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Volume 15, Issue 4: Sharpening Iron

From Us:

Fall can't ever sneak up. At least not on anything with a sense Fall can never sneak up. At least not on anything with a sense of smell. An oven baking bread could never sneak up either. Unless it was downwind. And Fall is never downwind.

Fall always gets ahead of itself. It shows up in your nose before it is ever on your cheeks. The sun seems almost brighter than the Summer's and is somehow spending more time in the trees before arriving on the ground. There are more beetles. The hornets are lazy enough to kill with your fingers.
When you wake on a bright Fall morning—a morning that might not actually be Fall, but will smell like it by lunch—there ought to be light messing about on your bedroom wall. You ought to watch leaf shadows toss on some yet-to-be-smelled breeze, and you ought to wonder about the light spots. Why are there light spots? When Fall leaves ride on the backs of Fall breezes and leave their shadows on your wall, why are there round circles of light with smudgy edges? What game are the leaves playing, and how is it done? Aspen leaves or maple, oak or even fir, they all know how to spin the Fall sun round, and smear it in a circle on your wall. A more complex pottery than ours, a simpler school of sculpture. There is no clay. Though it smells of it.


From You:

Dear Editor,
I sit with my son on his fifteenth birthday. He still can't talk. Never has. He can walk. . . with help. Actually, he needs assistance for virtually every task he does, sleeping included.

But I never longed for the resurrection as I have these fifteen years. I am so grateful for that longing. I am so grateful for that hope.

Dave Hatcher
Snohomish, WA

Dear Editor,
What I dig most about C/A is the lack of vague pastor-speak. Nothing but forthright answers and positions from C/A, love 'em or hate 'em. With that, I have a question:

Much of y'all's great material seems to be based on the premise that we live in extraordinarily evil times. I have no argument that we live in the midst of many evils. But I'm curious what makes you confident that these are inordinately evil times? Isn't that a bit of focusing on our moral blind spots (as many as there are), and focusing on the moral triumphs of, say, the Medieval Period? By that I mean, aren't there certain areas where we see with a more clear conscience (racial equality, care for the poor) than the Medievals (or other past generations) did, just as there are many areas where the Medieval saw with a clear conscience that which we suppress? I'm still curious, because many positions supported by C/A seem to hinge on these being extraordinarily evil times. For instance, Volume 9, Issue 5 on abortion: "It is our duty to stand back, with fear and trembling, and watch His terrible judgments."
At times I think y'all's criticism of moderns is a stretch. I can't find it now, but I remember reading an article where y'all (perhaps in passing) compared our dress with that of Medievals, noting favorably that Medievals didn't lounge around in sweats. Of course, most Americans don't really just lounge around in sweats, and if Medievals had I'm not entirely sure that you wouldn't have written: "Unlike we Moderns, those Medievals knew how to relax." Nevertheless, as much as those passing judgments on Moderns sometimes annoy me, I have to admit that it's so hard to criticize C/A on anything more than general (wussified) level. Your critics seem to favor vague, rather than specific, rebuttals. I guess the logic from C/A is usually just too airtight.
Thanks, and keep up the provocative work.

Alex Sims

Houston, TX

Doug Jones replies: Great letter, and we share your skepticism that we live in "extraordinarily evil times." Every generation gives a tiresome version of that claim, and we actually find ourselves exceedingly grateful for the times we live in, relative to others. You're right. Our era does many things better than the medieval, and we've learned many lessons. And God appears to bring terrible judgment in just about every century. I suspect the confusion creeps in through the shorthand often used between "modern era" and "modern ideology." Our main beef is not with the era but with the tedious narrowness of modern values. One can be a modern without being a Modern.

Dear Editor,
A belated thanks for the freebie C/A. It's very stimulating—the Jenkins review in the latest was very helpful.

Since my wife's death in March, there's not much that's funny. You guys are, and I receive that from the Lord. (Trinitarian!)

P. Clair Davis
Philadelphia, PA

Dear Editor,
I have recently read A Serrated Edge by Douglas Wilson and have but one thing to say. More, More, More!

Kimberly Smith
Weatherford, TX

Dear Editor,
Please put me on your mailing list. After my friend Abe got his issue with the Thomas Kinkade/Romance Novel cover, I knew it was useless to resist.

Kristi C. Smith
Nashville, TN

Dear Editor,
I must say, you have the greatest journal of applied theology I know of! Thank you very much for all your articles against feminization of the church, culture, etc. I especially appreciate the article on beer, by Ben Merkle [C/A, 15/2]. Ben can be the next president, in my opinion. Tis true that too many Christians try to earn points where there are none in regards to alcohol.

Karl and Alyssa Hjembo
Virginia Beach, VA

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