Thursday, November 17, 2005

First Things First

The philosopher David Cassidy once said, "Self-pity is so unattractive." Even more unattractive than self-pity is self-promotion. Still, I hope you'll forgive me linking to a piece I've written in the new First Things, "God on the Internet." I don't normally do this sort of thing, but I'm particularly excited to appear in the pages of one of my favorite magazines.


susanna in KY said...

Nice to see that even in this world, the Last shall be (in) First.

(And no, I couldn't resist.)

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I'm sure Last and his wife have never, ever, ever heard that joke before. Wow.

Anonymous said...

Dude, no matter how much self-deprication you couch it in, this is no different from the crap you have hammered Insta for. You should apologize to him.

Anonymous said...

Yes, sir, Aaron!

Before you command me to retract this comment--which, whoops!, I won't--may I point out that it would be "no different" if JVL did this every time he published something off the blog? Because, so far as I can tell, that's what he dings Glenn for.

I'd demand that you apologize to my Boy, but I get laid pretty regularly, so, you know ...

susanna in KY said...

Anonymous, anyone with a name that can be used as a joke or song learns to groan and grin. As I've lived my life to a frequently off-key chorus of the Stephen Foster song, "Oh, Susanna!", I think I know what it's like. I'd much rather avoid humorless people than those often-corny renditions of "my" song. I suspect the same is true of the Lasts.

Mark said...

Mr. Last,
Do you usually disparage the efforts of others without bothering to contact them and learn that which you do not know?

You come off as trite and dishonest.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Last: Steve Ray here. You maligned my website ( in your article "God and the Internet" in First Things without contacting me first to get the facts (and motives) correct. I am easy to reach as you know.

I am disappointed in your poorly presented article and in the dishonest way you present not only me but others. I have written a letter to First Things requesting an apology. Incidently, I've had over 15 people inform me they have also written. You can read my response on my blog and a lot of other comments on my message board.

Too bad your initial article in one of your favorite magazines could not have been better researched and written without taking cheap shots at people you don't know and things you don't research or understand.

Anonymous said...

I am somewhat intrigued by Jonathan Last’s terminology in his latest article “God on the Internet.” One wonders how he defines “personal strain of consumerism.” Is the definition dependent on what Mr. Last would choose to sell? Does the definition encompass only religious products? Are the words “religious” and “personal” interchangeable for him? Someone better tell Mel Gibson.

Does not the world wide web offer a full gamut of products for sale? Many of those are highly questionable, by the way, but maybe not deemed “personal” by Mr. Last. I would say many of those vendors would far better fit the low-class description of one “hawking their wares.” Since Mr. Ray has gone to the trouble to produce stunning, award-winning DVDs that not only entertain but educate, should he be banned from selling them because Mr. Last does not want them distributed for a price? Or does he expect Mr. Ray to spend thousand of dollars producing the high-quality work that he does and give them away? How many people could afford to do that? And think how few people they would reach if that was the case.

Does Mr. Last receive payment for his critiques, or are these all done gratis? If he receives no payment for any of the work he does, perhaps he should look more seriously into “hawking his own wares.” In the big scheme of things I suspect Mr. Ray’s work will carry for more lasting impact and value for people, whether sold or given freely, than Mr. Last’s poorly researched critique. One of the first rules of journalism is “check your facts.” Much credibility is lost otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Last,

Re: you article "God and the Internet" on First Things that maligns Mr. Stephen (Steve) Ray.

I am from the Philippines and I know Steve personally, your article is grossly inaccurate and I know you ought to apologise to him.

Live Jesus in our Hearts, FOREVER.

Tom Borromeo
Manila, Philippines

Anonymous said...

Steve Ray, poverty stricken. From Mark Shea's blog, 2004:

Steve Ray is putting together his next "Footprints of God" episode (on David and Solomon). So basically, the past two days have been spent hammering out the essential shape of that show, what events in the lives of David and Solomon he will focus on, locations to shoot, images to use, music, as well as typological significance and literary tie-ins which affect our reading of the New Testament. It was lotsa fun. Roy Schoeman is here, as well as Ed Peters (canon law guy) and several others. We finished up this afternoon, so I thought I'd say howdy to y'all and see what's happening in the wide world.

Steve's got a really lovely house (enormous!) out in the middle of the Michigan boondocks. He is definitely a 21st century resident, what with all the George Jetson technology everywhere.

Joe Pirillo said...

Regarding your comments on Steve Ray and his site: too bad. His enthusiasm for the faith is authentic. And his generosity is far-reaching. I suppose the devil relishes the opportunity to divide and conquer.

Anonymous said...

I am sad to hear about your poorly researched article regarding the internet. Including Steve Ray in your article without interviewing him or finding out the truth about his motives is upsetting. We just started receiving this magazine at home and now I will always question how much of the articles are truth or speculation.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe Steve Ray's tantrum over one itty bitty little paragraph about his website. I don't see anything untruthful in the article he claims to slander him. Ray, does push his products and loves to brag about himself. Such a bore to read. That was my first impression ever since I first stumbled across Ray's place long before the article appeared. Apparently, I'm not the only one who thought it was pushing products to support his livelyhood in the name of religion. One should serve the Lord with charity from the heart and not looking to make a buck.

Ray should learn some humility and be more forgiving rather than trying to win some pointless battles to save his pride.

I hope Ray quits his whinning and start behaving more in a Christian manner.