19: Dialog Fail | Chap 7 of Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman

This short episode examines Chapter Seven of Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman. Our discussion focuses on the author’s story about himself at the end of the chapter.

Unlike every other chapter, which ends with someone else’s story, this chapter ends with a story of Idleman’s own. He met with the mother of one of his parishioners who, rather than being content that her son “fell in love with Jesus,” was troubled by his excessive commitment.

Gregg is shocked by how indignant and reproachful Idleman is toward her: Idelman becomes angry and writes “I did what I what I always do when I get angry; I quoted Scripture from Revelation.” Gregg argues that Idleman both butchers Rev 3:16 (which is not about being radical for Jesus but about being in right relationship with him) and that he takes what could be an perfect moment for a dialogue and instead uses it as a platform to punish and alienate someone who understands things differently.

Gregg sees this as a classic case of failing to love your neighbor and John points out that this seems consistent with Not a Fan chapter four where it suggests we love Jesus so much “that by comparison you hate everyone else.”  And so “doing God’s work” is given more value than “loving your neighbor” which we see as equally important.

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