The Internet is the modern Gutenberg press. Bloggers are the modern press. Powerful information is being spread quickly, seamlessly, and effectively. Religious leaders are being caught in their lies. Sexual predators are being caught in their crimes. False teachers are being exposed for their greed. Powerful religious leaders are being challenged about their desire to control. Religious denominations are being confronted with their hypocrisy. Information is power, and the power has shifted from leaders who control the flow of what they want the people to know, to the people who are capable of bringing down leaders. Christian leaders are trying to adapt, but many are caught off guard by the public criticisms. For men who have cacooned themselves in a protective environment, surrounded by sycophants who fawn over their leaders, the only way to handle criticism is to denounce those who deliver it. Matt Chandler has said bloggers should be dismissed as legitimate critics because "they live with their moms," a surprisingly short-sighted slam by a pastor who should know better. Perry Noble, Mark Driscoll, Stephen Furtick and a host of modern mega-star preachers have said similar things about bloggers. Interestingly, these men and a handful of other Christian leaders are getting together to discuss the modern church in meetings they have come to call The Elephant Room. These meetings are designed for "Any pastor or student or motivated disciple who is serious about theological ideas and how they shape methodology. Not purely pragmatic or theoretical, the conversations hope to stir changes of mind and retrench long held beliefs. A great event for teams and groups, the conversations are a starting point for important conversations." Elephant Room II is being held January 25, 2012 and will be able to viewed in locations all across the United States. What I find interesting is that most of those who are either participating in hosting or leading the Elephant Room discussions have been critical of the modern-day Guttenberg press--blogs. So, with just six weeks left until Elephant Room II, and in the spirit of the Elephant Room's purpose statement, the following questions are designed to point out the Elephants in the Elephant Room.------------------------------
(1). Why are you charging $99 for those who view this session?
(2). If 10,000 people from across the United States view Elephant Room II, where does the one million dollars collected go?
(3). How much money do the leaders and speakers of the Elephant Room make for doing the program?
(4). If your purpose is "to stir changes of mind and retrench long held beliefs," why is it that you criticize those who seek to "stir changes of mind and retrench long held beliefs" of your own ministries?
(5). Have you ever considered the fact that your charges against "the establishment" in Christianity are now ringing hollow because you have become the establishment in the minds and hearts of a younger generation, and you have taken up the same practices of former establishments by denigrating your critics?
(6). Would each of you disclose how much salary and benefits you take in from your church and how much money you make in the sale of your books, tied to the messages that you preach at your church?
(7). Do you double-dip your salaries by earning a income from contributions of church members and then keep the royalties of your books that you sale, books that are products of the hours you work for your church?
(8). Why do you consider it God-honoring and biblical when you curse from the pulpit or use sexually vulgar or crass idioms to get a point across?
(9). Does your congregation grow in size because people feel they have been entertained when they leave your church, or are people truly growing in their understanding of the truth of God's Word through your teaching?
(10). Why do the speakers in your Elephant Room all look the same, dress the same, talk the same, and view Christian ministry the same as if there is only one correct way to do Christian ministry in our culture?
(11). Where are the women in the Elephant Room?
(12). Do you consider the message of God's grace through Jesus Christ and His blood redemption of sinners at Calvary an optional message on Sundays?
(13). If you have 30,000 people who come to an Easter egg hunt on Easter Sunday morning, what difference does that egg hunt make in the lives of those 30,000 on Monday morning?
(14). Why do the men in the Elephant Room seem so thin-skinned when it comes to people who question them?
(15). Is it possible that the questions being asked in the Elephant Room are softball questions designed by the people who have created the Elephant Room, and that the actual questions that need to be asked are those designed to reveal the elephants in the Elephant Room?
(Update: Luke McDonald has answered each of my fifteen questions in the comment section. I wish to express my appreciation for his responses and encourage everyone to read what he has to say and note the tone and manner in which he has responded. All of us, including other participants in the Elephant Room, could learn from his example.)
I can guarantee that the attention of more than a few bloggers are now on Elephant Room II.