Yesterday I talked about Christian mansplainers who operate according to 18th century principles of epistemology. You might call them “objective” Christian mansplainers. But there’s a different category of Christian mansplainers that are actually more exasperating than the first kind. They prefer late 20th century French philosophers to 18th century field preachers. They are superior to you because they’re better at irony. This species is called mansplainer emergenticus. I am an expert in their nature because I live with one; I see him every morning in the mirror. So here are the five D’s of emergent Christian mansplainmanship: dialogue, deconstruction, disingenuous use of the word “we,” difficulty with labels, and dialectic.
Emergent Christian mansplainers don’t have debates; we do dialogue instead. We are very ideologically committed to the concept that everyone we talk to has something valid to say, except for people who are so focused on ideology that they ignore praxis and who aren’t open-minded enough not to disagree with us. It’s okay if you agree with something different; just don’t disagree with me. That’s why dialogue is so much richer than debate.
We deconstruct everything, because everyone has an agenda. I’ve got an agenda too, and because I recognize it and can write essays about all the psychoanalytical repercussions of my socialization as a straight white bourgeois male, it gives me the right to deconstruct you too. Sufficiently deconstructing yourself is kind of like receiving a vaccine against other peoples’ irony. It’s like playing laser tag where everyone else’s gun is jammed.
III. Disingenuous Use of the Word “We”
This is kind of like the pick and roll of the emergent Christian mansplainer playbook. Basically, we use the word “we” to as a label for people we’re bashing, which is most commonly the evangelical church that we’ve spent hundreds of blog posts trying to decide whether or not we’re still a part of. It’s really a “they” but technically I can use the word “we” because the “they” we’re talking about are usually straight white bourgeois males no different than I am who just haven’t yet learned how to deconstruct themselves and live ironically. (I’m disingenuously using the word “we” right now because I’m really not down with the whole emergent program whatever it is, but I didn’t want to write another blog post in which I’m dissing a group of people who I call “they” so I figured I would pretend to be emergent at least for the purposes of this post.)
IV. Difficulty with Labels
Emergent Christian mansplainers really don’t like to be labeled. It’s kind of like the way you know you’re a hipster if (other) hipsters completely disgust you with their embarrassing predictability. We hate the word emergent almost as much as we hate the word postmodern. We haven’t decided whether we’re post-evangelical, anti-evangelical, devangelical, or maybe some version of the word in Greek like euangelicos. I was wondering if the term “gospeler” would catch on as an alternative to “evangelical” after Scot McKnight’s latest book, but there’s something about the baggage of the evangelical label that is such an attractive thing to be completely obsessed over.
To be honest, I don’t really understand what dialectic means, but Zizek talks about it a lot so I figured it should make the five D’s since you cannot be an emergent Christian mansplainer if you haven’t read Zizek. I used to think dialectic had something to do with a thesis and antithesis coming together in a synthesis, but apparently everyone has always misunderstood Hegel and we have to read Hegel through Lacan in order to get him right which is critically important to being able to “move forward.” I don’t really understand Lacan but he says something like jouissance is the goal of human existence and that’s the French word for joy (right?), but you have to say it in French for it to have the right meaning. I wonder if Lacan would be down with John Piper’s Christian hedonism. Maybe jouissance and Christian hedonism form two corners of the emergent Christian dialectic, but dialectics need to be triads (right?) so we need a third word to complete it, preferably in German. All I know is whatever it is, it’d better involve a thick cigar and an inappropriately crass form of hard liquor or it won’t cut it for an emergent Christian mansplainer.