Leithart blogs on the subject of a biblical view of obscenity. Meanwhile, the brouhaha on the Warfield list that started all of this has only just died down. The discussion has made interesting reading and generally reveals an apparent inability to draw the most commonsensical of distinctions. In the process of the discussion Leithart has been called a ‘weirdo’ and ‘an overeducated prurient pig’. The FV has been labelled ‘antithetical to piety’ by fine gentlemen on the list, staunch defenders of the Decalogue’s rule over our speech that they are. Along with Mark Horne I have been accused of ‘glorying the use of the obscenity’ and been described as ‘chronologically immature’; people have shuddered over the spiritual state of any offspring that I (and those who share my views on this matter) might have in the future.
Fortunately, a few of the posters in the thread were able to speak a measure of sense and give some perspective on the issues. One post in particular attempted to rescue the ailing thread by injecting it with a large dose of reason. Unfortunately the transfusion was rejected and the thread finally perished in a pool of its own nonsense sometime last night.
In Reformed churches, the suppression of Lent has been simultaneous with the suppression of Carnival and other seasons of playful joy. Suppression of Lent did not produce perpetual Easter; it produced a perpetual Lent.
I’m not suggesting a direct cause-and-effect. But I am suggesting that there is wisdom in setting aside a specific period for mourning, self-examination, and fasting. We acknowledge Lent in the same way and for the same reason we have a time of Confession at the beginning of each worship service. There is a time for lament over sins; there is a time for mourning our own depravity. But lament and mourning ought not choke out rejoicing in the goodness of God.
When the Lenten spirit is not given its due, it has threatened to engulf the whole year. The Lenten spirit is part of the church’s life, and if we don’t wear ashes and purple for forty days, we might well end up wearing them for 365.
Leithart blogged some helpful thoughts on Lent three years ago that are worth remembering as we get ready for the season.
***‘How Not to Talk to Your Kids: The Inverse Power of Praise’ [HT: Paul Baxter and Mark Horne]. Very perceptive article.
***Kim Fabricius’ Ten Propositions series continues with ‘Ten Propositions on Theodicy’. Whilst I often don’t see eye to eye with Kim’s propositions, they are always thought-provoking. The fact that they are so succinct and to the point is an added bonus.
***I wonder if John Frum (whoever he is) put this on his CV. Cargo cults must be some of the weirdest forms of religion out there.
***Douglas Knight summarizes some of the issues addressed by Oliver O’Donovan’s recent series of web sermons. If you haven’t read O’Donovan’s sermons already, I would recommend that you do. Whatever your position on the issues that he addresses, O’Donovan always makes for stimulating and thought-provoking reading. He is also very cool-headed and even-handed in conversations that are commonly undermined by the failure of the various parties involved to hold the strong feelings that the issues arouse in them in check.
Update: Leithart blogs on Modern Sex-Speak