Back to The Future, The Supreme Court, and Rob Bell: A Tragic Comedy in Three Acts.
This is a story of passion, broken hearts, and misinformation. Act I: Doc! You got the date wrong!
You might have seen the pictures circulating on facebook that show last Wednesday, the 27th as being the destination date typed into Doc Brown's Delorean in the third installment of Back to the Future.
If I didn't have a narcissistic obsession with keeping links to my blog post at the top of my facebook page, I would have reposted it myself.
I'm glad I didn't.
The next day, after seeing the picture come up again, I became suspicious. So I googled it. Here's what I found.
Yet another facebook Hoax.
Of course the irony is that the central theme of back to the future is Marty Mcfly's struggle to think before leaping, a trait that nearly gets him killed in every movie, once by gunshot, once by car wreck, and once by an interruption of the space-time continuum.
Act II: True Bi-Partisan cooperation.
Unless you've been living in an Amish community in Sibera, you probably heard about the supreme court ruling regarding the healthcare bill.
More important to this post is how it was first reported. Apparently, trying to be the name attached to the news break, a Fox news correspondent skimmed through one of the first printed copies of the decision and misinterpreted the ruling. She reported to Fox that the court struck down the healthcare bill as unconstitutional. Fox started running the correspondent's report. CNN saw the Fox news headline and started running the headline themselves. The kicker is that President Obama was watching both CNN and Fox News; for thirty or so seconds, the President thought he was reading accurate information.
CNN later apologized for their mix up while Fox news claimed, "Fox news reported the facts as they came in."
ACT III: Well Rob, If You Don't Think Hell Exists, You Can Just Go There and See For Yourself!
When released, Rob Bell's book of the ironic title Love Wins, erupted in a firestorm of controversy. Rob Bell started trending on twitter. Christian celebrities jumped on the issue like Jessica Simpson on foreign policy. The highlight of course being Jon Piper's response (before he had read the book), "Farewell Rob Bell." Apparently Paul's letter to the Corinthians about discipline included a section on making sure to say goodbye to the erring brother in 140 words or less.
The Bible has a lot to say about spouting off.
I should know. God has been reminded me a lot lately.
Proverbs 17:28: "Even a fool is considered wise when he keeps his mouth shut." Proverbs 10:19: "When words are many, sin is not absent." Acts 17: The Bereans are commended for taking time to consider Paul's words and study the Old Testament before responding.
We live in a world of immediate news, five minute fads, and lightning fast communication. The temptation to be the first, the most relevant, in short to be the hipster (spiritual or otherwise) is severe, and more often than not, the popularity of being the first and loudest more often ends up being a liability rather than an asset. And I think it has unfortunate implications on how much trust people are willing to place in our words.
Just to end on some hope and inspiration I should probably talk about Francis Chan. In the milieu of dramatic hearsay, Francis, as far as I can tell, sat and thought, read Bell's book, then wrote an entire book, (with another person), before offering his response: Erasing Hell.
This isn't a commentary on Chan's theological conclusions, it's a commentary on his integrity preserving patience. When I watched Chan's book promo video, I was struck by his humility and thoughtfulness, which shouldn't be a surprise, he did after all spend a few months thinking it through before opening his mouth.