Friday, September 30, 2005

A Purpose Driven Miracle revisited...

In light of Ashley Smith's more truthful version of what happened in her apartment with accused killer, Brian Nichols, I dug up this post. I don't have a problem with the fact that she was a meth addict and gave him meth, since that is what meth addicts do. I'm not even concerned that she lied and spun her story to make herself look better. She was obviously ashamed of her meth addiction and was covering up. I'm sure I'd do the same thing, if I were in her same situation. Ashley Smith is a sinner in need of a savior and so am I.

My concern with this whole story remains the same. The way that many Evangelicals and their press outlets took ahold of this story to promote Rick Warren's book is what concerns me. On Fox News one morning shortly after the capture and Ashley's revelation, Scott Bolinder, Exec. VP and Publisher for Zondervan was asked to comment on the Ashley Smith story. I was rubbed the wrong way by his comments. Steve Doocy commented, "How fortunate for her that this is the book she was reading. What passage was she reading?" Bolinder responded that she was reading Chapter 33. Already their conversation had the distinct tone of people dicussing Bible passages. Bolinder went on to make this statement:

"This is what happens when you read this book. First, people understand their purpose for living...your relationship with God. He (God) helps you
to understand your purpose. Second, this book gives you a new lens into other people's lives. You begin to understand that they were created with a purpose in mind."

Bolinder went on to say that this miracle had rocketed Warren's book from 79th place to 2nd place on a bestsellers' list. Today, Zondervan is still spinning this story. Starting with a June 15, 2005 press release, Smith's upcoming book was announced:

The woman who convinced a suspected courtroom killer to surrender during a seven-hour hostage ordeal at her suburban apartment is writing a memoir.

Ashley Smith's "Unlikely Angel" will be co-published this fall by the Zondervan and William Morrow divisions of HarperCollins. Zondervan is also the publisher for Rick Warren's million-selling "The Purpose-Driven Life," from which Smith says she read passages to courthouse shooting suspect Brian Nichols

Today, on the Zondervan website, this book is proudly featured with no reference to her meth addiction:

Ashley Smith, author of Unlikely Angel: The Untold Story of the Atlanta Hostage Hero, is finishing her interview on Good Morning America Friday. See it here.

On Wed. Ashley was on Oprah.

Unlikely Angel is the inspirational story of Ashley Smith, who was taken hostage by suspected Atlanta courthouse killer Brian Nichols. "This past March millions of people were captivated by the grace and courage Ashley exemplified as she convinced Brian Nichols to surrender peacefully after reading to him from The Purpose-Driven Life," notes Scott Bolinder, Executive VP & Publisher, Zondervan. "We're honored to partner with William Morrow to bring Ashley's remarkable story of faith, redemption, and hope to the public."

Read the chapter Ashley shared with her captor: Chapter 33 (PDF)

Look for Unlikely Angel in bookstores now.

And follow Ashley as she continues her national tour with appearances on the following: ABC's 20/20, Sept. 30; CBS's The Early Show and CNN's Larry King Live on Oct. 5; CNN's American Morning and FOXNews's Hannity & Colmes on Oct. 4; and The View on Oct. 17.

Rick Warren, author of The Purpose-Driven Life, will join Ashley on Larry King Live.

Ashley Smith's recent revelation, albeit with no apparent consequences, is just further illustration of the shallowness of the "we want to experience God" nature of the modern Evangelical movement. Meth is a natural choice for "experiencing God" and so is Rick Warren's book. Ashley Smith was, to quote a favorite blog-keeper of mine, Tim the Enchanter, very poorly catechized.

cat·e·chism (kt-kzm) noun

A book giving a brief summary of the basic principles of Christianity in question-and-answer form.

[French catechisme, from Old French, from Late Latin catchismus, from Late Greek katkhismos, from katkhizein, to teach by word of mouth. See catechize.]

We fellow humans are living in a fallen world, far from the paradise and eternal life that God had intended for us. We need to understand that fact and to know that God has provided us a Savior. We do not need to "feel" and "experience" God. No wonder so many people get hooked on meth, which supposedly is known for people thinking that God is speaking to them. God did not provide us Rick Warren and A Purpose Driven Life for our salvation; He gave us His Word and His Son. Anything, including books or meth, that pulls us away from that truth is from the author of lies.


Ryan P.T. said...

Great post! Seriously, without even considering the clear witness of Scripture, what part of a crucified and resurrected God says, "I don't know what the deal was with that, but what the hell is my purpose?" We don't get it, we just don't get it. It's finished, people! Hallelujah.

Tim's Ghost said...

I agree. Great post.

Zondervan is great at marketing. Look at its success selling the NIV.