Slacktivist, where have you been all my life?

photo of Left Behind book courtesy hubimg.comMy brain hurts.  There are many reasons for this but I think the basic problem is that this entire week has been like some sort of endurance test.  Go, keep going, never stop, just go, places to go, people to see, people to feed, things to wash, things to buy, gotta go, go, GO!  I am weary.  And also, I’m struggling with being a witch again.  But that will pass, I trust.

Mr. Right’s car is on the fritz, which is a cute way to say that it’s about to cost us a truckload of money.  We’ve been sharing a car for three days now.  Well, “sharing” is not the right word.  Mostly, I get the car.  But he does have to get to work and back, so it complicates things a little for both of us.  That’s how life is.  Something is always on the fritz, something is always complicated, and you always have to keep going.

In light of all that…can I just share something I found today that’s making me happy?  Or at least happy-ish?  At Stuff Fundies Like someone shared a link to a blog called slacktivist, known (by everyone but me, apparently) for its trenchant critiques of the Left Behind series.  I know that topic seems a little ’90s, but you should read the posts.  Good.  Really good.  My own reaction to the books – er, the one that I read – was simply that it was very poorly written.  “But a lot of people like them,” I’ve said with a shrug, a hundred times.  “So that’s cool. ”  Pretty much the same position I’ve taken on the Twilight series.  Fred Clark, the slacktivist, is more than willing to call out the bad writing, but he gets into subtexts and theology and all kinds of good stuff that was not touched on by my “It’s not for me – but it’s cool if you like it” posture.  And long may Mr. Clark prosper, because what I am sometimes unwilling to say is that I think some very dangerous ideas have been communicated through bad eschatology.  And the Left Behind series has bad eschatology aplenty.  We make our foreign policy decisions based on bad eschatology, many of us.  I’d rather go to the Sermon on the Mount, myself, but…well, I digress.

On a side note:  I think some very dangerous ideas are communicated through the Twilight books, too.  Er, at least the one movie I saw.  I couldn’t read the books, just couldn’t.  But that hasn’t always stopped me from harping on them.  And I have some friends who, reading this post, would have every right ask why I’ve been so willing to speechify about the messages in Twilight and too timid to take on Left Behind.  Well, that’s easy.  There are certain things Christians are supposed to enjoy, and even though I often don’t enjoy them, I don’t want to be a buzz kill for other Christians.  Or possibly I’m a coward.  Even as I write this I’m not sure which is closer to the truth.  Because my dearest Twilight-loving friend has also been on the receiving end of some blasts about the celebrity preachers she enjoys.  I’m not consistent in my timidity.

Back to the slacktivist.  So I followed the link and knew I would like this guy as soon as I saw the “knock, breathe, shine” tag line at the top of his blog.  Dude.  My favorite John Donne poem, and used in such a good song by the erstwhile band Jacob’s Trouble.  The slacktivist blog has far more to recommend it than the Left Behind posts.  You’ll have to trust me on that because I really am tired and I realize that what I intended to be a one paragraph “hey, go see this” has turned into something else…I don’t even know what.  But maybe you’ll visit the slacktivist (like the 7, 928, 230 visitors that his site meters says have been there before you), and all of my rambling will be worth it.  Despite my never having heard of the blog before, Mr. Clark has been writing it since 2004, so the archives will keep you busy for a while.


About Sharon Autenrieth

Wife, mom to 5, homeschooler, Christian Education Director, idealist, malcontent, follower of Jesus.
This entry was posted in blogging, books, spirituality and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Slacktivist, where have you been all my life?

  1. HP says:

    Ok, I have not read the Left Behind series. I got some of the books on a freecycle once and happily donated them to somewhere else. 😉 I have read the entire Twilight series, after much harassing by my teen daughter, and I have seen all 3 movies. I am assuming, so correct me if wrong, that these Left Behind books claimed to be based on something found in scripture. If that is the case, I can’t let you get away with comparing them to Twilight. Again, tell me I’m wrong and I will retract this whole thing. I’m too lazy to do the research to find out. Twilight is a work of fiction. It never claims or pretends or suggests to be anything else. Anyone in their right mind understands that it is fiction and treats as such. No one is going to base their beliefs, actions, or views of the world on the romance of Bella and her “vegetarian” vampire boyfriend. It’s all entertainment.

    I’m sure than when my daughter spots a silver Volvo and says, “It’s Edward! He’s come for me,” she is only trying to make me laugh. Right?

    Anyway, now I have to go check out this blog. Darn you, Sharon!


    • HP wrote: Anyone in their right mind understands that it is fiction and treats as such. No one is going to base their beliefs, actions, or views of the world on the romance of Bella and her “vegetarian” vampire boyfriend. It’s all entertainment.

      Oh, if only that were true. I have had conversations with a grown woman, middle aged, in a struggling marriage, who was definitely taking her views of romance from Twilight. She felt that she’d married in haste and missed the kind of only-person-in-world-for-me, chemical bond that Bella and Edward have. Seriously. And she’s in her right mind, she’s just unhappy and she’s spent too much time with Twilight.

      I do agree with you that the comparison can only be taken so far. Anything which twists scripture obviously gets a bigger thumbs down from me – although, on a side note, the Mormon view of marriage is reflected in the Twilight books. Religion plays a part there, too. And, yes, some people have read the Left Behind series as more prophecy than fiction – to their detriment, I’d say.

      But you know, as someone who has consumed a lot of art (I’m guessing), you know that fiction is not JUST fiction. We are shaped by stories and images as much as we are by propositional statements of belief. Of course, because it’s stories, images, sensory input – rather than propositional statements – art is open to various interpretations. I know that not everyone agrees with my harsh assessment of Twilight. It’s my reading, and I’m stickin’ to it. 🙂
      Have you ever watched this video?


  2. HP says:

    I don’t think your friend is in her right mind. 🙂

    The video is kinda clever.

    I’m still watching the fourth movie. lol.

    Most people don’t make the whole Mormon connection until they realize that the author is Mormon and/or read about the connection online. I didn’t catch it.

    I think you will have to read all of the books and watch the other 2 movies (the first one was done badly) and get back to me. 😉 The wolves are really hot. That doesn’t hurt.


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