Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Why Comment On Something I'll Never Read?...

On one of the blogs which I follow, The Calico Critic, the blogger was telling us about a new title which she had just received from the publisher for review. Of course, after a little bit of googling I found out the the author is a major editor at Zondervan, a conservative Christian publishing house. (Some of my readers know that I am not Christian; however, I am interested in religion and theology.) Verlyn D. Verbrugge also recieved a PhD from Notre Dame. Anyway, the title of the slim volume is Not So Silent Night.
from The Calico Critic: "Traditionally, Christmas has been celebrated as a time of joy, peace and light. Verbrugge takes a different viewpoint. If you consider why Christ came into the world, His birth ushered in a new era of spiritual and physical conflict. The heralding angels should really be seen as soldiers of a heavenly army, declaring their readiness to their Commander in Chief. Essentially, "Christmas is the beginning of war." (p.74)
Now, this type of theology is very like the Jihadist theology of Islam to my way of thinking. I am not someone who believes in sunshine and roses as any mainstay for a spiritual life; however, I do NOT believe that this world is a dichotomy of black vs white. This, in fact, has been a major "heresy" since the 4th/5th century of the Common Era. People have been murdered because of it (ie. The Albigensian Crusade). However, it is always there, underneath the surface. It is the famous mind/body problem of philosophy. Guess what? It's all material, people. There is no dichotomy. Spirit and flesh, mind and brain -- these are the same things. The world is a very messy place -- and we have to clean up the messes which we create. No demonic being creates these messes -- we do. In addition, we cannot shift the blame to "The evil devil made me do it." That is the largest piece of bush-wah ever -- and it was NOT a part of the Torah. Our brains, when they evolutionally reached the state of consciousness, started to create ethics as a means by which we can live with one another. Our brains also have a capacity to learn, if we allow it to happen. I am very cynical about this happening much right now, with more and more people wanting to take the easy way out.
So, now that we are informed that this is NOT really a season of peace because "evil" is an ontological entity. We must rise and say, NO! We are the peace-makers -- and the war-makers -- and, finally, the mess-cleaners. No one makes us DO anything -- and no one else -- not even the gods -- will do it for us.


Laura Hartness said...


Wow! That is a passionate response! I'm not sure if that message is what Verbrugge intended, but I'd love to hear his take on it. I've messaged him and gave him your URL. I really hope he stops by and sparks a lively debate. This should be interesting!

Thanks so much for stopping by my blog!

Laura Hartness
The Calico Critic

Laura Hartness said...


Verlyn came by our blogs, read my review and then your response over here. He tried to post a response here but for some reason the system kept him from doing so. He emailed me the message and I'll post it below:

Julia is right that I am an evangelical Christian, but that does not mean I endorse any form of jihadism. But I must write and speak what I believe the Bible says. And the Bible does say that Jesus came into the world to destroy the work of the devil (1 JOhn 3:8), and the devil was not going to take this lying down.

I do believe that there are good spiritual beings out there (angel) and evil spiritual beings (what Paul calls "the powers of darkness"). Jesus came to redeem the world and to deliver us from sin and its power. Sin and evil lies within our hearts and we need the power of Jesus to give us the strength to make something of ourselves and to clean up the mess of the world. And Christmas is the story of where this help comes from; it is not merely the story of a sweet baby born 2,000 years ago. More is at stake there.

Verlyn also gave me his email address, in case you'd like to contact him with your concerns directly. With his permission, I post it below:


If you decide to write him, I'd love it if you'd copy me on your response. This is all very interesting.

Have a good week!

Laura Hartness