Unsettled Christianity

Gloria Dei homo vivens – St Irenaeus
October 1st, 2014 by Joel Watts

Be Careful about the Company you keep, the idols you worship – Tony Jones

IMG_3015.PNGI don’t care much about getting into the details of this, but for sometime now the one and only Tony Jones has been held up as someone important in progressive/emergent circles, so much so that you’ll see him on various UMC blogs  (this, I guess, counters the use of Mark Driscoll by UMC pastors). In fact, the emergents are usually idolized as the ideal “Christian.”

The problem is that Tony Jones is an abusive person. Rodney has covered his appropriation (something more common in progressive circles than you’d imagine) before. However, something else that is little known is his previous (and real) marriage to Julie McMahon. He is currently involved in another “marriage,” one that gives him “street cred,” no doubt. Anyway, she is currently very open about how Tony uses religion, his religion (sans orthodoxy, by the way) to control, abuse, and harm others. She is also accusing other well-known emergents of supporting Tony, and by supporting Tony, I mean enabling him to continue his abuse.

This is not uncommon, actually. This is how cults are formed. When one person leaves the fold to follow his/her/hen own “heart” they have declared themselves correct and unchallengeable. We can call this fundamentalism, although it is pathological (as David Howard identifies). It allows the person to do what they will, regardless of question, because that person is right. That person is God’s mouthpiece. That person is god.

Be careful. Tony and Mark Driscoll aren’t that far apart in theological practice. When you admire them, without hesitation, then it may be that you have a certain pathological issue within yourself.

I find it odd that Google/Wikipedia lists Tony Jones as an American Dudebro. “Dudebro/Dude Bro” is a slang term, and not one of endearment

Joel Watts
Watts holds a MA in Theological Studies from United Theological Seminary. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians, as well as seeking an MA in Clinical Mental Health at Adams State University. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

Comments

One Response to “Be Careful about the Company you keep, the idols you worship – Tony Jones”
  1. Know More Than I Should says

    François Rabelais famously observed: “Nature abhors a vacuum.” A wag might add, so do politics and philosophy.

    With the foregoing concepts in mind, it might be worth pointing out that Tony Jones is filling a vacuum created when more traditional religion(s) in American life abdicated their position in favor of wealth and power. In this regard, one might reasonably say that Tony Jones is to religion what the Tea Party is to politics.

    In other words, Tony Jones is meeting a need that is not otherwise being met. Once that need is met by a more substantial entity, perhaps even purloining some of his more salient offerings, Tony Jones was fade into obscurity.

    Phrased still differently: Tony Jones is more symptom than disease.

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