Monday, June 19, 2006
A conservative charismatic sent me Ann Coulter's "Godless: The Church of Liberalism."
"I can't believe that book is in my house," Dr. ER exclaimd upon seeing it.
I told him I'd be glad to read it -- if he bought it and got it to me. He did. So I will hold up my end of the bargain: I will sit with a trash can next to the chair and alternately read, and hurl, and read, and hurl. Then I'll review the book here.
To say she has a rapier wit doesn't come close to accuracy. But that's the only difference between her and most other best-selling blowhards.
For one, I reject her premise right off the bat. "Liberals are godless." Untrue. Many, probably most, are religious skeptics and that's a different thing. So, Ann basis her book on a lie. Nice. More anon, after I've read more than the 12 pages I've read.
A moderate-liberal Presbyterian friend sent me "The Tao of Willie: A Guide to the Happiness in Your Heart," by Willie Nelson with Turk Pipkin.
It's just gonna be a hoot, I can tell from glancin' through it.
An Eastern Orthodox friend gave me "For the Life of the World: Sacraments and Orthodoxy," by Alexander Schmemann.
In order, it'll be Coulter, Willie, Schmemann.
Trust me, my wife feels just as strongly about having that sort of stuff around our house -- and while I have not felt the need to wretch even once reading Carter's book (he's wrong about a lot, but clearly very sincere about his faith and helping the less fortunate), I fear a trash can will be my constant companion once I dive into the other.
I'm not 25 pages into "Godless," and the entire infrastructure of her argument is already showing stress: Liberals are godless, right? Then she mentions "liberal minister" Jim Wallis ... and she says Episcopaleans are "barely a church." Maybe so. Some of us are "barely saved," too. Which reminds me of a something I've been pondering:
I'm into disorganized religion.
True Christianity is about a dynamic relationship with Christ, not attendance at a church. That said, church is one way we worship Him and He speaks to us -- but I would agree that "religion" isn't what I was ever after. Jesus was.
You and I just have different views of what it means to follow Him. Maybe not even that -- just different interpretations of what He calls those to follow Him to do. I see mercy and love, in part, as calling the world to repentance; you see it -- correct me if I'm wrong because I'm not trying to be snarky here -- as more of an anything-goes sort of love. If heard it expressed, derogatively, in charismatic circles as "sloppy agape." I'm not saying that's what I call it or how I view you -- only trying to toss out a definition that makes sense.
Sometimes, love means keeping people from harm -- if you love your kid, you keep him from putting his hand on the hot stove. I'd argue that the goal of groups like Focus on the Family, at least in their public policy pursuits, is to help the country from putting its collective hand on the hot stove. It's interpreted as a hateful, judgmental action, but that's not at all, I suspect, what's in the hearts of those carrying that particular torch.
God loves us wastefully -- sloppily! And that's the example Jesus gives.
Repentence comes as a result of accepting God's love, I think. But here's the kicker: I don't believe any person can judge the repentence of another person. Period.
I've got an odd sort of Calvinistic bent in htis: Calvin said people should live as if God had saved them, whether or not they thought they actually were among the Elect, because even an unsaved person owes it to God to try to live righteously. My twist is this: Christians should live as if others who profess to be Christians are in fact Christians. Period.
"It's interpreted as a hateful, judgmental action, but that's not at all, I suspect, what's in the hearts of those carrying that particular torch."
I agree with Nick totally that the hearts of those who do hateful judgmental things are not filled with malice but with love for those they persecute. (Well maybe Nick didn't say that "exactly") It is true that Inquesition was a device to cleanse and save the souls of the apostates that they tourtured and that was Hard-Core Agape. Hard-Core Agape does away with the Liberal Agape Angst. If you aren't willing to Kill for Christ then you shouldn't be on this Crusade. If you can't tourture a Soul in order to Save it for Jesus, then you are not in the Army of Salvation. If they must Die in order to be Free so be it. (Can't you just see Ann C. with her long flowing blond hair in a translucent white robe with glistning tears in her eyes, listening to each painful click-click of the cog as she turns the wheel on The Rack?)
Ah, the Angel of Light is so beautiful in his lies.
We are just a hair's breath away from this kind of Christian Public Policy in our Churches and our Nation. It has happened before, nothing is there to prevent it from happening again. Nothing, but true Agape, sloppy as it may seem..
At least Franken can be funny. Franken and Michele Malkin would be a good hook-up!