Ah, But It Is a Story

So last night thirty-three couples, of all makes and models, were married at the Grammys. This solemnified high indignity was performed by Queen Latifah, while being serenaded with “Same Love” by Macklemore and Madonna. Talk about a class event! It was almost as good as getting married by Dr. Phil on Oprah because “all the couples are entitled to the same exact thing,” which is to say, schlock in excelsis. They all have a constitutional right to be treated in exactly the same way, i.e. as dupes and buffoons who agreed to be stage props in Tarantino’s production of Faust.

And in the meantime, those Christians still besotted by our contemporary sintertainment standards are not going to reflect on how compromised they all are until next year, when the Grammys will have John the Baptist’s head brought out on a platter. And even then, there will be no little debate about it, because some of our more illustrious cultural thinkers will no doubt point out that John’s somewhat direct method of approaching Herod left something to be desired. It was not — let us be frank — an invitation to mutually constructive dialog. It ended badly, to be sure, and John did have such promising gifts and so it grieves us to say that, at least in part, he brought it upon himself. What’s next on the program? Why, it is the callipygian Beyoncé, which means no little booty shakin’, and perhaps we might be able to stay for a little more cultural engagement. Some people’s idea of cultural engagement is praying for a wardrobe malfunction.

Speaking of cultural engagement, it is worthwhile to remind everybody that the serpent was the craftiest of all the critters. And because this is just the cultural moment when we all should be reading the story, the prince of the power of the airwaves has arranged for a bunch of epistemological ne’er-do-wells to go big in for story. They are crazy about story. And so we have English professors from third-rate Christian colleges, aficionados of the hard-R, stroking their chins over the brutal honesty they routinely see on the screen. It is only later that they stroke something else. And so we have Miley-haired downstream-floaters, talking about the narratival arc of the latest carnival freak show on HBO. And so we have deeply concerned students of sexual ethics learning everything they know about it from Macklemore. If I were a rapper, I would write a song about him with the phrases spackle more and tackle more in it. And if I won an ironic Grammy for my efforts, I would cackle more.

This too is part of the strategy, which is to create disincentives for anyone who actually is capable of reading the story we are in. If we start talking about “reading the story,” somebody is going to think we are like them, which would be intolerable. Right, but read that part of the story too.

If this were a movie, if this actually were a story, it would be the moment when Odysseus was limbering up his bow. If this were a story, we would be in the banqueting hall of NICE in That Hideous Strength, and Jules has just gotten up to speak. If this were a story, the Levites have all just strapped on their swords so that Moses could send them in to chaperone the rave. If this were a story, it is the night of the great pirate orgy, the night before Port Royal fell into the sea. If this were a story, we would see Lot’s front porch just crammed full of community activists, some of them standing on the rail, looking for some new community action. If this were a movie, the music just turned ominous, and I am staring at the screen wondering what window the divine retribution is going to come through. If this were a story.

Ah, but it is a story.

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nocable
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nocable

There’s way too much to keep track of out there. About the only TV I see is public and old westerns. Anybody see American Masters–JD Salinger last week? Pop TV has long been mostly garbage anyway.

Ben Bowman
Guest

You might even say it’s “the” story. 

Robert
Guest
Robert

You forgot about the earthquake. Last time this story played out in the world, the only elements missing were the semi legitimized pedophilia and the Austrian with the Charlie Chaplin moustache.

Katie
Guest
Katie

It’s a rum do, if you ask me. The rummest do.

Jane
Member

I think we know now what Jules meant by “oholibate.”

Katie
Guest
Katie

^^ Bravo, Jane.

Mr. Fosi
Guest
Mr. Fosi

Eh? Blotcher bulldoo?

SL
Guest
SL

This is why we use nothing but an antenna for TV.  As far as this story, I would’ve enjoyed it a lot more, and actually understood it better, if I didn’t have get my dictionary and read it three times.  What does “schlock in excelsis” mean anyway?  And “callipygian”?  C’mon.  A good writer becomes a great writer when his reader can understand an article after reading it just once.

Davd
Guest
Davd

So are we called to rot in Sodom, prayerfully beseeching our gracious Lord to change hearts or diaspore to more sensible environs?

prayersofadoration
Member

Amen but I still think Breaking Bad is great art, or nearly great.  Maybe as great as the medium is capable of.

Anthony B.
Guest

Yeah, the Grammys were terrible in many respects. This in interesting. Doug, said, “They are crazy about story. And so we have English professors from third-rate Christian colleges, aficionados of the hard-R, stroking their chins over the brutal honesty they routinely see on the screen. It is only later that they stroke something else.” Is this in response to Alissa Wilkinson’s piece at Christianity Today regarding why they review R-rated movies? If so, that would mean you’re saying The King’s College is a “third-rate Christian college.” Right? If not, could you clarify exactly who these English professors are and what colleges you… Read more »

Darius T
Guest
Darius T

Amen, Rob.  Couldn’t agree more… Breaking Bad is one of the few “modern” shows that this morally-confused world needs to see AND, more importantly, understand.  

ArwenB
Guest
ArwenB

SL said “What does “schlock in excelsis” mean anyway?  And “callipygian”?”

Schlock – noun: Something cheap, shoddy or inferior. <i>in excelsis</i> – Latin prepositional phrase: Enligsh meaning “in the highest”, cf. the refrain of the Christian hymn “Angels we have heard on high”. Callipygian – adjective: having well-shaped buttocks.

…..

There. I have now saved you the whole <i>minute and a half</i> it would have taken you to pull up a dictionary and/or run a Google search. You may now cease complaining that you do not understand the things that you have put forth no effort to understand.

Matt
Guest
Matt

Herod had babies openly slaughtered.  We have to contend today with phony marriages and underdressed pop stars.  The reason no one is fighting your war is because the potatoes have never been smaller.  It can be frustrating to not control the culture, but it’s something everyone has to live with.

Katie
Guest
Katie

We could talk about babies being openly slaughtered.

Stephen
Guest
Stephen

Matt,
Herod didn’t have over 55 million babies openly slaughtered, which is one of the “boasts” of our culture today.  This “war” of which you speak is far more encompassing than a few “phony marriages” as you say. The public glorification of the phony marriages and underdressed skanky stars are just more manifest symptoms of the rot in a culture that DOES kill over 55 million babies.

Mac
Guest

I can easily picture Pastor Wilson in a Bulls cap with a gold medallion engraved with the words “Lil Rev Wilz,” “LL P. Dubs,” “D-Wilz” or something of that ilk. 

Scott
Guest
Scott

I consider myself to be at least average intelligence and fairly well read but I had absolutely no idea what your were attempting to communicate with this post.  I’m willing to concede that maybe it’s just me. 

timothy
Guest
timothy

If this were a story, we would be in the banqueting hall of NICE in That Hideous Strength, and Jules has just gotten up to speak.
 


 
 

The State of the Union speech is tomorrow night; one can hope. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Charles
Guest
Charles

I usually don’t comment but I have to after Matt’s comment. Herod had babies slaughtered to try and stave off the coming Christ. We in our day and age slaughter babies so that people can stave off responsibility. These potatoes, as you call them,  are baked into the same rotten pie. I don’t believe Doug is  saying that these are the great evils of our time. He’s pointing out that these are signs of the times we’re in.  And the times are evil. 

Jeff
Guest

There was one small ‘John the Baptist’ attempt at the State of Confusion speech a couple of years ago. Was it Joe Wilson who called out, “You lie!” He was promptly handed his head on a platter.
And I don’t mind a few phrases or a word or two with which I am unfamiliar. I find it stretches and expands me. Gosh, I read the sermons of the Puritans and feel like I have a third grade education.
An

mikebull1
Member

As it was in the days of Noah, stay faithful because your vindication will come in torrents.

cameron
Guest
cameron

Right but Hag, Willie, and Kristofferson could not be beat.

Matt
Guest
Matt

Abortion would be a good comparison, if abortion entailed the government forcing women to have them.  As it is, the only thing that is required for abortion to completely disappear from America is for women to stop having abortions.  And if that happened, no godless liberal would shed a tear.  Of course, abortion existed in Herod’s day as well, but merited no protests from anyone in the Bible.  This is not to say they liked abortion, but rather that the enormity of Herod’s crime was evidently a good deal greater. — If Grammy shenanigans are a sign of our times,… Read more »

Rob
Guest
Rob

Actually, the world has never been less morally confused. When anyone can exercise their Constitutional and moral right to marry a consenting adult of their choice without the intervention of backwater-thinking state governments, it won’t need to be on the Grammys or anywhere else. May that day come quickly, and obviate nonsense blog posts such as these.

philwynk
Guest

It’s not quite so bad as you think. Just because a bunch of entertainment geeks celebrated their unmolested (oops, ironic pun) control of TV content in this manner does not mean that the culture is ready to follow. A decent-sized Move of God ™ could not only make such displays irrelevant virtually overnight, but render their entire monopoly irrelevant, too.

And I’m expecting just that sort of move. After all, God is not one to end a nation when it would be simple to redeem it…

carole
Guest
carole

I think, Matt, that you might find a few tears shed when the 542 million dollars received from taxpayers was cut off.  When the posters that line the halls of high schools encouraging minors to get abortions without parental knowledge had to be taken down, when the employees of this huge business lost their jobs   etc, etc etc, yes, actually, I think you in fact might find some God hating liberals shedding  a few tears about their financial losses.

melody
Member
melody

And for the last 40 + years we didn’t see this coming?
 

melody
Member
melody

But wait! I remember many folks just 10 – 15 short years ago confidently stating (about homosexual marriage) “Oh, they will never do that!…” As today it is said about legalizing pediphoilia, “Oh, they will never do that!…”

Matt Troupe
Guest
Matt Troupe

It is a story and its pretty foul. And mixed with all our churning for judgment, it should also be the part of the story where christians remember that this freak show used to be us, and we would be worse without the grace of God.  And that the same grace which saved us is powerful to save them.  And that Jesus came into the world not for the righteous but to call sinners to repentance.   That is a great point in the story to have confidence in the good news.

Eric Stampher
Guest
Eric Stampher

I’m grateful our king bee postmillenial Doug doesn’t soften these prophetic explosions against how things go at the moment.  I mean, I know he expects an eventual turn around — and that “we’ll” get vindication at a later day here and now; but you gotta respect how he calls a spade a spade even when it shows our particular set in the match seems lost.

Tim Etherington
Guest

Enlightened Rob, please define “marriage” and give suitable, historical context.

Robert
Guest
Robert

Back when the men of Sodom came to Lot, they didn’t get into his house to do evil. The Grammys got into a lot of homes to do their evil. That was the whole purpose of the exercise. 

Scott Simmons
Guest
Scott Simmons

It was only a story for those who watched. How many chose not to watch? There is a story in the choice as well. Callipygian is an interesting comment .

Robert
Guest
Robert

In two weeks Scott, there will be a corporate, international statement about America’s sexuality at the Olympics when our delegation is lead by a homosexual. Whether an idivdual refuses to watch is irrelevant to the public, corporate statement that will be made.

John McNeely
Guest
John McNeely

I agree with you pointing out our impending judgment based on the state endorsed sexual perversion. However, I recently finished reading through all the prophets and noticed the majority of what God cites for his reasons for pouring judgement on Israel was their treatment of the poor. A phrase that stood out to me while reading through  this portion of scripture was, ‘you traded the poor for sandals”. It got me thinking are we in America trading the poor so we can enjoy cheap goods? Who makes our shoes and are we guilty as the Israelites were in this area?… Read more »

Eric F. Langborgh
Guest
Eric F. Langborgh

I appreciate Mr. McNeely’s heart, but we really need to rid the church of such ignorance of basic economics and the unwillingness to look at all the facts on the ground. Every time a western corporation opens a factory in a poor area of the world, many thousands more of the area’s people line up to apply for a job than there are jobs available. But those are jobs that weren’t there before. Moreover, the reason they line up is because both the pay and work conditions are so much better than the alternatives available. Western liberals compare wages there to American… Read more »

Anthony Bradley
Guest
Anthony Bradley

Ok, thanks Doug. We were wondering over here. Thanks for the clarification. Carry on!!

Job
Guest
Job

John M., our nation’s sexual ethic directly affects the poor. Promiscuity, divorce, and illegitimacy are leading factors in crime. There is a clear connection between father involvement and child success. Fatherless sons are much likelier to become criminals or layabouts than boys with fathers present. Single moms largely depend on the state as a surrogate husband. This squanders America’s generationally-accumulated wealth. I understand your concern for the world’s working poor, but the issue is not simply that rich Westerners benefit at the expense of third-worlders, rather that labor is a lot cheaper in developing parts of the world and regulations… Read more »

Robert
Guest
Robert

Work  in and of itself is not a blessing if the employer is tyrannical.  Does the employer require the people to work on Sabbath for example. Does the employer care if the managers are sexually abusing the women or children? (happens in some of these factories). Economics is not a savior.

Bill
Guest
Bill

It is sad that heterosexuals have such a capacity to disrespect marriage, and the marriages of others, in such a public, degrading way.
My intuition tells me that if heterosexuals are able to put their finger on the pulse of that character flaw, they might find greater happiness and success in their own marriages and family life.
But to degrade the marriages of others is a low to which only the immoral could sink.

Robert
Guest
Robert

The standard of living is high enough in China that many multinationals have switched their labor to other countries. I bet half of your clothing is made in Bangladesh.  Oh, to many corporations, all safety regulations are considered onerous. Buying fire extinguishers is an expense.

Eric F. Langborgh
Guest
Eric F. Langborgh

“Economics is not a savior.”

Never said it was, but that is a separate issue. (There is only one Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Salvation comes from the proclamation of the Gospel.  Though I would argue that where commerce opens up, avenues for more missionary work open more, as well.)
Free trade is better than the alternative. And caring for the material well-being of our fellow man, made in the image of our incarnate God, is certainly one of our callings as Christians. Bad economics undermines and defeats that calling. 
IOW, these aren’t mutually opposed callings. One doesn’t invalidate or make unnecessary the other.

Eric F. Langborgh
Guest
Eric F. Langborgh

“to many corporations, all safety regulations are considered onerous. Buying fire extinguishers is an expense.”

Everything requires cost-benefit analysis, sure. But having factories burn down and having to replace trained workers is bad business. Why do Western liberals think they know so much better what is best for people then the people who line up for these jobs? That’s arrogance. If a job isn’t better  in terms of wages, benefits, etc. than the alternative, they would take the alternative. As free trade and commerce take hold, so will wages and benefit increase, as workers become more productive and competition takes hold.

Scott Simmons
Guest
Scott Simmons

Robert, I would submit that a public corporate statement made in a vacuum is irrelevant. A message with no audience fades with the wind it is carried on.

John McNeely
Guest
John McNeely

Thanks to everyone for the responses, To Eric, I am not ignorant of the reality of third world economics, nor am I advocating a particular economic model. Your argument that the alternative is worst does not really address the issue and is similar to the blood thirsty liberal’s argument supporting abortion. They argue that women using coat hangers and children being born in an unwanted environment is a worst alternative than “safe abortion”. They are wrong.  When America had its industrial revolution millions of people came here with the hope of opportunity only to be caught in a system of industrial slavery. Consider… Read more »

Robert
Guest
Robert

I was just perusing a book last night on the Triangle Shirtwaiste Fire. This was the event in which socialism got its first foot in the door due to a fire in Manhattan a little over a hundred years ago, where over a hundred immigrant women and girls died in a factory fire that had all of the exits blocked.  I noticed that no one has addressed the sabbath issue.

Patrick
Guest
Patrick

Once again, like your post on millenials, an exercise in hand-wringing without any wisdom on how to proceed/live/interact with our neighbors in a Christlike manner as a result.  Stop complaining, Doug, and actually provide some constructive solutions/guidance

Eric F. Langborgh
Guest
Eric F. Langborgh

John, I deny your premise. I deny that it is our job to insist on standard in operation here much be imposed elsewhere.  We are much more productive here. Better educated. For the most part, better work ethic. More consistent rule of law.  You want to force through stages of development as if that could be done. That alternative is nothing. The business leaves. The people are left without the work they flocked in huge numbers to get.  I think it is inhumane to deny them that opportunity because of an arbitrary standard.  I would rather they have the opportunity and, just as… Read more »