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A friend sent me this excerpt from Douglas Wilson’s evangelical satire novel, Evangellyfish. This section describes Charles Peaborne, a peeved former church employee who now manages his own whistleblower website:

The website was jammed full of PDFs of minutes from ancient meetings, PDFs of long-lost memos (mostly from Charles), and PDFs of affidavits (all from Charles and immediate family members). Charles had unique views of what constituted corroboration. He would produce an affidavit saying that he had once told Chad Lester, to his face, that if Camel Creek did not repent of its wasteful practice of buying high-grade paper for the copiers, and instead go with the perfectly acceptable middle-grade variety, there would be consequences. Then there would be two other affidavits, from his mother and younger brother, testifying that Charles had indeed told them that he had said this to Chad. It was the middle of the evening, and Charles had just finished uploading a whole new line of what he called ‘exposure documents.’ He sat back in his chair in his study at home and stared at the screen, highly pleased.

More excerpts and blurbs here.

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10 thoughts on “An Excerpt from “Evangellyfish””

  1. Jason Kates says:

    Oh, that’s good. BD may not be amused, but that’s good.

  2. Brian Auten says:

    Yes, when I read Evangellyfish on a work trip a few weeks back, I have to say that this section immediately reminded of BD as well. Yet, this excerpt also brings up a larger, less-than-satirical question: is there *any* legitimate, theologically-sound role for the use of blogs and other social media to expose publicly what *could be* very real structural or institutional evils? I’m not talking just heresy or heterodox beliefs, but misuse of power, dangerous practices, etc.

  3. Aaron Britton says:

    I’m not sure that this is related to BD and SGM at all. But, if it is. .. . poor form. There is alot of substantive content in his documents that is not in the same league as copy paper.

    Having said that, I’m not convinced this quote has much to do with BD.

  4. David Wayne says:

    Wilson actually wrote this a few years ago – it was serialized on a blog by the same name that has since been taken down. I highly doubt he had SGM in mind on this – it was written well before any of the recent controversy, at least as far as I can tell.

  5. Brian Auten says:

    #1 – I don’t believe that Wilson had SGM in mind. He’s had enough of this type of thing in his own backyard over the years.

    #2 – Justin would be the only one to know if he had BD in mind when he posted this.

    #3 – Aaron, as a member of SGM, I agree with you — more than you know; yet, as a satirical portrait, there was still enough in Wilson’s prose to remind me immediately of BD. Since I expect that Justin would probably not prefer a conversation on the specific SGM issue, what about the larger question? What about the use of social media to address internal church issues that may be way, way more significant than copy paper?

  6. Aaron Britton says:

    Thanks for getting it back on track, guys. . .glad to hear Wilson published this a few years ago. (I thought so).

    As far as the appropriate-ness of blogs in exposing internal church issues. . . . . It all depends on what has happened before the publishing of the blog/tweet, etc..

    The caricature that DW and Mark Driscoll use of the “pajama-hadeen”, “guys in their basement”, etc. . hold up if we’re talking about people that have nothing to do with the situation and/or are trying to create more controversy and stir the drink with diabolical (I use that word on purpose) intentions.

    However, if that’s not what is going on, and a blog is the only way a person can tell their side of the story unfiltered (after approaching the person in the flesh, . . if that applies). . than it’s no different than writing an open letter, or “telling the church” or in the case of public sins, . .making known what has been hidden. I don’t have a problem with it.

  7. Hey, everybody. This would probably be a good place to reaffirm what the disclaimer in front of Evangellyfish said — all the characters are entirely fictional. I absolutely did not have either of the situations mentioned in mind, having written that passage well before it all went down. Unless, of course, I am starting to have dreams and visions, which would get me in hot water of another kind . . .

    That said, I wish I could say that what passes for proof in some quarters were a fictional thing, but I can’t. The problem is not blogs, or any other medium, but rather the absence of independent corroboration, along with the absence of an awareness of any need for it. We are not permitted to make an accusation against someone without that — and having two or three witnesses to the fact that you made the accusation doesn’t count, which was the point of the excerpt above.

    So . . . there you go. Free information.

  8. Aaron britton says:

    Thanks Rev. Wilson. That is a helpful explanation and admonishment for us. I will say that in a few of the current situations there are voluminous documentatons and corroborations, . .and the people bringing the charges are still called slanderers because of the medium and the content.

    That said. . .agreed that it is much too easy to ruin a man’s reputation via blog/twitter/etc. . .

  9. Andrew says:

    Aaron: agreed. No reasonable, impartial observer of those sites would conclude that the people bringing the charges are guilty of slander. In print it’s libel.

  10. donsands says:

    “and having two or three witnesses to the fact that you made the accusation doesn’t count”

    Made me think of my pastor’s sermon yesterday from John 8. Jesus was in the midst of elders and church leaders who mixed the Word with their own way of thinking, and in the end mocked Jesus, the Lord of heaven and earth, and called Him a Samaritan and a devil. Amazing, after all the testimony our Savior displayed. Amazing.

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Justin Taylor, PhD

Justin Taylor is executive vice president of book publishing and book publisher for Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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