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Why the Snark

Oct 20 2016

About a year ago, I decided to act on an idea I'd had for a long time.  What if I compiled a collection of my blogs into a book to distribute at shows, local book stores, as well as on Amazon?  With the encouragement of my wife and a couple of friends, I began the process of self publishing "A Piece of Bosco" , and it came out last winter.  It's a 150ish page book that has sold over 60 copies!  Add that to the ones I've given away, and there's at least 80 in circulation.  Hardly the Hunger Games.

But there has been mixed feedback from those who have read it.  Initially, the Fellowship of Christian Magicians was going to help distribute it on their web site.  A couple days later, I recieved and rated curt e mail saying, as they read further into the book, it became too focused on church and social issues (alluding specifically to one comment I had made about the NRA) and they would not help to distribute it.  It is true that, not everything in "Bosco" relates directly to my ministry as a performer, but it seemed that the concern wasn't so much that I strayed off topic so much as where I strayed to. Others, including friends and strangers, have given me mixed feedback, but the negatives have always been centered on my criticisms of evangelical culture and politics.

i admit, some of these blogs are harsh; some of them overly sarcastic.  A few pick on sacred cows such as conservative news stations, the Christian music industry, and trendy eschatology.  I named names. Why did I go there?

I'm not really sure, I suppose, except I felt these were some of the best blogs I'd written up to this point.  On person told me the collection of blogs was very random, and he was right.  There was no particular theme that held the book together from start to finish.  I regret having no page numbers and not having proofread better.  But why the snark?  Especially toward the very church faith of which I am part.

i suppose part of it is just how I'm wired.  I've never liked accepting things blindly.  My initial conversion to Jesus came after years of exploring religion, and just as importantly, exploring myself.  Why would that part of my personality change?  And coming of age spiritually in the 1980s was a very interesting experience.  These were the days of Tammy Faye Bakker, Jimmy Swaggert and Mike Warneke.  In hindsight, I'm glad I didn't embrace evangelical pop culture unquestioningly. 

I remember my wife and I at a Mylon Lefevre  concert during this time.  After a really strong opening set of Gospel rock, he preached a 10 minute sermonette.  After he was done, he told the audience he wanted to tone things down musically and lead us in a time of worship.  Many in the audience booed him.  They wanted to hear the hits from Gospel radio more than they wanted to experience Christ through worship.  This was one of the first times I was realized that Christian pop culture could be very shallow indeed.

additionally, Steve Taylor, who brought a snarky sarcasm to Christian music, and Dave Wilkerson of "Cross and the Switchblade" fame were two of my earliest influences as my faith matured.  Neither is known for mincing words.  during the aforementioned televangelist scandals, Taylor wrote: 

" There was a time in Christiandom

the road to God was hard to tred

'til charletains in leisure suits

saw dollars dancing in their heads"

Makes most of my blogs seem pretty tame, I suppose.  

I must confess, too, there's a part of me deep inside, or at least one I try to hide deep down, that likes to think I'm right.  Unattractive quality, I know.  When I'm not in denial, I do try to let the Holy Spirit work on this, but yeah, I'm usually in denial.

but in the end, there's one other reason I can come across as critical of the church at large.  I love the church.  We are the body of Christ here on earth.  We are His bride, the salt of the earth and the light of the world.  And it disappoints me when we act as something less than these things.  It scares me when the next generation sees Christ's bride not seeking to please her Groom, but to indulge herself; when they see the body of Christ choosing to admire themselves in the mirror instead of being Christ's hands and feet to a broken humanity; when they see the salt lose its flavor and the light under a bushel.

So forgive me if my criticism of American Christianity offends you, but I honestly don't see it changing any time soon.

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The presentation was fun and encouraging... The gospel message was clear and encouraging. I purchased your book and just finished it. Your scope is broad and again encouraging. May God continue to bless your ministry. I will encourage others to read your book. -Parishioner of a local church

"Hey, I just wanted to say that was a great message in chapel today! It touched something:) thanks for doing it!" -High School Student  

"We are so grateful that you brought your amazing ministry back to our church this year... The Gospel message you bring applies to all!  It is such a positive, valuable work that you do."  -Coordinator of Christian Ed. UCC Church

"There's no questioning it. This is powerful stuff. It's extremely touching at times, never less than entertaining, and I see a lot of sincere love for Jesus in you guys."  -Dwight Lilies, song writer

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