Now, I'm somewhat distracted.
Smith's article is of the "clear and relevant" variety. He restates C.S. Lewis' assertion that a Christian writer should first be an excellent writer, expanding it to include statisticians. He doesn't even give partial credit for ignorance. And I'm glad he didn't. I couldn't agree more with many of his assertions, but what fascinated me was his conclusion that the Evangelical world thrives on fear. This has certainly been my experience, and I gather it has been Robert's as well based upon his comment on my last post.
When I was a small girl in a Christian School, I was bombarded with News of the World-style horror stories. Every Friday, my grade would gather together in one classroom to watch movies like The Hiding Place, John Hus--Martyr for God, and predecessors of the Left Behind movies. In the same way that my parents spent their childhood scanning the sky for nuclear missiles, I spent my childhood mentally preparing for the day I would be martyred. Or imprisoned. Or worse yet, Left Behind. I clearly remember the day when one of my teachers read this story aloud to the class. Talk about nightmares. Later, we were treated to a story about the night another teacher woke suffocating to find a yellow demon perched on his chest. I'm not going to say this didn't happen, but I will say that he probably shouldn't have told his class about it. (This particular teacher was passionate about his subject. He was an excellent teacher and I liked him. I wouldn't even all him crazy, but he did provide a credible camp-fire story for years to come.)
To be fair and honest, John Hus and Corrie Ten Boom are my personal heroes because of what Jesus empowered them to do.
I remember thinking that I could do something to improve the world around me and consequently, my fate, if I could just make it to the age of eighteen and remember to Vote Republican! (I have some admissions to make, here. First, I mean no disrespect to Corrie Ten Boom's book or John Hus' martyrdom. Both have been an inspiration to me. Second, I actually think that Barack Obama might be the antichrist. Time will tell, I suppose. Incidentally, my mother-in-law thinks he just might carry Alabama if he would change his name to Barack GoBama.)
Back to the topic at hand and to summarize, since I can't seem to dam my stream of consciousness this morning: Christian Smith said some interesting stuff. I hate pretentious writing, and my school contributed to my damage by scaring me on purpose when I was small.