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Volume 17, Issue 2: Sharpening Iron


From Us:

It is possible that we have a negative self image. When we think of our self, we find easy comparisons to creatures like skunks, or slugs, or cat-consuming cougars. We think of our self as a burr, an itch, a rash on the soft white flesh of our corner of the secular world.

But maybe we're not. Maybe we're that fair-complexioned knight. Maybe we have extra-shiny armor and an enormous white horse so bright, so rippling in its muscularity, so flowy in its mane and tail regions, that it could be mistaken for a unicorn. Except it doesn't have a horn.
Maybe our sword is made from glass and rainbows and no dragon skin or zoning code can repel it. The solas are on our shield. Maybe our wife has a droopy white dress and a saggy bejeweled belt, slung on slender hips. Maybe her braid hangs to her thighs.
Or maybe not. We're less prearranged. It seems more likely that we're that creature inside the walls, that creature that once thought it was a mouse and is now too large to be a normal rat. Maybe we eat the cheese and spring the trap. Maybe we consume the DeCon and it only makes us irritable. We eat tunnels in rationalists' show-bread and leave our sign in the flour. We kill the cat and lay our eggs in its body. If we laid eggs. That seems more like us. A sort of pest gone wrong. A rodent underestimated, and now the sheetrock sighs beneath our bulk as we creep through the ceiling at night.
We don't seem like a knight. We seem like an Animal Control problem. Our city passes resolutions. But a pack of like creatures gathers around us, and we run down bicyclists in the predawn. Paper-boys go missing.
Someday we might have armor. But our teeth will always be a five on the Moh's Scale of Hardness. Lace your concrete with glass if you don't want us chewing through.

 

From You:

SMACK
Dear Editor,
Thank you for your continued work smacking me in my evangelical face. Each issue of C/A is a source of great encouragement. Keep up the good work.

Shawn Davies
Greenwood, MO

PERILOUS TIMES
Dear Editor,
"Perilous times?" I don't think so. Our Lord said, "It is finished," and by His power—peace. So it is.

Still they are interesting times and made even more so by your humor and wisdom. It is a rare issue of C/A that doesn't challenge, provoke, and amuse me. Thanks.

Mr. and Mrs. Bruce Eberwein
Joppa, MD

UPS AND DOWNS
Dear Editor,
Thanks for your faithfulness. The issue on "God the Dangerous," "Ironies of Laughter," and "Trinity" were wonderful. The "Pauline Take on the New Perspective" was brilliant.

The "Owning the Curse" article [C/A, 16.2] was so bizarre and wrong on so many points that it was hard to take seriously. The excellent points made in the article and in the issue as a whole were swallowed up in the gross exaggerations and strange conclusions. In your conclusion you said, "we should invert as many contemporary categories as we can." Your article seemed to simply be an exercise in this. It wasn't helpful.
I would give arguments for why I voted for a clarification of my state's constitution on the nature of marriage, and argue that Paul's direction to the Corinthians on dealing with sexual sin was different than the advice you gave. I would also like to say that my father, my pastors and Wilson and Jones have nothing to repent of concerning the sin of homosexuality and don't need to own this particular curse anymore than they need to repent of school shootings and own the death penalty curse, but I'm sure y'all would say I just don't get it; which I happily admit.

Mahaffey
Texarkana, AR

CHEESE AND A P.S.
Dear Editor,
Loved the Cheese. Keep up the good work, men. When my husband hears me laugh out loud he calls, "reading Credenda again, honey?"

Melanie McGuire
Branchburg, NJ

P.S. Rev. Wilson, what do you think of the Reformed Episcopal Church?

Douglas Wilson replies: I think all episcopals should be reformed, but not all reformed should be episcopal.

GOD THE DANGEROUS
Dear Editor,
I thought I would pass on my gratitude for the insightful article "Playing with Knives: God the Dangerous" by Douglas Jones. In my opinion the theological portrayal was radical by today's standards but unquestionably consistent with the God of the Bible. "God the Dangerous" is not likely a theme that will play well in many evangelical crowds but for this evangelical it was a faith deepening reflection.

Thank you for the good work.

William Shurtliff
Ann Arbor, MI

SEND IT ANYWAY
Dear Editor,
Please continue to send us C/A, though I don't understand all of it. I grew up around the sense of humor often employed therein but did not inherit it, as did my brothers. Is it a guy thing? (However, Mrs. Wilson's articles really speak to me and are very relevant and incisive; I read them first, and they're worth the price of admission all by themselves.)

H. True
Spokane, WA

LIKE IT
Dear Editor,
Much thanks for your thought-provoking magazine. I enjoy every issue. Your homosexual issue was especially on target. The best article of the year was Douglas Jones' "God the Dangerous." I have re-read it numerous times and keep trying to move it off my nightstand to the C/A files in my bookshelf, but then I find myself reading it again. I had never thought of the differences between Job and Abraham in that way, nor of God's character in some of the ways mentioned. The section on tension and the Trinity was quite helpful.

Meril Stanton
Crestview, FL

MUTUAL FAULT
Dear Editor,
I have the unfortunate quality of a sense of humor on many matters relating to the present dreadful condition of the Evangelical movement. For that reason I find C/A a great publication.

Joseph Canfield
Weaverville, NC

HE'S A LUTHERAN
Dear Editor,
Though I disagree with some things you've written of late, your publication always provokes thought, challenges to obedience, and encourages this Lutheran believer in the faith.

Alex Ihde
Eldersburg, MD

HMM
Dear Editor,
We noticed that the midsection of your front page on the website demands, "Send a letter." So we are sending the letter "Q." Since no one really knows what to do with it, we thought, maybe you guys can fix it.

We must warn you that this letter is very needy. It will do nothing at all, except in the presence of a "u."
Our analysis reveals that it is quite monogamous. The word "quail," for instance, could easily have begun with "qw." But, no. Q will only join in a useful diphthong [sic] with u. Other vowels are right out.
We cannot prove it, but we have theorized that this letter was developed by the same government bureau that invented the catsup packet. One packet, as everyone knows, is never enough to actually accomplish anything—unless, of course, you are down to your last three french fries.
In any case, here is your letter: Q. Good Luq.

Us
Livermore, CA

I'M LEAVING YOU GOONS
Dear Editor,
I currently receive your publication and would like to have my name removed from your mailing list. There
was a time when there were some edifying articles in it but, sadly, those days are long gone.

I could receive as much Biblical edification from reading Mad Magazine if I had the time.

Don Pastor
Adams Center, NY

REAL POETS
Dear Editor,
If you guys were real poets you'd have remained silent on cheese.

Matt McCabe
Toronto, Canadio

BRAVO
Dear Editor,
Mr. Wilson's article, "Congregations and Plays" piqued my interest. It pressed, as it were, the rewind button in my mind, engendering the responses: "Hey, I know that guy!" "Oh wow, I've been that guy," and "Uh-oh. Pastor Wilson has one of those guys in his church?" But then, after a few moments of pondering, it occured to me that the biblical cast has such an extensive list that even the most diverse churches in our day cannot hope to comprehend its scope. For instance, there is "the guy who falls asleep during the sermon, plunges out the window, and winds up mostly dead." Then there's the "pretentious real-estate donating couple killed by the pastoral staff." And finally, we have the "quasi-indestructible, itinerant Presbyterian minister with dual citizenship, absolutely perfect doctrine and outrageous medical bills."

All humor aside, the article was both insightful and practical. It was even entertaining. Be assured that Canadian confessionalists everywhere will hate you for this. Well done.

Christopher Brown
Sierra San Pedro

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