Forget "Yes" Men, We Need Some "No" Men

(…or, you know, “no” women.)

Many times in the past I was under the impression that the evangelical Christian subculture had reached its nadir. And yet, just when I think it’s as bad as it gets, along comes something like white guys rapping about how you should only hug from the side:

Now I have heard Christians favour the side hug so that crotches don’t touch or whatever. How these people stand riding the subway at rush hour is beyond me, but anyway, it’s not the sort of thing that you’d rap about. But these guys did anyway.

Why is it so hard for people in Christian culture to say “no” to anything other Christians claim to be doing in the name of Jesus? If you question why another Christian is doing something that you think is dubious the answer is “Why are you criticizing what God is blessing?” This is of course a code for “Why are you criticizing something that I personally like or that my friends are working on?”

Bullshit.

If something is looks like a bad idea, then it should not be above criticism. This seems obvious enough yet Christians (particularly evangelicals) circle the wagons when someone says something negative about anything in Christianity that they like. People in far too many churches irrationally defend the most wicked (Benny Hinn), the most banal (Joel Osteen), the most kitschy (those guys above), or the most crude (Mark Driscoll) from any criticism whatsoever because they believe that “God is blessing what they are doing.” Whether or not that’s true in every case, it still doesn’t preclude criticism.

Actually that argument doesn’t even make sense. If I was doing something that God was blessing then that’s all the more reason that I’d want to be doing it with excellence. If you ever think that God is actually blessing something I’m doing, please, please, please tell me if I’m screwing it up. Paul even had to go rebuke Peter, was God not blessing what Peter was doing in the early years of the church?

Churches need more people to say “no” to things that are stupid. We should not conclude that because some new thing (or some old thing) a church is doing is mildly popular at the moment that therefore God is blessing it. If popularity is a sign that God has blessed something is anything more blessed these days than insipid teenie-bopper vampire flicks? By guarding against stupid ideas in ministry, we are not “criticizing what God is blessing” but actually guarding the ministry’s integrity. Continuing to do something stupid usually catches up with you and wrecks the program or church or ministry that you were babying from criticism in the first place.