On Marriage, Mating Manuals, and their Malodorous Miasma
Getting a few things off my chest:
We need exactly as many books on sex as Adam and Eve had. Period. Now shut up about it.
You may have a really great marriage. If so, congratulations. But until you’ve stood the test of time, I won’t be buying your (non-sex) marriage book. Take John Piper as your example:
I waited forty years to write this book. There have been so many stresses in our marriage that I felt unfit to write about marriage at ten, twenty, or thirty years into it. Now at forty years, I realize we will never have it all together, so it seemed a good time to speak.
—John Piper, This Momentary Marriage, (Crossway, 2009), 179.
When a very popular author writes a very bad book, I appreciate every well-written negative review, even though I know it provides publicity for said bad book. When Rob Bell’s Love Wins was the latest hot topic, I disagreed when Kenneth Stewart appeared on the Connected Kingdom podcast and said, to the approval of his hosts, and among some other really silly suggestions, that too much was being said. I agreed with Phil Johnson’s response to that bit of nonsense. Phil clearly did not think the response to Bell was too much. So I was surprised to see him lamenting the attention given to Mark Driscoll’s latest dirty book (even while giving it some very high-profile attention himself). Phil’s not-a-review of Driscoll’s book, and his entire post on Evangelical Exhibitionists, is exactly what is needed, and I’m glad he wrote it, even though it increases the exposure he is “sorry it has already received.”
One more thing on that subject: I’m not at all impressed with the several tweets I’ve been seeing snidely mocking the negative reviews of said erotic thriller. They drip with superiority and hypocrisy. It is as though the writers want to be the arbiters of who says what, when, and how.
Another thing that doesn’t impress me: the desultory compliments included in reviews of really bad books. Every review of Driscoll’s book has (I think) included some nod to its good content. Really, in an age when discernment is nearly extinct, that’s not necessary, nor is it profitable. Imagine this: My wife cooks up a really bad dish. It tastes bad, smells bad, and contains undercooked pork loaded with Trichinella spiralis. I’m not going to tell her how pleased I am with all the healthy vegetables she included, and I’m definitely not going to praise the good bits to my children, thereby tempting them to think they can get some good from it while avoiding the bad.
Of course, many readers will smell that dish and not notice the stench. It will pass over their tongues and taste just fine. If that is you, let me suggest that it might be because you are a smoker. What do I mean by that? Watch a smoker when he eats. He (probably) uses more salt and pepper than you. He seasons everything more heavily than the average non-smoker. This is because smoking has deadened his taste buds. If Driscoll’s pornea doesn’t taste and smell bad to you, it could be that you’ve been breathing his air so long that you can no longer discern the impurity that emanates from his mouth and pen (indicating, by the way, a dirty mind).