Thursday, May 31, 2012
Tim Challies apologizes for something
I did poorly here and I can see that I need to grow in my ability to critique the ideas in a book even while being kind and loving to its author. There was reason for the shame I felt when I saw that name in my inbox. I had put effort into reading the book and understanding and critiquing it, but no real effort into showing love and respect for the author. I had assumed poor motives and in arrogance and thoughtlessness had squelched useful discussion of the book’s strengths and weaknesses.
I probably didn't even need to tell you what for if you're reading Christian blogs regularly, did I? I found out courtesy of Phoenix Preacher and decided to quote from this little segment. Assuming poor motives and, in arrogance and thoughtlessness, posting something ... that happens. It's been a problem I've often had over the years and I dare suggest it's a spiritual discipline to assume the best about even people you sincerely believe are a bit off.
There's probably no shortage of neo-Reformed types who want any element of the actually erotic removed from spiritual experience even as so many of the most prominent sorts insist that marriage somehow "mirrors" the Trinity. Yet the sexual bond, which would arguably the single most unique element of "oneness" somehow can never be invoked as an analogy for a sense of communion with God. The wedding supper of the Lamb can't progress to the honeymoon in the five star hotel room or anything. Metaphors are limited, as metaphors always will be, but a sheepishness amongst the blogging or preaching neo-Reformed sheep and shepherds about this point suggests that they're loathe to go along with stuff the actual Puritans (as opposed to, it seems, some "neo-Puritans") were okay with.
I'm not saying Challies couldn't have any points but one of his worries about the fusion of erotic imagery and spirituality highlights something about some of the newer Calvinist types that seems odd. Maybe they don't really want to invoke or evoke the husband and wife metaphor nearly as much as they think they want to?
Challies' entry is worth noting briefly because new Calvinist or Reformed bloggers are not really famous for apologies of any sort. We're a lot better at issuing retractions that aren't really retractions and clarifications that explain why we haven't changed our minds or said anything much amiss.
Reminds me of a church I used to go to ... but as Conan O'Brien put it, of course, I'm speaking generally. ;-)