Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Slumber of Christianity

A friend of mine attended a Christian conference some years ago where author Ted Dekker was scheduled for a presentation. However, when Dekker stood up to start his talk, he became
tongue tied and rambled on incoherently for a few minutes before he excused himself and quickly left the room. While I wasn't there, I kind of have the sense that there was something on his mind that he felt compelled to share with others, but he just couldn't find the words to harness his thoughts. The more he struggled, the more frustrated and confused he became. After reading his 2005 non-fiction book, The Slumber of Christianity, I think I found another example where something clearly impactful happened to Dekker that he felt moved to share, but he just couldn't find a way to effectively express himself. The result was a 200-page book of repeated thoughts that he kept circling over and over again as he tried to illustrate and explain something personal and profound, but he never really managed to get his point across.

A couple of statements from this book sum up his main idea:

i). The prevaling teaching of Christianity has been preoccupied with finding true pleasure and happiness and purpose on Earth rather than in the age to come.

ii). Without an inflamed hope for eternity, Christians slip into a terrible slumber.

Dekker treats these ideas like he is delivering an ephiphany that he feels compelled to share. Moreover, he tries to give examples based on his life about how to awaken from this slumber. The fact is that Dekker's ephiphany is a pretty well understood notion. Furthermore, what he presents as examples are laughably simplistic. This was one of those books that after the first couple of dozen pages, I found myself repeatedly tracking how many pages remained. I had to force myself to trudge through the rest of it. In this book he included extended passages from his books The Martyr's Song and Black to serve as illustrations. These passages revealed Dekker's talent for freely flowing and heart-felt prose. They stood in marked contrast to the rest of his stilted and dry approach.