Charles Wendell Colson MugshotESPN’s “Mike and Mike” show has a weekly segment on Tuesdays called “Just Shut Up!” Being Tuesday and being in the mood to blog, I’m making a nomination here for the first ever recipient of the undoubtedly soon-to-be-coveted Just Shut Up! Award of the Aedificium. After reading this piece in the online edition of Sunday’s Washington Post, the Aedificium has awarded the Just Shut Up! Certificate to Chuck Colson. Congratulations on your well-deserved accomplishment.

The WP headlines the short note containing Colson’s comments as follows: “Baptists Warned About Islam, Atheism,” and observes that Colson’s address to the pre-conference gathering of Southern Baptist pastors was a call to Christians to “do a better job of explaining their religion’s worldview.” He then singles out Islam as “vicious” and “evil,” noting that the merger of Islam with fascism results in an ideology that is “evil incarnate.” Colson also apparently dismissed the emergent movement as an irrelevant aberration in the church that is “abandoning the search for truth” in favor of “conversations in coffee shops,” and juxtaposes emergent with the “pure orthodox truth” of Third World Churches.

Colson has done some great work in his career, but his brand of evangelicalism makes me want to just secede and give it up completely. We simply don’t need a Christian denomination of nearly 16.5 million members to be taught that every Muslim (and, in fact, Colson can’t even bring himself to use that word, but calls Muslims “Islamists”), every one of the 1.3 billion or so who live on Late Great Planet Earth, is an evil fascist who could, and who would be perfectly willing to, blow himself or herself up just to kill off Christians. This, of course, is totally different from Christian behavior, who would never do anything of the sort. For the love of God and all that is holy, how can we get the word out that this is just simply, patently, and devastatingly untrue and that this kind of hateful, propagandistic drivel is exactly what the extremists want to hear?

The post and ensuing discussion from a few weeks back on the idea of Christian worldviews holds here too. Colson believes that if Christians do a better job of explaining “their religion’s worldview” that the evil of Islam and atheism can be defeated and the emergent movement shown for the fraud he thinks it is. This is hopelessly misguided, not only because there is not and has never really been a single Christian worldview, but because Colson has sold himself to the stereotypes of Islam and of emergent at the expense of actually knowing much of anything about them that is anything other than destructive and divisive. How about constructive and uniting? And how about considering the possibility that Muslims, “emergents,” and the Brights of Dawkins’ and Harris’ brand of faith are engaged in the “search for truth” every bit as much as Colson is? Or, that this search might entail other elements besides regurgitating outdated propositional expressions or coming up with new propositions to add to the outdated ones? To dismiss the emergent church as an abandoning of truth in favor of coffeehousing relativism is as irresponsible as it is ridiculous.

Yes, I’m ticked off, because, damn it, I’m a Baptist, I’m extremely sympathetic to the emergent movement and consider myself part of it, and I have numerous Muslim friends and acquaintances who condemn acts of terrorism and Islamic extremism and all forms of governmental fascism every bit as much as other people of faith do.

Colson is committed to his own ideology and is blind to everything that doesn’t fit; he’s made the world in his own image. Not even God had the audacity to do that.

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