Jefferson Bethke. The most controversial figure in the world of Christian blogging since last week's tizzy over Mark Driscoll's latest book.
If you haven't heard by now, there's a little spoken word video made by a young Christian named Jefferson Bethke of Washington state that's making the interwebs go all aflutter. If you haven't seen this on your Facebook news feed yet, you will. You can also go ahead and click "Like" to this blog's Facebook page by clicking here if you have not done so yet. Go ahead, click it.... CLICK IT!
Ahem, anyway, the video:
Of course, Mr. Bethke's video could not be a bona fide hit without critiques. Like this one. Or this one. Or this one.
I posted this video on my personal Facebook page and received a lot of great comments. My brother Joe wrote:
I believe this is a wonderful poem, a great discussion starter, and if this piece can get anyone interested in knowing more about the Christ, his life and what he did; I say job well done.
Then I believe it is up to us to the church (which this young man said he loved during his clarification verse) to educate them in more detail. After all how much can you pack into a four min. poem (and still make it flow)
Finally I think this was inspired. If we through out all of our thoughts on what he could have further clarified, or we wish that he included, I believe what he actually said has weight. Now that this video is going viral, in our discussions I hope that our conversations can be as honest, and fresh, and inspired as this young mans.
... The word religion itself is pretty much a blank slate, dependent on how one uses it. I think to say that "Jesus loved religion" in the context of the religious orders of that day, would be false, and since this young man draws his references from Jesus's Life and death, then I see no great contradiction in what he has stated. After all, the church that the early disciples would build was not yet created, but he does warn against the dangers of being like the leaders of that time. Hypocrites and elitist law loving judges.
Another friend wrote:
To me it got out the fact that religion as we have come to know it is man made and really has very little to do with Jesus and His intent. I love it because though there is so much debate, that video has over 9 million and rapidly growing and this guy got the main message across and every pair of ears that heard it is accountable for the information and it will spark discussions about the topics relayed which is much needed within the church and religious sectors. GOD is going to get the glory anyway because JESUS as SAVIOR is mentioned! God is still doing His thang! I'm impressed! :)A third friend took issue with the Kevin DeYoung rebuttal in particular. He wrote:
Sorry, but Kevin Deyoung and others like him need to get a life. I mean, really... you're going to analyze this kid's poem line by line? How about trying to come to grips with why this thing went viral in the first place? This poem has clearly tapped into something deep in the hearts of many, many people who are truly dissatisfied with what they've been experiencing as "church." E.g., the cult of leadership, pastor as CEO, abusive authority, the Sunday morning "showtime," organizational priorities trumping the needs of people... I could go on but you get the idea. People today are desperately looking for something real, and the only reality that will ever satisfy is an actual full-blown encounter with the living God. More and more people are simply done with church as we have known it because that kind of reality just ain't happening there.I contemplated writing a response, but... nah. I'm wrapping up maternity leave and heading back to work on Tuesday. Plus I have much to discuss (I spent a third of last month in the hospital...!). BUT, please feel free to comment here. Do you agree with the video? Or do you have reservations about it? Share!
Anytime I hear people defending organized religion, or the church as we have known it, it's usually because they have a vested interest in play. And lo and behold, there it is on his webpage: Mr. Deyoung pastors a Reformed church in Michigan. And for someone who mentions Matthew 18 in their critique without actually following Jesus' words there (i.e. how about contacting Jefferson first before tearing his work apart?), well, it's just typical of the mindset: I'll tell you what to do but don't expect me to do it. Nothing against him personally, he seems like a nice guy, but the intellectual equivocation over the real issues just gets a bit much to take sometimes.
And Happy 2012! To my 3 new followers, welcome abord!