Just Say No — My 2022 Resolution
The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails — given by one shepherd. Be warned, my son, of anything in addition to them. Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body. — Eccl. 12:11–12
I’m not big into making New Year’s Eve resolutions, especially when I’m sitting literally on the cusp of a new year. To me, people should either make their resolutions and go about their business doing it, or they should think carefully and realize that maybe the resolution isn’t going to stick and then not make it. It doesn’t make a difference to me, and generally I don’t make them because my own attempts usually peter out some time around January 28th or so.
This year, however, I am making one resolution that’s tied into the theme of a lot of my cogitations in 2021 and probably going back even further — my resolution is to begin weaning myself off of the Evangelical Industrial complex. I’m a simple guy and prefer simple things. I have a Twitter account that I use for theological stuff, I have a Facebook account that I use for personal stuff (with a little bit of bleedover between ‘real’ relationships and ‘twitter’ relationships), and my hands full with work and life stuff.
What I no longer have time for is the unending stream of Christian living advice (legalism?) from the Evangelical industry. I really don’t need to know all the latest Bible study hacks from Desiring God, nor do I need the Gospel Coalition to encourage me to understand the glories of yet another Bible reading plan. I’m tired of the constant calls to ‘fight’ the feminists or the woke or the _________________ from places like the Conservative Baptist Network, or the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. There is only so much bandwidth that I can possibly have, and the tendency is to try and consume it it all. It’s…exhausting. If I had the money to travel to all the conferences (G3, T4G 2022, Shepherds’ Conference, Restore Conference, etc, etc), I would definitely have a much nicer house than the one I’m currently living in. I’m intentionally mixing in the names of organizations I disagree with organizations I support because I want you to see the scope of the problem.
You see, the evangelical machine never stops. It never ceases producing. It needs clicks to make money, and to get clicks, it needs eyeballs. Your eyeballs. So my resolution is to stop feeding the beast. Stop signing up for the newsletters, stop signing up for the new apps, stop following all the good (?) advice by people who have never known you, who have no real impact on your life, and who would not care if you lost your job or when the car breaks down or when your child breaks their wrist. Funnel all that time and energy into the spheres where you are surrounded by real people that really care about you and that you care about and can edify or shape. It doesn’t mean that I’m giving up on Twitter, but it means that I’m taking some of my life back from people that should have never had a part in it to begin with by dumping a bunch of things that are simply barnacles on my life.
I have to credit Dan Philips of PyroManiacs who wrote about this many years ago, long before I ever saw it. I’ll close by citing his prescient essay:
Brother, sister: John Piper isn’t your pastor. John MacArthur knows nothing about you. Dave Hunt never got on his knees and prayed for you. Lloyd-Jones won’t come to your house when you’re recovering from surgery, or one of your children shatters your heart, or your marriage is shaking and rocking and barely hanging on. Charles Spurgeon won’t weep with you as you weep.
You could buy or not buy _____’s next book, and he’d never know it. But if you’re in a manageable-size church with a caring pastor and you’re suddenly gone next Sunday, he’ll be concerned. He may call. He may ask if everything’s okay.
God gave you the pastor He gave you….Your flesh-and-blood pastor can’t compete with these paper pastors for the same reason you can’t compete with paper women and paper men.
So stop feeding the industry. Unsubscribe, Block, Mute, whatever. Unhook yourself from the unending sound and fury, and go spend your time with real people who really care. Unsubscribe from me if you must…I won’t take it personally. You’ll probably have a better 2022 if you do.
Happy New Year!