Saturday, March 11, 2017
Image: A view inside Clover Creek Presbyterian Church meeting house (Bull Pasture Road, Highland County, Virginia) while under renovation in 2016.
A follow up to yesterday’s post on “Living the Good Life” (Ecclesiastes 9:7). Would it be over-reach to suggest a sacramental take on this verse? “Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart.” Would this work as a passage read before the Lord’s Supper? Does living the good life ultimately have to do with enjoying communion with Christ and with his people? Do some Christians lack joy and contentment because they do not avail themselves of this ordinary means of grace?
Polish writer Adam Zagajewski, in his essay collection A Defense of Ardor (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2004), has an interesting description of momentary human experiences of joy:
Origen thought that those who have been fully initiated into a religion’s substance come to live in a spirit of eternal joy, an unending holiday. Only novices, he said, require the labored cheerleading of official church holidays! It is very clear that we who live today are not among the initiates; our holidays last only moments (p. 35).
In “An Elegy for the Canon,” the introduction to Harold Bloom’s The Western Canon: The Books and Schools of the Ages (Riverhead Books, 1994), Bloom cites Oscar Wilde’s statement that “all bad poetry is sincere.” He adds: “Had I the power to do so, I would command that these words be engraved above every gate, at every university, so that each student might ponder the splendor of the insight.” He then refers to Maya Angelou’s poem at Clinton’s inaugural, adding “its sincerity is indeed overwhelming” (p. 16).
I went to see a friend’s child in a production of Godspell, Junior last night. I enjoyed seeing this young man sing and act, and the play does provide testimony to the enduring power of Jesus as a memorable teacher and teller of parables. Obviously, however, I can’t watch anything, especially something on this topic, without evaluating it theologically. The problems with Godspell:
Jesus depicted by an actor (second commandment violation);
Christianity presented as moralism;
Patripassionism (in the song, “Oh God, I’m bleeding”);
A resurrection without resurrection appearances (something like those who would end Mark at 16:8).
A friend of mine got a new, nifty looking leather briefcase, as a gift from his sons. Another friend saw it and asked, “Is that a Saddleback?” Turns out it was or is. Till then I had not heard of the Saddleback Leather Company. Their motto: “They’ll fight over it when you’re dead.” There has to be a sermon illustration on mortality somewhere in that motto.