"HOW SHALL WE THEN LIVE?" Francis Schaeffer

Friday, November 25, 2005

Yaconelli and suicide

I spent much of this evening reading about an imbroglio (hat tip Phil Johnson for the spelling) between Michael Spencer, Frank Turk and others. It was quite interesting. But it got me to thinking about the late Mike Yaconelli. He was an editor of the Wittenburg Door and wrote the "back page" for many years. The Door in it's early life was truly cutting edge and at times tremendously funny. However over the years it tailed off and seemed to become more of a rant than anything else. But Yac bought himself significant street cred with the "back page."

That Yac was troubled was both a trigger for some of his brilliance and a concern as he seemed to so easily drift both theologically and perhaps personally. I don't know his family history and all I knew of him was the bits and pieces of persona he admitted through his writings. He was a patchwork of seeming contradictions. Mostly I think he was a permanent adolescent; the rebellious urge never quite matured.

A couple years ago while driving down I-5 in Northern California he drove off the road and into a concrete abutment effectively killing himself. It was a shock to all; admirers and critics. I don't think it's been established that it was suicide but looking at Mike's life I think maybe it was. Things had not gone well for him as he aged (does it for any of us) and I believe his father had died? That's not really enough to kill yourself over; unless you're one of those who struggle with self-destructive tendencies.

I was sad that he died. He could be, and sometimes was, a creative genius. But sometimes he was just a jerk. I think he was a true believer; but God has sorted it out already.

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