This is the second of Chris Ridgeway’s reviews of Don Everts’ new series from IVP.
Everts, Don. The Fingerless Lady Living in My Head: One Guy?s Musings About Tolerance. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2007.
Don Everts is chilling in the mountains and giving tours of his head. InterVarsity Press?s One Guy?s Head series records Everts? mental living room, where ideas lounge, hug, and make argumentative conversation.
The fourth of the series is Evert?s portrait of The Fingerless Lady, the smiley kindergarten teacher who represents tolerance (no finger-pointing, get it?). She tells the classic story of everyone?s path up the mountain (in this case Seattle?s Mt. Rainier) being about the same, and personified ideas like Conflict is Always Horrible and The Wisdom of That Which Is Poetic nod their heads vigorously.
Like the others in the series, the strength of Everts? approach is its promotion of self-awareness ? his naming scheme encourages us to know what schools of thought are influencing our mental process. But labeling as a habit usually endangers the conversation via over-simplification and this is precisely where Everts? falls short. Roadblocks thrown up by ?Existentialism? (?rocks are rocks? and why should reality about God be different??) only make Lady Tolerance sullen and repeat her point louder. Subsequent arguments about pedophiles being in the wrong stop her cold. She can?t seem to conjure up even simplified retorts using Berger?s social constructionism or Saussure?s linguistic suspicion. In the end, she winds up being a straw woman, easily trampled by the genial Old Man who reads passages from scripture explaining Jesus?.
I?d give Everts more credit had he given The Fingerless Lady a bit more. Where is the necessary discussion of power or a chastened epistemology that acknowledges perspective even in special revelation? At the end of the day, it?s clear Everts had kicked the Lady out of the living room before she arrived and is not much the wiser for it.
~ Chris Ridgeway