Christian Writers Trained To Write (for the left)
Christian writers trained to write for the left
Exclusive: Jim Fletcher warns about worldview behind popular conferences
Author: Jim Fletcher
Writers’ conferences are usually a mixed bag. It’s good to sharpen skills, and the opportunity to interact with others in the business – writers, editors, publishers, etc. – is refreshing and often invaluable. I’ve attended both secular and Christian conferences and have always come away with interesting new information.
I never know what to expect.
The best writing conferences help teach writers to be better. It’s as simple as that. Now, however, because the culture is so polarized, including within the Christian community, I fear some of these conferences are creating “monsters.” Advocacy writing is blurring the lines, what with blogging and other platforms distorting for readers what is fact and what is fiction.
Those organizing these kinds of conferences are in fact taking the hands of a radical environmentalist, the legs of a leftist ideologue, the heart of a political pacifist and the brain of a freedom-hater – all to produce a creature that eschews traditional American values.
What am I driving at here?
Well, let’s look at two upcoming writer’s conferences, in order to learn about the worldviews being promoted.
Donald Miller, popular author (“Blue Like Jazz”) is founder of Storyline, a community of writers and, in my view, change agents. They specifically want to reach Millennials.
At some point in the past (we can’t know the details, because as I know from personal experience, he won’t talk), Miller decided to embrace and help disseminate the Palestinian narrative, as it regards Israel. In other words, as evidenced by his Nov. 19, 2012 hit piece (“The Painful Truth About the Situation in Israel”), Miller advances the PLO line.
One wonders if he is on the Hamas payroll, as a writer of press releases.
So it is troubling that Miller’s Storyline group holds conferences, which undoubtedly influence the next generation of writers and influencers. The next Storyline event will be at Willow Creek Community Church, near Chicago, in October.
Israel, of course, isn’t the agenda, but when that embattled nation is brought up in polite conversation, no doubt many impolite things will be said. For example, besides Miller, the daughter of Bill and Lynne Hybels, Shauna Niequist, will be featured. Her parents are pro-Palestinian advocates and arguably the top power couple within American Evangelicalism.
Another contributor to Storyline (though not listed on the itinerary for Chicago) is Gary Haugen, founder and president of International Justice Mission. IJM, endorsed by such evangelical luminaries as Andy Stanley, has a somewhat quiet relationship with Palestinian advocates.
– Delusion At the Checkpoint
The Palestine Freedom Project is friendly with IJM, as is Students for Justice in Palestine.
The latter had a blurb on its website that demonstrates this:
“Light a Candle for Peace – Candlelight Vigil was the group’s very first event, co-hosted by the Hillel Jewish Student Organization. We came together during Operation Pillar of Cloud in Gaza in the late fall of 2012 to remember the numerous Palestinian and Israeli lives lost in the conflict. This event was co-sponsored by Amnesty International at UTK, the Middle Eastern Student Association, the Muslim Student Association, UTK Tyson House, UTK Baptist Campus Ministry, Roosevelt Institute Campus Network – UTK Chapter, International Justice Mission, UTK Presbyterian Student Center, the Progressive Student Alliance, and UTK’s Central Program Council.”
When students are for justice in “Palestine,” that’s the tip-off that they are political ideologues who will inevitably blame the Arab-Israeli conflict on Israel’s “occupation” of the Palestinians.
Except they are no longer occupying anyone and in fact since 1981 have returned a staggering 91 percent of the territory seized in the Six-Day War.
But I digress.
Folks like Miller, if they are even aware of these basic historical facts, continue to advocate for a maximalist Palestinian position. There are plenty of others like him within evangelical leadership circles.
A second writer’s conference, hosted by Margaret Feinberg and Jonathan Merritt, will take place in Colorado, also in October.
“Writers Boot Camp” features self-described “seasoned generals” who in truth are engaged in a culture war, even as they would eschew such language.
Merritt, as many readers know, comes from a rich Southern Baptist heritage, as the son of former SBC President Dr. James Merritt. Merritt the younger is now based in New York City, and his Religion News Service platform gives him wide opportunity to overtly and covertly chip away at conservative biblical traditions.
It’s what he does.
For her part, Feinberg is also cheerily positioned on the other side of the fence from the Christian “fundies” who make religion such a big, old, mean religion.
As an example of how Feinberg has figured out how to manipulate language when talking to Millennials, check out her piece in “Charisma” – Charisma! – where she cleverly distorted a young man’s question about Bible prophecy. Astonishingly, Feinberg was able to manipulate a straightforward question and thus turn it around to her own view that we shouldn’t really concern ourselves with that scary stuff about the “end times.”
Point being, these center-left influencers, who present themselves as whimsical truth seekers, are simply another example of garden-variety ideologues spooning up a worldview that is, in my view, anti-biblical.
The truth is, a rapid transformation is taking place in the American Christian community. Out with the old, in with the new. The church needs new PR and all that.
The new breed of writer’s conference is giving birth to the ideological monster that will become the face of American Christianity. As these budding leaders close the case on the Royal typewriter of conservative Christianity, they are booting up a religious and political incarnation that will bear no resemblance to the faith once delivered to the saints.
That’s the storyline.