

iggy

23   Phil Miller    http://veritasfellowship.blogspot.com
January 20th, 2008 at 4:20 pm

P.S.- I happen to think that I’m right. I think that he just doesn’t like standing against sin.

It would help if you actually read the books before you jumped to this sort of judgement.

Donald Miller was originally from Texas, where cultural Christianity seems to be in the water. I’ve seen this type of Christianity as well. We’ll “take stands” against things like homosexuality and abortion because we most likely won’t have to deal with these things personally. We have a harder time “taking a stand” against the sins in our own hearts.

24   Bruce Gerencser    http://www.gerencser.net
January 20th, 2008 at 4:28 pm

Phil,

Everybody is a babdist in Texas :)

I pastored inTexas. No need to evangelize. Everyone is saved.

Bruce

25   Tim Reed, Owosso MI    http://churchvoices.com
January 20th, 2008 at 5:24 pm

When political positions become the benchmark for holiness the church has no sense of the gospel.

26   Joe Martino    http://joemartino.name
January 20th, 2008 at 5:25 pm

I pastored inTexas. No need to evangelize. Everyone is saved.

Yeah, but I read somewhere that you’re not a real pastor. Angry and cussing and all that. :)

27   Sandman    
January 20th, 2008 at 5:32 pm

cussin’

28   Bruce Gerencser    http://www.gerencser.net
January 20th, 2008 at 5:51 pm

Well I will let others determine if I am real. :) I do have a resume and my wife can verify where we have been, and my six kids certainly can :)

I have always cussed, it is just that for many years I used Baptist cuss words, darn, heck, shoot, etc. The real words sound better (though I rarely use them)

As to anger……….sometimes. Angry at self. Angry at the way our country is headed. Angry at the sorry state of the Evangelical Church. Angry at myself for some of the poor decisions I have made at life. I suspect I have even been angry with God a time or two.

Of course, all those holy Christians never get angry. I once pastored in an area that had a lot of holiness people who believed in sinless perfection. Quite bizarre to hear them explain the difference between mistakes and sin. They made a lot of mistakes but they never sinned. For me all my sins have been a big mistake………but they are sins.

BTW, I didn’t start using real cuss words until after I pastored a Southern Baptist Church in Michigan. Now you know why I took up the habit :)

29   Sandman    
January 20th, 2008 at 6:02 pm

BTW, I didn’t start using real cuss words until after I pastored a Southern Baptist Church in Michigan. Now you know why I took up the habit

Hey! >:-(

I’m not SB, but I had to represent for my SB peeps.

Whereabouts in Michigan did you pastor?

30   Bruce Gerencser    http://www.gerencser.net
January 20th, 2008 at 7:09 pm

N Central Michigan, Clare. Beautiful country. Not so beautiful experience.

The SBC in that area was troubled. I think there were 15 Churches in the association. 4-5 without pastors and only a few had full time pastors. Many had retired men filling the pulpit. Tough times.

31   mandy reed, owosso mi    
January 20th, 2008 at 7:28 pm

michigan in general makes me cuss, bruce. :)
and I think Donald Miller writes good books. I think BLJ is like PDL for 50 year olds. It really connects with a lot of people, not in a way that takes away from reading the bible – but made me want to love Jesus more, read my bible more, etc.

32   pastorboy    http://www.thedowngrade2007.blogspot.com
January 20th, 2008 at 8:17 pm

Angry at the sorry state of the Evangelical Church.

I am too, Bruce. I am angry to be lumped in with guys like Leif Anderson, Rick Warren, and Bill Hybels who would sign The open letter to the Muslims, who would declare global warming as a ‘real’ threat….Who call Mormons christians…

I don’t like being represented by those guys at all. I believe in evangelism, but I ain’t no evangelical, not in the postmodern American sense anyway.

I wish there were a new denominational label….like Reconciliationalist instead of Evangelical.

Wow, me and the cussin’ Pastor agree on something!

33   Bruce Gerencser    http://www.gerencser.net
January 20th, 2008 at 8:29 pm

Here is the difference between us……..

We may agree to some degree on the sorry state of Evangelicalism bur I consider the man you mentioned as my brothers in the Lord. (as I do you)

At the end of the day we are ALL part of the problem.

We do not need any more denominations. We need the full expression of one holy, catholic church.

I do understand your concern over the Muslim issue. I have mixed feelings on it. On one hand we have a racist presidential candidate who says he will not appoint any Muslims if he is elected. On the other hand we have those who seem oblivious to terrorism that is going on in the name of the Muslim God.

It is not an easy issue. The lives of many people are at stake. How do we best bring peace and still allow for religious freedom and integrity? True peace comes when every man is free to worship as he pleases. Right or wrong.

Bruce

34   pastorboy    http://www.thedowngrade2007.blogspot.com
January 20th, 2008 at 8:35 pm

Which man?

35   Bruce Gerencser    http://www.gerencser.net
January 20th, 2008 at 9:05 pm

I meant men, all of them. All profess faith in Christ.

36   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 21st, 2008 at 1:49 am

I wish there were a new denominational label….like Reconciliationalist instead of Evangelical.

I think that you miss what evangelism is…

Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience. We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart. If we are out of our mind, it is for the sake of God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

= 0

I hate it when someone perverts the gospel into men, telling other men how to be saved by their words… and reduce the ministry of reconciliation to “evangelism”… men cannot save other men… their words do nothing to save other men… yet you are telling us that you wish that you had another denomination that separates you from the calling of the ministry of reconciliation? That is sad and so unbiblical.

I find it sad that you deny the core truth of the gospel while you claim to be sharing the gospel. = (

I for one would be proud to be called a reconciliationist if it means believing and following the full teaching of scripture instead of just picking and choosing what I like… as you are suggesting. = )

iggy

37   Neil    
January 21st, 2008 at 7:11 pm

“…michigan in general makes me cuss…”

Me too… although we usually just say “That state up north”

Neil

38   Joe Martino    http://joemartino.name
January 21st, 2008 at 7:30 pm

Now, I like living in Mi. My wife hated Detroit area but I didn’t mind it, although we were fightin’ fundy’s then. I love living on this side of the state

39   inquisitor    
January 21st, 2008 at 11:59 pm

Iggy,
Thanks for proving my point. He was on a campus during a time of rampant sin and does he stand against it??? No he gives his stamp of approval of what is going on by 1. remaining silent. and 2. by confessing his sins to them instead of telling them that THEY needed to both STOP sinning and confess THEIR sins against God.

So you’re right, he doesn’t stand against sin.

40   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 22nd, 2008 at 12:07 am

You’re right, inq – our sinless lives should be a shining example to them. We don’t have anything to apologize for, and our hubris should attract them!

41   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 22nd, 2008 at 12:12 am

In all seriousness, though, it was a brilliant move on Miller’s part. The number one reason people in America avoid the church is because of a perception of hypocrisy and a lack of humility in regards to externals. By opening his witness with a sincere confession and apology, it disarmed this perception.

Well done, Donald!

42   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 22nd, 2008 at 12:56 am

Inq,

Yes… he did and he did more in what he did by being honest and open and with an apology than if he stood there condemning others as if he was less a sinner than the others around him…

Is that what you think of yourself? That you are less a sinner than anyone else?

iggy

43   Phil Miller    http://veritasfellowship.blogspot.com
January 22nd, 2008 at 10:47 am

Fundamentalists: attempting to do the Holy Spirit’s work for Him since 1923.

Here I always thought it was the Holy Spirit who convicted people of sin. Do people really think that the general population think the Church approves of sin. We’ve been pretty good at getting our message out on that one.

I always think it’s somewhat funny people use the language of “taking a stand” when talking about sin. It’s easy to take a stand. Just the language itself involves not moving. We’re “standing firm”, “won’t be moved”, etc. The thing is Jesus was moved by other’s sin. He didn’t just “take a stand” and tell people they were wrong. He offered them hope.

44   Matt B    http://matbathome.blogspot.com/
January 22nd, 2008 at 11:07 am

Fundamentalists are just as purpose driven as Rick Warren. While they accuse him of being soft on sin to impress unbelievers, they use sin and hell to terrify and harass people into the kingdom. Which is worse?

45   pastorboy    http://www.thedowngrade2007.blogspot.com
January 22nd, 2008 at 11:42 am

I am the chief of sinners

I deserve Hell an death more than any man.

I am so glad that Christ came and was made the propitiation for my sins. What love! I deserve the wrath of God and I get the grace of God.

46   Neil    
January 22nd, 2008 at 2:14 pm

“Can we interpret “conservative politics” with anti-abortion, anti-homosexuality, and anti-sin???? Is it these things that he didn’t like?”

No, and no.

47   Neil    
January 22nd, 2008 at 2:16 pm

“…and can we interpret “insensitivity to people who aren’t like us” as refusing to allow others to justify abortion, homosexuality, and sin????”

Some might – but it could also mean not singling out certain “sins” which the American Evangelical so often does…

48   Neil    
January 22nd, 2008 at 2:22 pm

“Iggy,
Thanks for proving my point. He was on a campus during a time of rampant sin and does he stand against it??? No he gives his stamp of approval of what is going on by 1. remaining silent. and 2. by confessing his sins to them instead of telling them that THEY needed to both STOP sinning and confess THEIR sins against God.

So you’re right, he doesn’t stand against sin.”

WOW! Sometimes all I think think to say is “WOW” – though I think Chris L’s comment about Hubris was a better response.

49   Neil    
January 22nd, 2008 at 2:45 pm

RE: Politics and Christianity.

Recently I spoke with a woman who was complaining that Mike Huckabee was waving the Christian flag while being a social liberal. Socially liberal mind you, not morally. We were not talking about sins such as abortion or homosexuality, she was talking about issues like health care and taxes.

The issues she thought were incongruous with being Christian were economic, not moral. To her claiming to be evangelical and economical liberal were inconsistent.

I tried to explore this connection but she got testy so I gave up.

Neil

50   Neil    
January 22nd, 2008 at 2:47 pm

All the above to say, as much as Inquisitor would like to tie the two together, being fed-up with the religious right does not equate to be soft on sin issues.

Neil