Saturday, September 22, 2007

Well...I guess that's it...

July 4, 1776: The U.S. adopts the Declaration of Independence, declaring their independence from Great Britain

May 8, 1945: "Victory Day" for the Western Allies, effectively ending World War II

November 9, 1989:  The fall of the Berlin Wall

September 22, 2007: the Don rides into the sunset

That's right, folks.  I've really enjoyed this whole blogging thing, and I must say that I've even been more impressed with the internets than I would have originally estimated (that's not to say I was wrong about anything; I repeat: I was not wrong about anything).  However, all good things must come to an end.  And, to be honest with you, I really need to free up a little more time to work on my badminton game.

As a way of saying goodbye, I'd like to salute the fine people who made this blog possible.  So...

...here's to Fred Phelps, whose demonization of, well, everyone, never ceases to both amaze and confound simultaneously.

...here's to John Piper, whose love of Jonathan Edwards is only eclipsed (slightly) by his love for God.

...here's to Paige Patterson, who never fails to look ridiculous, even when confronted with the greatest opportunities to look credible.

...here's to me.  Face it, this blog just wouldn't have been the same if I hadn't written it.

And finally... 

...here's to the administration at TEDS.  Hey, admin people, you know how at the end of every Friday the 13th movie they always think they've killed Jason off for the last time?  Just checking...

Keep learning, keep loving, and keep laughing.

Most Humbly Yours,
Donald Awesome "the Dragon" Carson

6 Things We Learned By Doing This Blog

Hello, all.  As previously stated, this is our last day here at The Secret Diary of D. A. Carson, and though we're sad to bid you fine folks goodbye, we've also taken a lot away from the experience.  In our parting entry (the Don will have one more after this), we'd like to share with you some of the things we've learned and observed.

1.  The internet is one fast moving machine.
All four of us are somewhat tech savvy, and three of us have had our own blogs for several years.  What took us by surprise with the Secret Diary is how quickly it caught on and how quickly word of mouth spread through your blogs, your emails, and your discussions.  We never dreamed we'd have over 600 people visiting us each day, but that's exactly what has happened over these last couple of weeks.  For those of you who helped spread the word and kept coming back: thanks.  It's been a lot of work to keep this up as long as we have, but you're the reason we kept at it.

2.  TEDS administration overstepped their bounds.
Some of you will disagree with us on this, but we're going to have to just be really frank and direct here: the administration of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School went outside of their bounds to get us to shut down.  Having no idea whether they were dealing with a TEDS student or not, they worked hard to get us off the web.

Sorry, guys, but in the age of the internet and tons of personal blogs, you're just going to have to let some things go.  Why TEDS would ever concern themselves with something as silly as our little blog is beyond us: it's a waste of their time and the resources of Trinity and, frankly, it's beneath them.  Which leads us to our third point...

3.  If TEDS had let it go, we wouldn't have been nearly as popular.
That's right, we'll admit it: the controversy got people blogging and sent us WAY more traffic than we would have had under normal circumstances.  Poor judgement and incorrect assumptions turned an annoying nat into a beast.  In the future if you face a similar situation, you may not be dealing with webmasters that are as sensitive to controversy as we have been, so more care really should be taken.  We're honestly saying this for your own good.

4.  For whatever reason, age and amount of education were polarizing factors in opinions of our website.
We have, to date, received almost 300 correspondences over email and our comment system.  Over 80% (about 240) of those have been extremely positive, and only about 10% (about 30) have been from people who were seriously attempting to dissuade us from continuing with the site.  Of those 30 correspondences, most of which were sent over email, 27 were either Ph. D. students, seminary professors, or people over the age of 50.

It's difficult to determine exactly what this data means.  Without pretending to know much about this area, we'd like to put forth a few beliefs about the data.

First off, we don't believe our humor is for everyone.  Some people think The Office, The Simpsons, and The Colbert Report are hilarious.  Some people just think those shows are stupid.

Our site is no different (except for the fact that it's not as good).  We have written things that have amused us and things that we've learned over the course of seminary, pastoring, marriage and life.  We're pleased that a great many of you were also amused and even edified by some of it.  

But some of you weren't.  And that's okay.  It seems that the more degrees you hold, the more offended you were when we poked a little fun at someone with a degree.  The older you were, the less likely you were to share our sense of humor.  There seems to be a generational and education disconnect happening that we really can't fully explain.

5.  We take ourselves too seriously.
Please don't misunderstand: we're not saying that everyone who didn't like our site takes themselves too seriously.  But a lot of us do.  Not only that, but we have, in many cases, elevated men (Piper, Carson, Wright, Rob Bell, Driscoll, Ed Young, etc.) to a dangerously prominent position in our hearts and minds.

We got one email from a professed atheist who couldn't believe that anyone was making such a big deal about what he called "a harmless, tame blog."  He told us that one of the reasons he stayed away from church and Christians was because they couldn't laugh at themselves.

Folks, if anyone should be able to laugh at themselves, it should be us.  Through the word of God, we know better than anyone what huge messes we are without His guidance and empowerment.  We would do well to remember that, regardless of how old we get or how many educational degrees we obtain.

6.  We were encouraged by this little experiment.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for all of your kind emails, your discussions, and your pleas to keep the site going.  Even though we ultimately felt that it needed to end, we were so greatly encouraged by the positive comments and emails you sent us from all over the world.  It's humbling to realize just how many of you cared about us keeping it up and how many of you checked in with us on a regular basis.

So where do we go from here?  Well, we're taking a break.  Maybe in a few months we'll revisit the idea of trying to find a great way to gather Christian community around the concepts of humility and laughter.  We'll be keeping this site up for a few more weeks and haven't decided yet how long to keep it archived; as traffic declines due to a lack of new content we'll take it down.

Thanks again to the "regulars."  You will be missed.

Sincerely,
The Secret Diary Team

The T Shirt

Thanks to reader "Maverick" for sending in the above photo.

So, you say you want to help Dear Old Don by messing with TEDS administration, having them chase rabbits and bump into dead ends?  And you want to do all of that while looking ultra stylish and bettering your chances with the theologian lovin' ladies?  Pick up your "I'm Not Fake Carson" T-Shirt today!

The first 25 people to stop by the "White Horse Inn" at TEDS between 11-12 on Monday morning will get their free shirt.*

*Offer not valid in Illinois, Vermont, Michigan, or the United States of America or any other nation in the world.

Why Can't We Be Friends?

So a reader of The Secret Diary of D.A. Carson tipped the Don off the other day about a little tiff that's been happening between John Piper and Roger Olson.  A lot could be said about this, but basically it boils down to a Calvinist and an Arminianist arguing over why the bridge in Minnesota collapsed a little while ago.

The Don is a lover, not a fighter, so I hate to see people at odds with one another (you know, unless someone disagrees with me).  So I called up those two crazy cats and convinced them to head towards the Chicago area so that we could work things out.  I had TEDS fly them into town first class (you wouldn't believe how much money we have laying around from the outrageous tuition we charge) and then I picked them up from the airport in the Dragon Wagon.

Now Piper and I go way back, but I've only met Olson a handful of times.  I'm pretty sure that made John a little overly confident because he seemed to assume that the two of us were going to work together to bring Roger down.

We met in a neutral territory: Bennigan's.  After ordering three Monte Cristo sandwiches, the conversation went something like this:

D.A.:  Gentlemen, I'm glad you agreed to meet.  I really think it'd be best if you two could work out your differences and continue doing the work of the ministry as allies in the faith.

Pipes:  I couldn't agree more.  

Olson:  I think we're all on the same page, then.

D.A.:  Great!  John, what would you like to say to Roger?

Pipes:  Well, Roger, I respect you a great deal and I want things to be right between us.  I want us to be able to work together to further the kingdom and to bring glory to God.  So just admit that my model of God's sovereignty is the correct one and we can put all of this behind us.

Olson:  What!?  I can't believe that you-

D.A.:  John, come on...be nice.

Olson:  Oh, don't worry about me, Don, I can handle myself just fine.  You know, John, maybe I could agree with your model if God had ordained me to understand Him in the way that you do, but since it appears that He didn't, I don't know how you can possibly blame ME for what you can only believe to be GOD'S sovereign decision!!!

Pipes:  Roger, it's called COMPATIBILISM, and you should look it up some time when you're not claiming that you're OPEN to OPEN THEISM!!!

They went on like this for a while, so I pulled out some clubs and began juggling.  The room went dead silent and everyone stared at me.

Pipes:  Um...Don?  What are you going?

D.A.: I'm juggling.

Olson:  Uh...yeah, we see that...why?

D.A.:  Well, you two were just getting so upset with each other over your minor differences.  I thought maybe I could take your minds off of it and we could all have a good time.  I mean, as Christ followers you guys have way more that you agree on than that you don't.  Isn't it just good to gather around a juggler once in a while and laugh together?

Olson:  Don...you've lost it.

Pipes:  Well, I agree with you on that one, Roger...even if you are a borderline heretic.

Olson:  Yeah, Pipes, well your mom's a heretic!

D.A.:  -sigh-

D Day

Hey, guys!  Steph here, filling you in on the plan for the day.

As most of you know, this is the final day that Dr. Carson will be posting to The Secret Diary of D.A. Carson, and I wanted to give you a low-down of the Don's schedule.

It's a busy day for the Don, but before all is said and done he has three new articles for you, plus there is a fourth bonus article that will be posted at the end of the day.

Because of the work load and his very busy schedule, it will probably be later this evening before it all gets finished and posted, so be patient and check back tonight.  If you're planning on going to bed super early, you might even need to check back tomorrow morning.

Have a great day!

Much Love,
Steph

Friday, September 21, 2007

Inferiority Complex

"Oh Great Dragon- I'm a seminary student studying to be a pastor, and I always feel constant pressure to do as well or better than my classmates.  I study and read for an average of probably 10 hours a day, but no matter how well I do, I never feel like it's good enough.  How can I improve?" -Tormented at Trinity

Dear "Tormented," 

I get this question on a pretty regular basis.  It makes sense that I would; when someone wants to improve academically, it's completely logical that they would seek out the most brilliant mind of our generation.  So, in other words, you've come to the right place.

Here's your problem, though: you're not seeing the full picture.  Your mind has been completely trapped and boxed in by your small seminary world, and now all you can focus on is how you're doing in relation to other people you're in school with.

You know that guy in your classes who always knows the answers to the professor's questions?  He always asks what seem to be deep questions and he always just wants to know what the professor's "take" is on a number of issues he's been reading about that exclude participation from the rest of the class?  The one who always tries to talk to the professor for 20 minutes after class ends in hopes that the prof will recognize his immense genius?

Yeah, that guy very often (not always) has extremely low self esteem.  He feels loved when people think that he's smart, and it's difficult for him to even relate to many of his classmates.  He studies all the time and his crowning achievements are academic, not relational.

"Tormented," you said you're studying to be a pastor?  Great!  God knows we need more of you folks to love on this world.  And it's certainly important that you study hard, but for what purpose?

Don't forget this, because it's important: for the purpose of deepening your knowledge of God and your relationship with God in order that you may more effectively make him known and care for your fellow Christians.

That's it.  That's the reason you're in seminary.  To stress out about every little paper, quiz, test, and in-class discussion won't do anything but make you miserable.

And, "Tormented," you said you're studying 10 hours a day?  Stop that!  How do you expect to go from absolutely zero interaction with people over a four year period into a pastorate where most of your time will be dedicated to building relationships inside and outside of the church?  I'm not saying don't study; please don't misunderstand me.  I'm saying to study a healthy amount.  I promise you this: God will not define your success in His ministry by the GPA you receive in your M. Div. program.

You shouldn't define yourself by it, either.

Most Sincerely Yours,
The Don

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

McKnight Rider

So the word on the internets is that Scot McKnight was riding me pretty hard in a post he wrote yesterday on his website.  

(I'd link to it, but McKnight felt that it was beneath him to link to my site, so I don't think I will.  In the future, Scot, here's the rule: the Don scratches your back if you scratch his.  Okay?  I know you're hurting pretty bad for web traffic these days, so I hate that I can't give you a boost, but you've really given me no choice.)

Apparently Scot is upset that I've occasionally used satire.  Which would be fine if I were Mark Twain, but unfortunately Twain cowers in the greatness of the Don's shadow.  So McKnight feels that my blog is bad because "satire is soul-destroying."

Translation?  Read The Secret Diary of D.A. Carson and your soul will be destroyed.

For the few of you still reading this, there are at least two reasons that you shouldn't worry about what McKnight writes:
  1. He's not just an Emerjerk, but a leader of the Emerjerks.  A Lemerjerk, if you will.
  2. I've sold way more books than him.
But you know what the sad thing is?  Stephanie tells me she spotted at least one blogger thatloved my Secret Diary last week and even posted about it to his personal site.  However, after reading Scot's article, he felt bad about it and decided he didn't like it anymore.

I don't know how else to say this, folks, but here's a lesson: think for yourselves.  Don't be lemmings.

In conclusion, ladies and gentlemen, I agree that "feasting on satire" is a bad way to spend your life and that it can have devastating consequences.  My advice?  Don't FEAST!  

But feel free to have a few nibbles at the table of the Don.  

Scot, I await your apology.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

That's Our Final Answer: The Week of Farewell

Remember back when Who Wants to Be a Millionaire was still popular?  Regis Philbin was at the height of his popularity, no one could believe that a gameshow was giving away that much money, and some jerk IRS employee won the first million dollar give away.

Yeah, that annoyed us, too.

But what annoyed us even more was Regis asking each contestant the same question over and over after they would respond a question: "Is that your final answer?"

Well, just so that there's no doubt, we have a final answer for you today regarding the future of The Secret Diary of D.A. Carson.  

Before we get to that, though, we want to thank all of you for your time and your thoughts, whether you're a fan of the blog or you think we're totally in the wrong.  Thanks to your blogging and your word of mouth we had over 1,500 visitors over the weekend and we received over 80 comments and emails letting us know how you guys felt about our little site and what you thought we should do.  Over 80% of the comments and emails we received urged us to keep up the blog and let us know how much it is being enjoyed.  We received emails and comments from seminary professors, seminary students, pastors (some of whom you would know), several stay at home moms that thanked us for making them laugh, and many others.  Some of you even let us know that you were praying for us as we struggled with this decision and sought the Lord in this situation.  We were literally blown away.

Though we weren't able to respond to all of you, we're very thankful that you found the time and we're humbled that our little project garnered so much attention in only a few short weeks.

Despite all of that, at the end of the week we'll be shutting the site down for good.  No, TEDS administration hasn't contacted us again (we're pretty sure they were surprised by your outpouring of love) and we don't feel like the site is inappropriate or off base.

However, it’s becoming clear that lines are beginning to be drawn in the sand. The debate has remained (for the most part) loving and respectful, but the fact that there is a debate at all shows we’re not accomplishing the goal we set out to accomplish: to bring our brothers and sisters together by blogging light-heartedly about the quirks of seminary life and evangelicalism at large. 

It was never our intention to divide our brothers and sisters on any of the issues we’ve posted about or the blog in general; our hope was to disarm all sides with a little humor and to discuss issues, even serious ones, with a wink and a smile. 

We would’ve loved to hear that the faculty/administration and the students of TEDS and other seminaries were laughing together at our content and our tomfoolery. Or that Emerjerks and the Calvified at large were visiting the site and laughing along with one another. And in fact, we have received several emails indicating that very thing. 

But as more people visit the site each day, we’re afraid that the gap between the two sides of this debate will widen. 

So this is our last week.  We're going to say goodbye on our terms and then we'll discontinue writing.  We will, however, leave the blog up for at least an additional week in order for some people to finish up reading it.

Saturday, September 22 will be our final post, but we'll be sure and have daily content until then.  Trust us: the rest of the week will be worth checking back in for.

In the meantime, we welcome your thoughts on our decision and we look forward to interacting with you guys over the next few days.

Once again, thanks for all of your support and thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.  Our prayer is that God would give you guys joy in everything you do for Him.

And never, ever stop laughing.

Patience, young Padawan

Hey, it's Steph!

It's just after noon and we've already received several inquiries as to where today's big announcement is.  

If you'll just calm down, the day will go by faster and we'll get to it.  Check out the TEDS homepage or go over to the Financial Aid page and have a stroke about how expensive it is to get a degree from them.  That will pass some time.

We'll be back with our announcement at 8:00 ET/7:00 CT this evening.  We've also got two new articles to post, so all is well.

Much Love,
Steph

Monday, September 17, 2007

Q & A With the Don: John Piper Edition

After mentioning John Piper in a few posts, Stephanie has given me word that we've received a few email questions asking for my thoughts about the man.  We've decided to devote this brief Q & A to getting those out of the way so that we'll never have to talk about it again.

1.  "D.A.--You seemed to clearly allude to the fact that you don't think Piper is a good preacher.  What's up with that?"  -Jarvis

What?! That's preposterous! You completely took me out of context!!!

I never once said that John was a bad preacher; that is a totally subjective issue.  I said that John never used humor, never smiled, and always delved into Reformed theology when he preached!

That's not a criticism, though.  John Piper is exactly the way that God wants him to be, and John has taught me a lot about that over the years by beating me in the head with it.  After all, God is most glorified in us when we are most Calvified in Him.

Or something.  I always forget how the last part of that teaching goes...

2.  "Well hello there, Fake Carson!  One of my professors made a statement the other day that John Piper was the modern day J.I. Packer.  Do you agree?" -TEDS student that didn't want his name used for fear of administration wrath and hellfire

Well, I'm gonna level with you here: last time I checked, J.I. Packer was still alive.  That would seem to suggest that J.I. Packer is the modern day J.I. Packer.

So I hate to disagree with your professor, but he's wrong.  Oh, and I'm right.

3.  "Dearest FDC, Do you agree that John Piper is like the Pope of American Evangelicalism?"  -mr. Wolf

Good question (kind of).

I'm gonna let you folks in on a little secret, but you can't tell anyone else.  Wouldn't be prudent.

About 3 years ago a group of us tried to get John officially elected to be the Pope of American Evangelicalism.  Now, at the end of the day he would have just been a puppet Pope controlled by the Don, but there were several reasons it would've worked: evangelicals need strong leadership, I'm a strong leader, and John really wanted the title.

Well, Paige Patterson and Judge Paul Pressler heard about our plan and didn't like it one bit.  The day that we held a big meeting to vote on it, they had a bunch of Fundbags bussed in to strike down our vote (sound familiar?).

Ever since then, John and I have been trying to get those two to act like men and settle our differences where it matters most: the badminton court.  

Unfortunately, Patterson says he won't play unless we let him use his rifle and a hunting guide to actually take shots at us.

Pressler won't play unless he can rewrite the events of the game later on in a book to make himself look better.

So far we've declined.

Well, folks, that's all the time I have for today.  Piperites can send me hatemail here.  And both of you Patterson fans can try your hardest to reach me here.

Tomorrow I've got an important announcement to make, so check back in.  

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Your Help Needed: Letting the Cat (halfway) Out of the Bag

Well, Lucy, we've got some 'splainin' to do.  This is going to be a lengthy entry, so sit back, grab a cup of your favorite addictive caffeinated beverage, and get ready to hear a tale of wonder.

Well, it may not be a tale of wonder, but it's at least a tale of heartache (similar, eh?).  As we explained yesterday, TEDS administration has been strongly suggesting that we shut down our website.  What we'd like to do today is answer a lot of questions for our readers and for the administration.  At the end of that, we need your feedback

You can email us or you can comment on this post.  As we're trying to decide what our next step is, we value the opinions of the administration and our readers.  But first, bear with us as we answer a few questions.

1.  Who is behind The Secret Diary of D.A. Carson?  
This is easily the most asked question we get, both from curious readers and TEDS administration.  While we can't reveal actual names (more about that later), we can give you a little information that may surprise you.

The site actually consists of a think tank of four different people: one writer/collaborator, two collaborators, and one editor/censor (who we sometimes lock in the closet when we have a disagreement).  Article ideas are kicked around each week and eventually the suggestions and team input makes it into an article written by our "Don."

Most people have assumed that "the Don" is a single TEDS student.  Some of us have never even set foot on campus and the four of us literally live a thousand miles apart.  We can't be much more specific than that, but trust us when we say that the administration has made a lot of wrong assumptions about the "person" behind this site.

2.  Why did you start the blog?
We're all big fans of "The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs", an awesome site that was started over a year ago and has thousands of regular readers, us included.

What we loved about that blog is that it gathered a bunch of technology geeks together and enabled them to have a laugh about the weird things in the industry and then have a discussion in the comments section.

So one day, the idea hit us: wouldn't it be cool if we had a site like that for TEDS?  A site where people could have a laugh, chat things out, etc.  It would be a fun little thing we could try and if no one read it we could just shut it down.

3.  Why D. A. Carson?
Well, the answer to this should be pretty obvious.  Not only is Dr. Carson the face of Trinity, but in many ways he is the face of Evangelical scholarship.  If you're going to write a "Secret Diary" of a famous person in hopes of gathering TEDS students, choosing Dr. Carson is a no-brainer.  

4.  Are you criticizing Dr. Carson with your posts?
Absolutely not.  No, we don't agree with everything that Carson says and writes, but for the most part we think his scholarship is top-notch and we very much appreciate the contribution he's made to Christian thought and theology.

Just like "The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs" made a character out of Apple's CEO, we have made a character out of D. A. Carson.  Our Dr. Carson calls himself "Dragon" and "the Don", has a slight crush on Robin Meade, uses words like "frickin'" and "Emerjerk", and always thinks he's right about everything.

To be fair, the real D. A. Carson may do all of those things, too, but we doubt it.  The truth is that we don't know him at all; all we know is what we've read in his books.  So we're not being critical or trying to reprimand Dr. Carson; we're simply using him as a springboard for the site, just like "The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs" uses Steve.

5.  Are you criticizing Paige Patterson with your posts?
Yes.  And if that didn't make you smile, you can probably just stop reading right now and send us your hate mail.  

Seriously, though, we quickly realized that we couldn't just talk about seminary life all the time.  We'll continue to do that, but other topics will have to be approached.  So we decided on some very light-hearted criticism.  We've even criticized people and things that we like because we're making a character.  

This blog is not meant to be taken that seriously.  We can't stress that enough.  If you want serious discussion of theological issues and scholarly debate, there are a ridiculous amount of blogs that you can read and most of them are pretty boring and dry.  If that's your thing, great!  But if you want to take a break from that, we want you to come relax on our blog and have a laugh.

6.  So what's the controversy?
Well, that's a good question because we're not exactly sure.  It all seemed to start when Felix Theonugraha, the associate dean of students for TEDS, left us a comment about the fact that he wasn't crazy about the site.  We published the comment and told him we felt he was misunderstanding our intent, but we figured that would be the end of it.

Well, it wasn't.

Last week TEDS administration informed us that Dr. Carson himself didn't like our site and wanted us to take it down.

And you know what?  We were completely prepared to do that.  You see, we're Christians before we're humorists, and if Dr. Carson was truly offended by the site, we were going to pull it.

They told us that we could correspond with Dr. Carson himself if we wanted to.  And we did want to because we wanted to explain to him what we're explaining to you now: how we started and why, and that it was never meant as a criticism of him.  If, after that, he still wanted us to remove it, we were going to do that.  We just wanted him to know that we truly have respect for him.

However, when we notified the administration that we would indeed like to correspond with Dr. Carson, they took the offer off the table and said he wouldn't speak with us.

They told us that there were "others at the school who do not appreciate what you are doing and take it very seriously."  They told us we should just "trust" them on this and that "some of the things [we had] written had been very offensive even if [we] didn't intend for them to be."  In fact, we were told, "the details might surprise you."

So what does that mean?  Your guess is as good as ours.  Unless the administration really is aligned with the mafia (a post we felt was SO over the top that everyone would clearly see we were kidding), or they think we've hurt Fred Phelps' feelings, or Paige Patterson is going to be the next TEDS president, we don't know what the hubub is over.

In fact, we don't know if Carson really has a problem with the site or not because no one will let us correspond with him OR tell us why people are so "offended."  All they tell us (and they tell us this repeatedly, believe me) is "shut down the blog" and "reveal your identity."

7.  So why not just shut the site down?
Well, that would certainly be the easiest thing to do.  It was a lot of work even before administration was giving us such a hard time.

But there's a little problem.  As it turns out, people actually like us (we're shocked, too).

We started this blog just one month ago.  In that very short time we've gone from 4 unique visitors a day to over 150 unique visitors a day.  And you know what?  Only half of them are from TEDS.

We're getting visitors from every state and a LOT of visitors from Texas, Kentucky, Louisiana, and California.  Are those locations ringing a bell?

They should: they're the states with the biggest seminaries.  That's right, lots of seminary students are tuning in every day to see what the new article is about.

Since our inception, we've received over 60 comments and over 40 emails.  We haven't published every comment and we've published almost no email (just some questions for our Q & A articles), but here's something that may surprise the administration: out of over 100 correspondences from readers, we have had a total of 6 that were critical of the blog as a whole.  Sure, we had some people who didn't agree with our homeschool article or our Emerjerk article, but they all said that they liked the blog even if they didn't agree with every post.

So what does that tell us?  It tells us that a very large group of people understand where we're coming from and enjoy what we do.  A small, but very vocal, minority don't.  

So how is that different from anything else in the world?

8.  So what's next?
Well, we have three options:
1.  Shut down the blog
2.  Keep going as we are
3.  Stop this blog and start doing The Secret Diary of Paige Patterson.  Just kidding.

Okay, so we have two options.  What makes the decision difficult is that many people and even some internet outlets have enjoyed the blog.  

However, if we have hurt or offended you in a way that "might surprise us," we really do want to hear from you.  If you tell us not to, we won't publish your name or comments or let anyone know that you contacted us.  In all seriousness, we want to know why you want us to stop blogging.  You can email us right now by clicking here.

Also, if you've enjoyed the blog and want us to keep it up, we want to hear from you, too.  Some of you have already let your voice be heard, and we appreciate it.

In the end, if Dr. Carson, after reading this, still strongly feels that we should take the blog down, we'll do it.  We just want to hear it from him and not a messenger.

If however, there is just a small group of people in the administration that aren't crazy about it and we get a lot of comments and emails from people telling us to keep going, well...that's going to have an affect on our decision.

To contact us, please feel free to email us: stephtheintern@gmail.com

Or leave a comment on this post.

Thanks again to all our readers.  Your emails, comments, and laughter are the reason we've kept it up.  Regardless of the outcome, it's been a fun ride.  

We'll be taking the rest of the weekend off to sort through the massive amount of email we're expecting and we'll update you next week as to what all takes place.  In the meantime, we have a "Fake Carson Q & A: John Piper Edition" we'll be posting on Monday.

Now put down your caffeinated drink and contact us by email or comment or we'll send Fake Carson to your house to destroy you in badminton.  You don't want a piece of "the Dragon," you frickin' Emerjerk (yes, that includes you, Paige Patterson).

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Tomorrow: You Be the Jury

Well, kiddos, daddy can't protect you from the truth anymore.  You see, behind the scenes, the administration of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School has been working pretty hard to get us to shut this site down.

We have great respect for all of those who have been in touch with us, even if we don't agree with the way in which they've handled it or the conclusions that they've reached.

So here's the thing: tomorrow The Secret Diary of D. A. Carson will be laying most of our cards out on the table: we'll tell a lot about who we are (no, we're not giving names; the administration has, unfortunately, made that impossible at this point), why we started the site, and what kind of reaction we've had so far.  We'll explain the controversy and the decisions that we are being faced with.

And at the end of the article, we're going to ask your opinion on what we should do next.  That's right, the fate of this blog will be largely determined by its readership which is up now to over 150 unique visitors a day with each visitor averaging almost 9 minutes per visit.

We hope you'll visit us Friday and throughout the weekend in order to weigh in via email or comment.

As always, thanks for stopping by: we really appreciate you guys.

Monday, September 10, 2007

I Am SO Offended (but not really)

So sometime, when you're bored or you just can't slush through any more homework for the evening, you should punch my name into Google just to see what the results are.

According to Stephanie, the third site to come up under a "D.A. Carson" search is some website called WayOfLife.org, and they don't seem to like me very much.  Sure, it hurts my feelings a little, but one thing that the Don has learned in all these years is this: you have to be able to take criticism.  Even when you're misunderstood and you have a VERY loud minority screaming that you're a monster and disagreeing with what you've written, said, or believed, you just have to take it and move on.

But I digress.

Apparently the ringleader of this WayOfLife.org site is a self-professed FUNDAMENTALIST named David W. Cloud, and it seems that he's very excited about snuffing out the evils of "New Evangelical scholars" like myself.  

I read his cute little article entitled "Beware of D.A. Carson," and he's basically upset that I'm okay with inclusive language, that I helped promote the New Revised Standard Version (this guy really hates "new" stuff), and that I'm not a literal six-day creationist.

Boo-hoo.

Okay, so I wrote out a 12 page rebuttal to his comments and thought about printing them here for you to read, but I realized that might be a tad too long.  So instead, I have decided to just criticize the thing that bothered me most after looking at his article:

His website design.

I mean, geez!  C'mon, David, it's not flippin' 1992 anymore!  No pictures, the font is Times New Roman, and your top box combines the colors Purple, Yellow, and RED!  What were you thinking!?  There is absolutely NOTHING on this page to reset my attention span, and since you drone on and on for what can only be compared to an ETERNITY, you really need to spice up the page a little bit.

You want to spar with the Don?  You want me to open the floodgates and unleash tidal wave after tidal wave of the theological genius that resides in my head?  You want to see if you have what it takes to go round after round against a heavyweight of my ability?

Then fix your ugly website.  Once it's less offensive to my eyes I'll be glad to K.O. you in the first round.

They don't call me "the Dragon" for nothin'.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

How Do You Choose the Books?

So some crazy student calling himself "curiously questioning carson," who I can only assume is an Emerjerk, wrote in today wanting to know how the professors at TEDS choose which books we use for our texts during the course of a given semester.

I was just about to fire back my standard response notifying him about the part of my TEDS contract that states "all professors must use D. A. Carson books if at all possible" when I realized that's not exactly what he wanted.  Turns out he had a problem with at least two specific subjects.

Last semester, this particular TEDS student had classes that touched on Open Theism and the New Perspective on Paul.

Turns out that instead of reading books by theologians who are actually proponents of these topics, the class was only given books refuting them, and "curiously questioning carson" (hereafter referred to as "CQC") wants to know why.

Well, let me explain a few things to you.  Sure, it's better to read proponents of these heretical views if you want to truly understand all of their strengths and weaknesses.  But we don't always want you to understand them.  Sometimes we just want you to know they're really, really bad.

Perhaps an illustration will help.  You probably know what a wood chipper is, but you don't really know exactly how it works.  Sure, you could walk up to one, stick your hand or arm in it and really try to understand all the ins and outs of it.  Or you could just watch this scene from Fargo and realize that you shouldn't have anything to do with a wood chipper.  Understanding all the intricacies of a wood chipper doesn't help keep your hand from getting torn off when you stick it in.

So in answer to your question, CQC, Open Theism and the New Perspective are just like wood chippers.

Except different.

Kind of.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Interpreting Dreams

So I'm not very good at deciphering what my dreams mean. Frankly, I'm not so sure that they mean anything at all, but I had a strange one last night.

I dreamed that I was up in a tree very, very high off the ground. Below me, I could clearly see a cat. This cat was searching all over the field for something and seemed to be getting frustrated. I started looking around to see if I could spot what he was looking for since I had such a good vantage point.

Then I realized: the cat was looking for me. Only he wasn't looking in any of the right places. Not even close!

So I sat in the tree and laughed pretty hard at the cat. It was kind of hilarious to watch him looking so hard for something he was never going to find. After all, he wasn't even close about any of his assumptions as to where I was.

Anyway, right in the middle of a good, hardy chuckle my alarm went off and I ran into the living room to watch Robin & Company.

What a morning.

An Open Letter to Sterling Franklin


It's become quite clear, my dear Sterling, that you think you're very cute: bragging on Facebook about how many shots you stole from me in our game of badminton and how many shots you felt that I missed.  Never mind the fact that we were on the same team: you have to seek the glory.

That's fine.  I understand.  People of your young age who haven't accomplished in their entire lives what I have in the last six months can understandably feel the need to build themselves up while tearing others down.

But know this Mr. Franklin: I let you have those shots, and I purposely missed other ones in order to conceal my secret.

That's right: the Don is one wicked badminton player; I rock the racket, I knock the net, and I shock the shuttlecock (no, that's not dirty; that's badminton).

In China, where badminton is actually popular, they call me "The Dragon."  Sure, they call a lot of people "The Dragon," but they really mean it when they say it about me.  I've trained their Olympic team for too many years to count.

Sterling, if I'd been serious about playing this weekend, do you think I'd have worn slacks?  I mean, c'mon, everyone knows I would have put on my badminton competition Speedon.  Just be glad that I didn't come wearing that (for several reasons)!

I'm sorry I had to be so frank, but I really needed to make an example out of you, Sterling.  Just because you think you've shown up an old man in a crazy game that essentially is a slowed down version of tennis doesn't give you the right to go bragging about it all over the internets.

You never know when you'll awaken "The Dragon."

You've been warned.

Sincerely Yours,
The Don/Dragon

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Q & A with the Don #2

Well, folks, sorry for the blogging sabbatical but I've just been incredibly busy with writing and badminton (more on that tomorrow).  I trust that you all had wonderful holiday weekends and I appreciate the kind emails that some of you sent to Stephanie over the break.

I do NOT appreciate the requests for a date that some of you sent to Stephanie over the break.  Gentlemen, I realize she's an attractive young woman, but haven't we already talked about not looking creepy and pathetic?

Anyway, I'm over it.

I thought we'd take today to do a little Q & A.  That's right, we get email here at The Secret Diary of D.A. Carson, and this is your chance to get some of your questions answered.  Remember, if you have a question you'd like to have answered, you can email Steph and she'll give the good ones to me in order that my time is not wasted by the mediocre ones (don't take that the wrong way, folks; I'm very busy with badminton right now...but more on that tomorrow).

Okay, to the questions!

1.  "Fake Carson, don't you see that this blog is rigged so that anyone, like myself, who thinks this is a poor idea is "w/o a sense of humor" or "takes ourselves too seriously" or "needs to relax?"  -Matt Redmond

Yes, I do.  Brilliant, huh?

(ed. note: the above question was sent in by Matt Redmond, not Redman; THAT Matt has a sense of humor)

2.  "Hey, Fake Carson!  What do you think about global warming?"  - emerjerk79
This is a great question, and quite a timely one as well.  If you don't mind, let me give you just a little background on global warming.

Global warming is not a new concern, but it is a much more prevalent issue in the scientific community than it once was.  In 2006, scientists studying 30 years of thermal data for the United States noticed some disturbing trends:
  1. 1965's data showed above average temperatures to the extreme degree in central Texas; close to the Abilene area.  Over the next several years it had spread to envelop most of the state.
  2. In 1969, abnormal hot spots were turning up in New Orleans, Louisiana and moving out from there.
  3. 1973 saw Arkansas get hammered by what now appeared to be a nation-wide phenomenon at the very least.  The Fayetteville area in particular was hit hard by drastic heat increases.
  4. In 1980, the hot spots increased greatly in the Dallas, Texas area.  What ensued was one of the hottest decades in recorded history for the city and surrounding area.  Scientists were beginning to espouse several theories of greenhouse gasses, etc., but no one seemed to agree on the exact cause.
  5. In 1995, the extreme hot spots seemed to finally break out of the deep south, and North Carolina saw an above-average increase in temperature; the Wake Forest area was particularly devastated.
  6. Most recently, Dallas seems to be getting hammered once again as hot spots were more prevalent in 2005 than any previous year.
So what was the cause of all of these hotspots?  Scientists have debated over the figures, the exact causes, and the mountains of data for years without coming to a complete consensus.

As usual, the Don is here for you with the scoop and has figured out the only plausible solution way faster than the so-called "experts" have been able to cobble anything together.  Compare the above scientific data with this little chart:


Notice anything...peculiar?  Yep, that's Paige Patterson's career experience and there is a disturbing trend contained within it:

Everywhere that Patterson goes, the air gets hotter.

3.  "Hey, D.A.!  Quick question: what's the 'A.' stand for?"  -Alph

Well, originally my parents named me Donald Arthur, but I had the "A." legally changed to "Awesome" in 1978 shortly after I definitively defeated J.I. Packer in a game of badminton.  Old goat never even saw it coming...

4.  "In your opinion, why do many Americans have trouble locating the United States on a world map?" -(yeah, like, 8 different people asked this)

Well, I've thought long and hard on this, but I just can't seem to come up with as good an answer as this Emerjerk:

5.  "How do you keep in such fantastic shape?" -Ellie

Truthfully?  Badminton.  But more on that tomorrow.

Okay, that's all the time for Q & A today, but I'll be answering a few more tomorrow.  Remember, if you'd like to write in and have your question answered, feel free to drop Stephanie a line.  

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Relax! He'll be Back Tuesday

Hello, all you faithful Fake Carson readers!  This is Stephanie, Dr. Carson's intern.

I had to call Dr. Carson today because he kept getting email asking if he was ever going to post again since it had been two whole days without a word.

Dr. Carson asked me to let you guys know that he's out of town battling Fred Phelps, homies, and Emerjerks, but will return Tuesday with a fantastic "Question and Answer" article that he's been working on.  I've read the rough draft, and I really think you'll love it (yes, Dr. Carson even writes rough drafts for his blog postings).

In the meantime, feel free to check out the last Q&A that Dr. Carson did a few weeks ago.

If that still won't tide you over, feel free to drop me a line if you guys need anything because that's what I get paid for.  

Speaking of my job: Dr. Carson had me go in and label all of the posts he's already put up so that you guys can search by topic.  You can find all the major topics that he's ranted about on the right sidebar underneath "Topics We've Covered."  We hope this'll make articles easier to find for you when you're sharing them with your loved ones.

That's it for today.  Have a great holiday and thanks so much for checking in with Dr. Carson!

Much Love, 
Steph

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

But There is One More Thing

It's late and most of you are probably in bed. The Don, however, is burning the midnight oil (as usual).

I don't normally blog about the same thing twice in one day, but I asked Stephanie about it and she thought it would be okay.

A reader calling himself "emerjerk79" wrote in this evening about the above poster and I couldn't resist publishing his remarks:
"This poster is literally a picture of hypocrisy. An evangelical is trying to be comedic by dissing emergents for trying to be comedic by dissing their critics."
Being D.A. Carson, I understood the irony. I'm sure for some of our readers, their heads will just explode (here's looking at you, Paige Patterson).

The Death of the Emerging Church

It seems that the good folks over at Spurgeon.org are having a little fun at the expense of the Emerging Church movement.  They've made up a bunch of posters that explain why it's a cult and why anyone who would share a beer with a nonbeliever is going to hell.

I couldn't agree more.

The only thing I don't understand is why they feel the need to rag on a movement that really isn't in existence anymore.  Don't they realize that I already annihalted this thing before it really got off the ground?  You see, once the Don writes a book on a subject (in this case, the Emerging Church), that's pretty much the last word on it.  We could save everyone a lot of time, money, and wasted ink if they would realize that, too.

Those Emerjerks are just so frickin' arrogant.  They're always trying to find a "different" way of relating to people or talking down to us traditionalists like we don't know what's up just because our hair isn't spiked and we don't read Donald Miller.

Emerjerks, let it rest.  Your moment is over and it really wasn't that much to begin with.

The Don has spoken.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Critiquing the Homies

So the News & Observer has an article this week about how Baptists hate the world and don't want anything to do with it.

Or something.

The basic thrust of the article, for the many of you who will undoubtedly be too lazy to click the above link (and hey, if you missed it the first time, here's your last opportunity), is that many Baptists are pulling their children out of public schools because of what they perceive to be the "new religious establishment in this country," and that is "secularism."

So the answer to the horrors of the "secularism" in public schools is to pull all the Christians out of them and start homeschooling and remove all Christian influence from mainstream society.

Right.

Okay, folks, it's time to have a little talk: one to one, person to person, layperson to brilliant educator, average mind to genius, random individual to the Don.

I understand that, as a Christian, it's difficult to send your kids to public school.  You don't know what they're going to hear or learn or what kids they'll come in contact with.  Other kids may go so far as to teach them curse words or tell them it's okay to watch shows like Desperate Housewives (I'd like to add here that if you'll take the time to watch 3 episodes, you'll be hooked.  Sometimes late at night I have difficulty writing all of my theological works because I keep wondering if Susan and Mike will stay together or if Edie really killed herself in last season's finale...it torments me day and night!).

Perhaps you think that other students may make fun of your children for going to church or that teachers may instill dirty words and phrases into their vocabulary like "evolution," or "safe sex," or "Clinton Administration."

It's okay.  Take a deep breath.  You're going to be fine.

Now listen to me:

Unfortunately (and this is tough, I know), we're called by Jesus to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world.  It's really difficult to let your light shine when you're stashing it away in a home school or in a private school that many people don't desire to attend because of its religious slant or can't afford to attend because of its high price.

The Don understands your hesitancy to let your kids enter an environment that you can't completely control.  But do it for the sake of all the kids out there who haven't had the beautiful privilege to grow up in a Christian home, but desperately need a Christ-like influence in their lives.  Do it so that your children won't grow up scared to death of people who don't believe like they do.  Do it so that your kids can have an opportunity to live their faith now and work it out by the time they get to college.

And if you still have reservations, I think I know just the thing to help you out: head on over to Amazon.com and pick up any one of my books.  Whenever I'm down, reading one of my own books is a huge pick-me-up, and I think you'll agree.

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Day the Internets Exploded and My Inbox Detonated


I got home tonight and had an email sitting in my inbox from Stephanie. She's one of my many interns/underlings/slaves and she's just a fantastic help. Turns out that she wanted to inform me that our web traffic was WAY, WAY UP over the last few days.

I don't really know all the techno-mumbo-jumbo about this "internets" stuff, but Steph says we went from an average of about 35 unique visitors a day to about 300 a day over the weekend. She thinks it may have something to do with the fact that SBC Outpost.com wrote a short article about our little blog over the weekend calling it "side-splitting" and saying that I'm a "genius". Everyone knows the "genius" part, of course, but it's nice to be recognized for splitting sides as well.

Which would also explain all the fan mail and hate mail that made my email inbox threaten detonation. I kid you not, I turned on my beautiful Hewlitt Packard desktop tonight, waited for Windows to boot, and then read this message upon startup:
Error 666: Microsoft regrets to inform you that the bitterness level of your inbox has reached maximum capacity and we will no longer be able to assist you with your operating system needs. This computer will self-destruct:
in 30 seconds
tomorrow
Tuesday
Next Week
Next Year
in 2010
Whenever We Get Around to It

Good thing Microsoft stinks at getting anything done in a timely fashion. I might've had to buy a Mac (which has a great Operating System, but really cramps by ability to play Battlefield 2...speaking of which, you wouldn't have guessed this, but Dr. McCall tends to own the rest of the TEDS staff when we play Battlefield muliplayer. We call him "Dr. McKill"; he loves it.)

Anyway, my thanks to the SBC Outpost.com staff.  In a few years when I've superseded even the Pope's dedicated following and have taken over the world, I will not forget that you guys had my back.