Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed


Fake D.A. Carson Site

posted by xscot mcknight

Some have created a “fake D.A. Carson site,” which I won’t link to here. A few comments: Yes, this can be funny stuff. Yes, Carson’s big enough to handle it. Yes, we all need a little humor and satire can be great fun. But… No, this site is not good. Why?
A steady diet of satire is soul-destroying, especially when one remains anonymous and especially when it goes on indefinitely about the same person. Satire turns the human gaze against others, even if at first in fun, and learns to hold Eikons up for ridicule and insult. It has its own way of becoming a cancer of cynicism, eventually eating the soul. I was a reader of The Wittenburg Door in its early years. Feasting on such comes with a price.
All one has to read is the story of Tony Hendra, called Father Joe.
You cannot possibly live by the Jesus Creed and turn your focus to satire, especially anonymous satire. Impossible.



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Anonymous

posted September 17, 2007 at 12:39 am


Contextless Links [09.16.07]… | words are not enough | live… from new orleans

[...] Scot McKnight on Satire- ***Must Read*** [...]



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Ted M. Gossard

posted September 17, 2007 at 4:45 am


Interesting thought, Scot, and I concur. I’ve seen this among Christians poking fun constantly at one person as well as at myself at the time. I deserved a small amount of it for thinking out loud in a way with regard to politics that was unwise at best. But I long since took that back. But the poking and clear refusal to take anything serious about me continued on, and I ended up being ostracised. This happened to another brother as well among us, for a different reason. So I’m sensitive to this issue, and hope to avoid it completely towards others, myself.



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Tim Gombis

posted September 17, 2007 at 5:18 am


One of the most difficult tasks for a college professor is to help students cultivate a critical mind without developing a critical spirit. This is what seems to be at work here, sadly. There is much in Carson’s body of work that needs critique, as with anyone who has written much, but sarcasm and a critical spirit only cloud one’s judgment and distract from the duty and delight of vigorous critique over the substantive issues.



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Diane

posted September 17, 2007 at 6:49 am


It should not be done anonymously. Period. I think I speak for other journalists who use this site when I say that anonymous sources are next to worthless (what credibility do they have? They can say anything, risk-free) and that not standing by one’s words is contemptible, unless there is a real and immediate physical threat in doing so. Plus, whoever is doing this would no doubt be screaming to the high heavens if the tables were turned … This helps nothing and hurts everything. I’ve seen glimpses of an “us/them” mentality in emerging, with no holds barred towards perceived “enemies” that I imagine might mirror the fundamentalism some emergents come from, and it needs to be, imho, eradicated. Immediately. Embrace DA Carson, I say. Love your enemy.



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Scot McKnight

posted September 17, 2007 at 6:53 am


Diane,
I agree completely except for this: is this from emerging folks? I didn’t see anything that made me think that but I didn’t read each post.



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joe

posted September 17, 2007 at 7:23 am


coming from a community where sarcasm and making fun of is a cultural norm (even in church), stuff like this used to be common place in my place. but it is so destructive and shallow. and all i was doing was protecting myself from any words being thrown my way.



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jason

posted September 17, 2007 at 7:48 am


scot, i appreciate this post, and agree. i think tim’s comments (#3) are especially appropriate. however, it occurs to me that jesus seemed to utilize something like satire when speaking about the pharisees (whitened sepulchres; knats & camels, travelling afar to make converts for hell, etc.). the strength of satire, it think, is also it’s weakness: the ability to forcefully drive a point through ironic caricature.
do you think a disctinction can be made between appropriate and inappropriate uses of satire for those in the kingdom? or, do you think it’s simply something we should avoid because of it’s inherent tendency toward misuse?



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Scott A.

posted September 17, 2007 at 7:51 am


Without intending to weigh in on the merit of this site, I’ll add to the context by pointing out that it is a parody within a parody. The model is “The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs” at http://fakesteve.blogspot.com, which is enormously popular within the tech (particularly Mac) subculture.



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Scott A.

posted September 17, 2007 at 7:55 am


I probably should have put a profanity warning on that Fake Steve link aboveâ??sorry about that. If you’re sensitive to that kind of thing, don’t click.



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Helen

posted September 17, 2007 at 8:09 am


Jason, I think Scot hit the nail on the head when he said “You cannot possibly live by the Jesus Creed and turn your focus to satire”, because I don’t see evidence of love behind the Christian satire I read. Christians play word games and say “Ah, but it IS loving because I am sharing truth!” but no, love is a matter of motive, of what’s in the heart. The motive I sense behind the Christian satire I read is scoring points with unkind put-downs of other people. I do not consider this loving.
People in good relationships give each other permission to tease each other. I think it’s presumptuous to assume that permission with strangers; I think respect is the best way to start a relationship.
And I know people use Jesus’ words to the Pharisees, or some of Paul’s words as an ‘excuse’ to use unkind satire. But is that really what God intended the Bible for? To help us find excuses for what we like to do? Or is it to call us to better behavior which truly follows the spirit of the Jesus Creed?



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Diane

posted September 17, 2007 at 8:13 am


Scot,
Sorry. I thought it came from emerging, but I don’t know that.



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My 2 cents

posted September 17, 2007 at 8:20 am


I love a good turn of a phrase. It’s the best. But, at the end of the day, you are right about satire. I also believe that critiquing for the sake of critquing has the same effect on the soul. It becomes the end, and it erodes regular people’s confidence in being able to read the scripture and allow the spirit move their soul.



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RJS

posted September 17, 2007 at 8:23 am


Great reponse Helen – I couldn’t have put it better.
Frankly, I think that the way we treat each other, publicly and privately – and Carson, agree with him or not, is a fellow Christian – reflects on the faith as a whole, and provides one of the most significant stumbling blocks for effective missional Christian evangelism.



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Anonymous

posted September 17, 2007 at 8:30 am


MicahFries.com>>enjoying the journey that is life… » Satire Exposed

[...] We all love satire, at least until we become the subject of it, it seems. Scot McKnight has recently written a very short piece explaining the “soul-destroying” component of satire. I really recommend that you read it. You can do so by clicking here. Share and Enjoy: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. [...]



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Bob

posted September 17, 2007 at 8:49 am

Scott Watson

posted September 17, 2007 at 9:00 am


Scot, I agree with your premise and point you’re making here. A thought.If you read Matt 23,Jesus engages in polemics stroger than the satirical treatment that D. A. Carson gets skewered with,and Paul (or whomever),quoting Cretan poet Epimenides,to apparently justify what he’s saying,used what could be called an ethnic slur of sorts in Titus 12-13 (which he believes!) in service of his pastoral instruction to Titus in combating false doctrine.
Thus,this type of language does have biblical warrant,even though that doesn’t mean that we should engage in it. We do have to engage in a critical retrieval of the biblical tradition;for in the case of the anti-Judaic rhetoric of the NT,it has been used in ways which have been dangerous in history. My question is this:do we have the same scruples about those outside of the intramural joustings of various espressions of evangelical Christianity? Do we feel the same misgivings about using this kind of satire against “liberal” Christians, or those of other religions? If not, why?



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Scot McKnight

posted September 17, 2007 at 9:17 am


Scott,
Matthew 23 is not satire. To be sure, there is potent criticism in the Bible and there are at times stereotypes … but that is not satire on one person done over time — like Mad Magazine etc.
I hope I can be consistent here. Satire, let me add again, has a place. But we need to ask what this sort of thing does to us. Nothing good.



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Jamie Arpin-Ricci

posted September 17, 2007 at 9:27 am


Scot,
I agree that this stuff is poison, both to the writer and those who read it. Especially when it is designed so intentionally to cut deep.
If used appropriately and in proper moderation, do you see satire is ever acceptable? Very curious.
Peace,
Jamie



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Nick Norelli

posted September 17, 2007 at 9:55 am


In the defense of the people running the fake D.A. Carson blog, they said that they would take the blog down in a moment’s notice if they knew that Dr. Carson wanted them to. The problem seems to be from what I have read is that no one from Trinity is allowing them contact with Dr. Carson.
I agree that satire has its place and I’m also in agreement that to target one individual (no matter the reason) over an extended period of time can prove harmful in the long run.
B”H



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Anonymous

posted September 17, 2007 at 10:04 am


Mere Orthodoxy » The Frontiers of Christian Humour (Updated)

[...] Update:Â Scot McKnight has weighed in with this thought: “A steady diet of satire is soul-destroying, especially when one remains anonymous and especially when it goes on indefinitely about the same person.” [...]



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Diane

posted September 17, 2007 at 10:31 am


There are two issues here, anonymity and satire. I don’t think there’s much of a place for satire to begin with (though I believe there are contexts for it), but to do it anonymously is similar to striking someone who is blindfolded.



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Helen

posted September 17, 2007 at 10:48 am


Do we feel the same misgivings about using this kind of satire against â??liberalâ? Christians, or those of other religions? If not, why?
I certainly do and I imagine Scot does – I’ve never seen him imply we should show favoritism, being kind to some people and not others.



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Helen

posted September 17, 2007 at 10:49 am


The problem seems to be from what I have read is that no one from Trinity is allowing them contact with Dr. Carson.
If they didn’t care about being anonymous they could just go ask him whether he cares about it.



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Josh

posted September 17, 2007 at 10:54 am


I am going against the flow here. I live on a campus where a lot of the students actually think Piper is the pope. I have a teachers that think that D.A. Carson can explain every divine mystery. I looked at the site and didn’t see any malevolence.
In some theological-social circles, it is taboo to talk about certain people or certain things. If you mention Clark Pinnock or charismata you get the “look.” I think the same thing was happening with Jesus and his white-washed graves statement about the Pharisees.
However, I too dislike satire. It seems that we make fun of everything here in the U.S.
But, man, someone does need to bust the Piper/Carson bubble that causes everyone to drop their thinking hats and take whatever they say as divine revelation. If you are in one those circles, you know what I mean.



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Mike C

posted September 17, 2007 at 11:49 am


Scot, you’ve been known to be a fan of Mark Twain, one of the great satirists of history. I assume you also appreciate classic literature like Dante’s Inferno, another great work of satire (in parts). I wonder, how do reconcile this with the absolute condemnation of satire you state in this closing line: “You cannot possibly live by the Jesus Creed and turn your focus to satire, especially anonymous satire. Impossible.”?
I don’t know if you watch The Daily Show, the Colbert Report or the Simpsons, or read Garrison Keillor, but these are examples of satire that I appreciate. Personally I think satire can sometimes serve a good purpose (sometimes it is the only way to speak truth to power), though I agree that it can be spiritually dangerous when it is anonymous or focused too exclusively on one person or one group of people.



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Scot McKnight

posted September 17, 2007 at 11:55 am


Mike,
I think I’ve stated it clearly that I think there is a place for satire; I don’t know how you could say I have an “absolute condemnation” when you also quote my word “focus” and “anonymous” which are serious mitigations of any kind of absolute condemnation.
It’s one of degree; it’s about one’s focus; it’s what drives a person.
I can read Twain and Mencken and Keillor — who used to do more satire than he now does — but not as a steady diet. I don’t watch the Daily Report or the Colbert Report. We watched the Simpsons only when Luke used to watch it.



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Jason

posted September 17, 2007 at 12:39 pm


Scot (and other critics),
Would you be more open this website if the authors removed their anonymity, or would it still cross the line because it is gluttonous in its use of satire (to stick with the eating metaphor)? Or is the problem here the object of the satire?
I’m actually not trying to defend the site, or the use of satire in general (though I must confess that I’m a big fan of The Colbert Report), but based on my admittedly brief and incomplete browsing of the site in question, it seemed pretty clear that this was not an attempt to criticize Carson per se but only infatuated lovers of Carson (and other evangelical idols … Josh’s comment #24 above rings true to my experience). If this is the case, then I would submit that the object of satire here is entirely appropriate, though perhaps we could debate whether it’s too much of a good thing.



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Scot McKnight

posted September 17, 2007 at 12:59 pm


Jason,
Using their names might make them more careful, and that would help. The issue for me is the focus of a site that is pledged by its nature to ongoing satire about Carson. It has nothing to do with it being Carson; I was simply told by someone to look at the site.
A single post about someone, as Steve McCoy did a year or so ago by pinning a George Bush body to Piper, is entirely fun for me. A blog dedicated to satire is unloving.



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Tim Gombis

posted September 17, 2007 at 2:03 pm


There’s actually a way of poking fun at someone in a way that isn’t hurtful. It’s sort of having a little fun with someone while avoiding putting yourself above them. N.T. Wright did this about 8-9 years ago in a book review section at SBL–he presented his review as a visit by the book to a psychotherapist, with Wright narrating the interchange. It was brilliant, had everyone in stitches, but avoided being hurtful. It’s published in a journal somewhere (the journal ‘Theology Today’, I believe).
You can also help your case by poking a bit of fun at yourself, or trying not to take yourself so seriously. That’s probably where Stephen Colbert ends up being somewhat redemptive and not mean and angry. We’re all in on the joke, and the joke is partially on him because he’s a goof-ball. If you can replicate that somehow, without demeaning a person, then it’s redemptive. If not, avoid the sarcasm, it only degrades and destroys.



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Mike C

posted September 17, 2007 at 2:42 pm


“I donâ??t know how you could say I have an â??absolute condemnationâ? when you also quote my word â??focusâ? and â??anonymousâ? which are serious mitigations of any kind of absolute condemnation.”
Sorry Scot. I guess I didn’t realize those words were intended as qualifiers. I guess I took your use of the word “impossible” as an absolute statement. My bad.



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John W Frye

posted September 17, 2007 at 3:19 pm


I really enjoy good satire and went to the Fake John Piper sight and, frankly, it was boring.



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John W Frye

posted September 17, 2007 at 3:20 pm


“sight” above comment should read “web site.”



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jason

posted September 17, 2007 at 3:38 pm


helen, i really like your comment. i agree that permission is key in any relationship of respect (and even then it can become hurtful!).
thanks for responding!



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Helen

posted September 17, 2007 at 3:58 pm


Thanks Jason!



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Bill Crawford

posted September 17, 2007 at 4:43 pm


Doug Wilson has used satire and written a book “The Serrated Edge” regarding its use.
Some thoughts by theologian John Frame at Reformed Seminary are relevant for this discussion.
http://www.dougwils.com/index.asp?Action=Anchor&CategoryID=1&BlogID=4261
Bill



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Robert E. Mason

posted September 17, 2007 at 6:24 pm


Satire is not ridicule. Someplace W.H. Auden draws a distinction between comedy and satire. Both the comic and satirists believe the world is going to hell in a hand basket. The comic pokes fun at it in order to have a good laugh. The satirist pokes fun at the world with a view to changing it. Neither should be done anonymously. Satire, it would seem, has a positive social function. I donâ??t know how this applies to D. A. Carson.



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Heather Fischer

posted September 17, 2007 at 7:35 pm


I think Bob Hyatt took most of the brunt of it from TeamPyro’s Frank Turk last month.
http://bobhyatt.typepad.com/bobblog/2007/08/dont-take-the-b.html



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Doug Allen

posted September 17, 2007 at 8:52 pm


Satire is a type of irony that frequently uses hyperbole and other literary devices in order to criticize. It has a corrective purpose. Satire is a noble literary genre. Jonathan Swift, perhaps the best example in the English language, and Mark Twain, probably the best American example, used satire draw attention to injustice, for instance, the plight of the poor, or the plight of the colored. I agree, Scot, that anonymous satire is inappropriate except where authorship would expose one to harm such as in a totalitarian country. I think what you and I object to are not satire, but so much that is wrongly called satire- mean spirited put downs and ridicule, sarcasm, clever polemics and witty character assassinations, things of that nature that reflect poor taste and/or a desire to hurt rather than correct. At least, that’s my take as an English major and former English teacher who thinks the Jesus Creed is way too simple for the learned and sophisticated types who haunt this blog (my example of irony that might, with further development, rise to the level of satire).
Doug Allen



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Kathy

posted September 17, 2007 at 9:33 pm


What may start out as “fun” and “innocent” can wreak havoc in the soul, and witty banter can quickly become mean-spirited. I agree with Scot and others – there is something rather cowardly in hiding behind an anonymous blog. Whether or not the intention is to poke fun or serve as some sort of strange fan site (like the fake Steve Jobs site), how people perceive the blog and comments should be taken into consideration.
And somewhere earlier was a comment about how the folks running the blog would be willing to drop it if Carson wanted them to sounds a bit like a no-win situation. If he responds with a “please stop this” then his critics could easily come back with “he can’t handle a little joke”. It’s endless, fruitless…except for maybe a good on-line discussion about the merits of good satire in limited doses.



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Ted M. Gossard

posted September 17, 2007 at 9:50 pm


I think it’s great fun to laugh at each other and poke fun at each other when it’s done as friends. At work I fellowship with a number of guys who have great mutual respect and love to laugh at each other. We’ve had shifts where we’re laughing nearly 50% of the time. We need that.
But we knew it was never at anyone’s expense. It was entirely in fun. When that line is crossed in a different direction, then an issue for me becomes one of respect. And I have an awful hard time respecting people who belittle others on a consistent basis, or even belittle someone at all. A hard one for me.



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Mariam

posted September 18, 2007 at 12:19 am


I think it is fair to satirize ideas and theologies. I think it is unloving to satirize people and it is a temptation I often have to resist. I went to the fake Carson site and I didn’t get it. I vaguely know who DA Carson it and I am not a fan but I just didn’t get the jokes. If satire is acceptable it has to be funny.



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Anonymous

posted September 18, 2007 at 9:56 am


Satire, sarcasm, scorn and scars at Bene Diction Blogs On

[...] From Jesus Creed: A steady diet of satire is soul-destroying, especially when one remains anonymous and especially when it goes on indefinitely about the same person. Satire turns the human gaze against others, even if at first in fun, and learns to hold Eikons up for ridicule and insult. It has its own way of becoming a cancer of cynicism, eventually eating the soul. [...]



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Brant

posted September 18, 2007 at 11:03 am


I confess to being a bit confused by McKnight’s position, though I think I agree with the spirit behind it.
He says satire has its place, but “nothing good” comes out of it. I think I read that right, in the comments. Forgive me if I misread.
Satire can be misused. Metaphors can be misused. Humor can be misused. Reductio ad absurdum, as an example among logical tools, can be misused.
Satire isn’t soul-destroying, ungrace is. Satire is just so interesting — done well, or even poorly — it sticks out.
How many quite literal denigrations of people have I read? Countless. Many have been couched in seemingly Biblical or Christian terms. But I don’t stand ready to condemn the use of literalism, or Biblical authority, in conversation.
It’s the motivation, folks.
Some of us see the irony that abounds, too, and appreciate it. I, for one, read the Wittenburg Door as a teen and thought, I must have a place in the Kingdom! I say some good can certainly come out of it.



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Scot McKnight

posted September 18, 2007 at 11:15 am


Brad,
I’m speaking of feasting on it; there is a place for its occasional use. Swift, for instance; Twain.
Satire, when it becomes the focus, turns others into objects to hold up in such a way they are essentially excoriated. I can’t recommend enough that you read Tony Hendra’s book.
I disagree: it is more than motivation. Genre transcends motivation and when we commit ourselves to the genre of satire we commit ourselves to a mindset, an approach, and a way of viewing reality. Example: scientific theology, the kind done with tedious trotting out of evidence and analytical categories etc, is not without its impact on spirituality when that becomes the focus and even when it becomes the norm for how theology is done.



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Brant

posted September 18, 2007 at 11:24 am


Thanks for the clarification. Certainly, living where satire is “the focus” is a very bad idea.
I remember a Simpsons’ episode, the “Do What You Feel Festival” in downtown Springfield. While everyone was extolling how wonderful it was to be freed of moral considerations, the ferris wheel came off its base, and sent passengers screaming as it rolled down the street.
A kid asked the lunching maintenance guy why he didn’t put the safety bolt in. “Well, I didn’t feel like it.”
Brilliant. And concise, too. Not the only lens for viewing the world, certainly, and our culture is O.D.’ing on smirking, but it’s still a wonderful tool, used rightly.



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nathan

posted September 18, 2007 at 12:13 pm


ummm….
the site isn’t about the real Don per se.
It’s called “fakecarson”.
I didn’t see anything meanspirited in it. This site isn’t even close to The Wittenberg Door.
IMHO, if you’re a public figure and you can’t take some wisecracking–or even join in about yourself–then something’s wrong.



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Sean Cannon

posted September 18, 2007 at 3:49 pm


i think the problem might be, and they’ve talked about this on the site, the differences between various audiences. most of their comments come from IP addresses where most of the major evangelical seminaries are, and the blog itself is essentially a satirical look at evangelical seminary life. considering that i previously attended SBTS (and dropped out for several reasons), i find the fake carson site humorous, not mean-spirited, and filled with plenty of good things to say. but that’s because of my perspective. i’ve experienced things and met people that fit completely into what is being said there. other people coming from different walks of life obviously won’t share my view.
also, if you indulge only in satire, of course you lose your humanity. but just because the fake carson blog is a satirical look at evangelical wackiness doesn’t mean that these people are encouraging us to feast only on satire and nothing else. those behind the blog have even said as much. it’s just one blog that has a post or two a day on it. i can’t imagine that the authors would consume their entire day, or even a majority of their day (or for that matter, a considerable amount of time per day), with the blog. and, by the same token, reading one or two blog posts a day from the fake carson site doesn’t seem to be dehumanizing, especially when the posts don’t seem to be the least bit vicious. i’ve been vicious with satire on more than one occasion, and this doesn’t seem to be that way. i may be way off here, i could easily see that. but this is how it appears to me.
and there is one last point to consider; it’s something that has been brought up but not discussed. the fake carson site is a meta-joke. it’s not just a joke or satire. it’s a joke on a joke, or satire of satire. someone previously mentioned that it was started to resemble the fake steve jobs site (which is also hilarious, though i don’t read it often). i think that might need to be factored into this, too. as well, i think this is why i enjoy the fake carson site more than anything. but i know that meta-humor isn’t for everyone…



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Sean Cannon

posted September 18, 2007 at 7:49 pm


a bit of an update. the fake carson site has decided to shut down operations in a week and go offline in two weeks.



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jason

posted September 18, 2007 at 11:10 pm


@ Sean
What was their reason for taking it down?



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Jim P.

posted September 19, 2007 at 12:09 am


Hmmm… Scott, you said, “No, this site is not good.” Isn’t that just your perspective though? Your idea of what is “not good” is no better than anyone else’s idea of what is “good” or not (whatever “good” could possibly mean in this case). By proscribing what is generally “good” you have just taken a trip down the road with the modernist Christians. Right? Certainly not the way to include others in the “conversation”, eh?
Yes, I am snickering.



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discokvn

posted September 19, 2007 at 8:09 am


okay, i’m going to go really against the flow here and hopefullly i won’t come across as a idiot:
1. scot shouldn’t you have posted this at their site, not yours?
2. we satirize the things we love because we love them and want to see them be even better. in this case the church (or maybe better church culture?, evangelical church culture?) through the vehicle of fake carson. i don’t think it was a slam on carson.
3. you have to admit that “emerjerk” is funny — we’ve got to be able to laugh at ourselves.



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Scot McKnight

posted September 19, 2007 at 8:21 am


Discokvn,
You’re most welcome. It never dawned on me to post this on their site, in part because I wanted to make a point with my readers about satire and its deleterious effects on our spirituality.
I don’t know that love motivates or prompts satire. Some satire, sure; but it would be inaccurate to presume all act out of love. Neither Twain nor Mencken were prompted by love so far as I can see.
I don’t know what Carson thought; from what is reported he didn’t like it and neither did TEDS. That has to be considered.
Do you think adding “jerk” to a word can ever be funny? It’s so strong I don’t think it can get to the funny point; but I have to confess I breezed over that term on the site and it had nothing to do with anything I posted.
So, let me say it again: what concerns me is the genre and a site dedicated to a genre that by necessity turns the viewer against the object — by necessity let me say again. Even if for a moment, the viewer holds the person up to criticize by caricature and distortion.
A site dedicated to satire … that concerns me. Occasional satire … fine and it can be of good use. Not very often, so I think, but sometimes and only when done well and never anonymously.
Satire leads to things like Samuel Butler’s The Way of All Flesh. It turns humans against others.



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Anonymous

posted September 19, 2007 at 1:58 pm


From the Ashes » Blog Archive » Christian celebrities divorcing…and other items around the web

[...] Scot McKnight believes satire is wrong. What do you think? Is it? JJ, where art thou to comment on such things?  [...]



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Syler

posted September 19, 2007 at 2:54 pm


To be honest, I thought the site was funny, but posting pics of Dr. Carson playing badminton I thought was over the line. That starts to get quite personal, and crosses into mean-spirited, even though I know they didn’t mean it to be. Playing badminton with your students is a pretty vulnerable activity, and to have those pics posted on a satirical site is a little low. But there were definitely funny moments. It’s probably good to have it come to an end. Fun while it lasted…



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Syler

posted September 19, 2007 at 2:56 pm


McKnight Rider with the Hasselhoff pic was pretty funny too.



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discokvn

posted September 20, 2007 at 7:09 am


hey scot,
sorry to respond to your response so late, alas mom is failing and had to take care of her…
you’re right all satire is not motivated by love, that was an overstatement on my part. but in the case of the carson site — i do think their satire was based on something they love, namely the church.
the word jerk can it ever be funny? as i see it, the context is everything:
scene a: i’m driving down the road, someone cuts me off. i call them a jerk. i’ve degraded their humanity and it’s inappropriate, and not funny.
scene b. i’m discussing with my prayer partners the argument i had with my wife the night before. they look at me with a question marks on their faces and respond, ‘you were being a jerk’. in this case (and it’s real), they’ve not degraded me but used the word as a rebuke to get me to understand my behavior and actions toward my wife. also, not funny.
scene c. i’m discussing baptism with my infant baptizing, reformed buddies. i make a point to which they have no answer, so they respond, “Oh, I see… jerk.” and we all laugh. first, because it’s unexpected (and that’s part of the nature of humor). second, because it lampoons the illusion (bad choice of words but they’re the only one i can think of right now) that if you call someone a name, you win an argument.
something i think one of us is missing is the intent of the site; is it to criticize carson, or the church. my reading of it was the church (specifically the culture evangelical leadership can create) through a “fake-carson”. if they were holding carson up to ridicule, i think we’ve got a different situation. but i think “fake-carson” is the vehicle not the object. granted real carson could become the object if this is misunderstood but this is another danger of satire isn’t it?
i’m probably a bit more free with my use of satire, though i do agree that a steady diet of satire can become abusive and dull. i think another danger of satire is that people have to know the real object before they can understand the satire — maybe that’s why i’ve never understood twain (whom my wife loves).
so i’m left to ask, would it have been funnier if it were grudem?



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Jason

posted September 20, 2007 at 8:56 am


Now what’s really funny is the initial sentence in pingback comment #53 immediately following Scot’s comments on satire in #52.



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discokvn

posted September 20, 2007 at 9:34 am


hey scot,
wow, i made a reply earlier and it wasn’t posted, don’t know what happened.
first, yes i agree all satire isn’t motivated by love. in this case i think that the blog is using the vehicle of “fake-carson” to saterize the church culture (or maybe better evangelical cultureal leadership).
use of the word jerk,is it funny? i think it depends on context.
scene a. I’m driving down the road, someone cuts me off and i call them a jerk. in this case the use of the word jerk is disrespectful and degrading to their humanity. not funny.
scene b. meeting with the guys i pray with i relate an argument i had with my wife the previous evening. they look at me with a question marks on their faces and say, “you were being a real jerk.” in this case (a very real one) the word serves as a rebuke, and is not disrespectful nor degrading. oh, and it’s not funny either.
scene c. my infant baptizing, reformed buddies and i are discussing baptism. i make a point they had not considered and so they respond, “oh, i see… jerk.” and we all have a laugh — why? because first, it’s an unexpected response (part of the nature of humor), and second it lampoons the idea that one can “win” an argument by calling someone a name. in this case the use of the word is funny.
i do agree that satire can degrade a person. though i think that the site did not intend to degrade carson rather i think the vehicle of “fake-carson” was used to lampoon the seriousness with which we take some things. I also think that another danger of satire is that it can grow dull AND in order to “get” satire one has to understand what is being saterized. again, context is king, when one doesn’t understand the object being saterized it can be seen as very mean spirited.
finally, would you have found it funnier if they had used grudem?



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discokvn

posted September 20, 2007 at 10:21 am


hey scot,
i’ve tried to post twice to respond but it comes up blank… will the third time be the charm??



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discokvn

posted September 20, 2007 at 10:46 am


my previous two attempts were blocked perhaps because i used a certain word, so alas so i don’t have to write this a fourth time, i’ve tried to get around the term.
in response: i should have been more specific, some satire is motivated by love. in this case, i think that they are using the vehicle of “fake-carson” to poke at the church (or maybe more accurately, the evangelical leadership of western church culture) i don’t think carson was the target.
use of the term: sometimes i think it can be funny.
scene a. i’m in traffic and someone cuts me off and exclaim said term. it is degrading and not honoring their humanity. nor is it funny.
scene b. i’m speaking with my prayer partners about the fight i had with my wife the night before. they look at me with question marks on their faces and say, “wow you were really being a j**k”. in this case the term serves as a rebuke. the word is not funny in this scene either.
scene c. in the middle of a theological conversation about baptism with my infant baptizing, reformed buddies i make a point they had not considered to which they respond, “Oh, I get it… j**k”. and we all laugh. is it funny, we thought so. first, because it’s unexpected (part of the nature of humor). second, because it lampoons the idea that someone can win an argument by calling someone a name. does it dishonor or degrade me? i don’t think so. given the context of the conversation.
which leads me to one of the dangers of satire. i really think to get satire one needs to understand what is being satirized. if one doesn’t understand “the original”, one doesn’t get the satire and it can be percieved as mean spirited (and it might be mean spirited, but i think the danger for misunderstanding and misperception is greater when the “thing” being satirized isn’t grasped).
so would you have found it funnier if it was grudem?



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Sean Cannon

posted September 20, 2007 at 8:14 pm


i don’t think it would have been funnier with grudem, mainly because, while he obviously has seminary ties, he isn’t really seen as the face of an instiution the same way that mohler, carson, or mouw would be.
but it would open things up to a whole heck of a lot more manhood/womanhood stuff…
either way, i am sad to see the site go, but if you check out the reasons they gave for closing down, i can’t disagree.



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Anonymous

posted September 23, 2007 at 9:02 am


Prolegomena » Blog Archive » Christianity and satire

[...] Scot McKnight recently suggested that satire is incompatible with the “Jesus creed”. While I don’t doubt McKnight’s expertise on the New Testament, I have to wonder about his judgments regarding satire, and its relationship to the Christian life. To abbreviate, McKnight argues that the Jesus Creed is based on the Shema of Judaism (Deut. 6:4â??9), which declares we are to love God with all our being, amended to include caring for one’s neighbor as oneself (Lev. 19:18). This credo is to shape and inform individual and communal life for the Christian. (Read the book for full, robust account.) [...]



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reopeaspesk

posted March 25, 2011 at 5:59 am


very intersting article, like to read it
bookmarked your site



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