And Not Just the Fuchsia Slippers Either

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Do you want to know what is wrong with Christian cultural engagement? I’ll tell you what’s wrong with it. Are you sure you want to know? I do have a view on this. The problem with Christian cultural engagement is that it is gayer than the organists’ slippers down at Barry Manilow Presbyterian. That’s what’s wrong with it.

And by gay I do not mean homosexual. The worst kind of gay is that which is technically heterosexual. By gay I mean that peculiar kind of relativism that refuses to make crucial distinctions, that kicks against acknowledging bedrock differences, that smudges every thick black line it encounters, and that in fits of decadent pique makes any given triviality the hinge upon which everything else must turn. By gay I mean the effeminate softness of the contemporary church. This malady is not something we are fighting to keep out of the church. This was something we developed, and it is something we actually export. We beta-tested it in the church, and then we shipped it.

“But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: Thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness; Then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation” (Deut. 32:15).

“For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them” (Matt. 13:15; Acts 28:27).

Waxen fat. Grown thick. Covered with fat. Waxed gross. Dull of hearing. Eyes closed up. Countless preachers ascend to their places to preach to the saints of God every week, and when they commence all we can hear are vague muffled noises because they are preaching with a paper bag over their heads.

We emphasize liturgy so that we can learn that symbols matter, and we emphasize it so that we will come to think that the symbolism of tattoos and nose rings doesn’t matter.

We talk about how bodies are so incarnational and that bodies matter. Doctrine should involve much more than “head knowledge,” and therefore we want to maintain that women should be preachers because bodies don’t matter.

We are the enlightened ones, and think we have figured out how to suck and blow at the same time. Over the last couple of centuries, so many institutions, churches, seminaries, publishing houses, grad schools, colleges, magazines, and so on have gone liberal that you would think that we would know what it looks like by now.

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Andy Kaiyala
Andy Kaiyala
4 years ago

And every time another goes liberal they stock the enemies arsenal further with impudent bombs to diffuse and say, “See. Not much to worry about here”.

jillybean
jillybean
4 years ago

Fuchsia, dear Pastor Wilson. Think of the physicist Klaus Fuchs–for whom neither the color nor the flower was named–and add an ia.

Indigo
Indigo
4 years ago
Reply to  Douglas Wilson

Oh, since you’re in fix mode, “Retreat to Commitment” begins with the phrase, ‘I begin by nothing something.’ Not wanting to be one of those commenters, I’ve been waiting for someone else to jump up and down about it… but it’s time to resign myself to being annoying.

jillybean
jillybean
4 years ago
Reply to  Indigo

I think that “I begin by nothing something” has a nice existential ring to it.

Tim Paul
Tim Paul
4 years ago
Reply to  jillybean

Went over some heads

Dunsworth
Dunsworth
4 years ago
Reply to  jillybean

Or nihilistic?

jillybean
jillybean
4 years ago
Reply to  Dunsworth

Sartre or Nietzsche, it’s all the same dreary rubbish to me.

Dunsworth
Dunsworth
4 years ago
Reply to  jillybean

Next you’ll be expecting people to pronounce fuchsia and Dachshund correctly! (Easier for those of us who have studied German.)

Just checked it out — fuchsia was named for a different guy named Fuchs, as I suspected. It takes its name from botanist Leonhard Fuchs. (That’s layon-heart, not lennerd.)

ME
ME
4 years ago

Are you saying the pastor down the road should not have run off with another man, and the Catholic social event of the year should not have been a mock ordination of female priests?

Somewhat funny, if you chose to speak up about any of these things, suddenly “the contemporary church” isn’t quite a soft as it first appears.

lloyd
4 years ago

But we can still read 50 shades of grey to help our marriages, right?

Matt
Matt
4 years ago

Don’t they do those things because they’re trying to convince people to come to church? I mean, it doesn’t really work, but otherwise no one even kinda gives a damn.

ashv
ashv
4 years ago

The pressing doctrinal question of our age: “Do you even lift, bro?”

Jonathan
Jonathan
4 years ago

In my experience, the conservative churches I’ve been a part of have been just as soft as the liberal churches. Both conservative pastors and liberal pastors tend to do everything possible to avoid threatening their congregants to change those things which they most don’t want to change about themselves. Instead, they rail against the sins that the “other” side struggles most with, and help their congregations to feel smugly self-righteous and superior in, “We give the hard truths and aren’t lame like them.” Always happens to be hard truths more obviously applicable to the “other”, of course. While very carefully… Read more »

jillybean
jillybean
4 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan

In my own experience with Catholic and Episcopalian sermons, it is unusual for the pastor to address individual, as opposed to corporate, sins. A hard-hitting homily on one of the seven deadlies would be a novelty. When was the last time you heard a sermon warning you against the sin of sloth or of spiritual pride?

PerfectHold
PerfectHold
4 years ago

“preachers ascend to their places”

Used to be, preachers’ places were more DOWN at the individual & family level.

Instead of up, where they can hide in plain sight.