Reverent Minds and Irreverent Conclusions

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“One might have hoped that, with so gracious a creature as wine, even the most ardent religionists and secularists would have made an exception to their universal custom of missing the point of things . . . Consider first the teetotalers . . . Something underhanded has to be done to grape juice to keep it from running its appointed course. Witness the teetotaling communion service . . . Do they seriously envision St. Paul or Calvin or Luther opening bottles of Welch’s Grape Juice in the sacristy before the service? . . . One of the most fanciful pieces of exegesis I ever read began by maintaining that the Greek word for wine, as used in the Gospels, meant many other things than wine. The commentator cited, as I recall, grape juice for one meaning, and raisin paste for another. He inclined, ultimately, toward the latter. I suppose such people are blessed with reverent minds which prevent them from drawing irreverent conclusions. I myself, however, could never resist the tempation to read raisin paste for wine in the story of the Miracle of Cana . . . Does it not whet your appetite for the critical opera omnia of such an author, where he will freely have at the length and breadth of Scripture? Can you not see his promised land flowing with peanut butter and jelly; his apocalypse, in which the great whore Babylon is given the cup of the ginger ale of the fierceness of the wrath of God? (Robert Farrar Capon, The Supper of the Lamb, pp. 89-90).

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