Monday, 7 May 2012
Book review: Fools rush in where monkeys fear to tread
Humour has been lost on most protestant writers but not on Carl Trueman. Fools Rush In is a collection of writings by Trueman, not united by any internal theme beyond being reflections. Trueman’s reflections are insightful and satirical.
Rodney Trotter who wrote the preface for this book sums up the audience likely to enjoy this book:
A custard in the face is the funniest thing one man has ever seen; to another, it is a degrading act of physical assault. This book is, I suspect, designed to be enjoyed by the former, and to offend the latter.
I enjoyed, laughed out loud and pondered Trueman’s points. I felt at home, comfortable, entertained, as well as reflect on the seriousness of the irony of modern day evangelical and reformed church culture.
Here are some quotes from Fools Rush In. (I am aware of the dangers of reading quotes out of context)
When prayers become the equivalent “Yo, how you doing?!” then something has gone awry… how many of us sit in judgment of the sermon, grading it for quality, length, clarity, interest, as the minister brings us the word of God? If we have any grasp of God’s holiness, and any inkling of the importance of the prophetic task of preaching, we wont be giving the minister a grade; rather, we will be sitting and listening to what he has to say, acutely conscious of our own unworthiness to hear God as he speaks to us…. then, when the song we sing can be summarised, ‘Jesus is my best boyfriend’ we can be sure that something is seriously out of joint. -something is missing - a sense of the deep holiness of God. p65
So why did the markets not stop the problem? After all, according to some conservative pundits, the markets are like the force of gravity-neutral, impersonal, scientific, perpetually moving toward an economic equilibrium that promote freedom, prosperity, and all-round good health -social, cultural, and above all financial. The answer, of course, is that market forces are ultimately functions of human behaviour, albeit on a macro-level; and human beings as depraved and as blinded as they are, generate market forces that reflect that depravity. P88
It is not a financial bailout that is needed; it is individual repentance by countless thousands of people.
I am not much of a web wanderer but on the odd occasion I do a bit of web surfing, I am struck by how many Christians, pastors, professors, and laity have blogs, face book and twitters going. How many million Christian hours are wasted writing this stuff, engaging in mindless blog treads, and telling the world about personal trivia? And what does it tell us about the expansive visions and ambitions out there? Apparently the world is now everyone’s birthright. P91
When I see Christians blogging so much, I wonder how many sermons are being prepared on the fly because of lack of time, how many parishioners go unvisited, how many prayers remain unsprayed, how many words of love and affections to spouses and children are never said, how many books - let alone the bible-are left unread, and how many fellowship atrophy through lack of any real, meaningful social and spiritual intercourse. Indeed, to summarize: how many online communities (sic) prosper to the detriment of the real, physical communities into which the Lord has placed each and every single one of us? How many complain of the insufficient time to do the boring routines of the Christian life- worship services, Sunday school, visiting the sick and the aged, fellowship, bible reading, prayer - and yet always somehow manage to fit in a quick twitter or blog or pod cast or change their face book status? P92
The world also teaches that everyone is special, has a unique contribution to make, and must have a prize of some kind. All people need to tell the world about their greatness, their uniqueness…. This belief that we are each special, by and large is complete tosh. Most of us are mediocre, make unique contributions only in the peculiar ways we screw things up, and could easily be replaced as a husband, father, or employee by somebody better suited to the task. P116
…far to many Christians have senses of destiny that verge on the messianic. The confidence that the Lord has a special plan and purpose just for them shapes the way they act and move. Now, just for the record, I am a good Calvinist, and I certainly believe that each individual has a destiny: what concerns me is the tendency to always think of ourselves as special and unique (which we all are in some ways- DNA, etc.) bleeds over into a sense of special identity whereby the future, or at least the future of myself, comes to be the priority and to trump all else.... Church is the meaning of human history not just an individual. It is the church that is the big player in God’s wider plan not me. P116
I highly recommend the purchase of this book especially if you enjoy humour. I promise you will eventually LOL.
Purchase book here: http://www.prpbooks.com/Fools-Rush-In-Where-Monkeys-Fear-to-Tread-2191.html&session=9a62ae8d65b23b6fb6b38525d5c4ed91