January 23, 2012

Life and a Mystic

"Let no one despise your youth." - 1 Tim 4:12
From here:
In sad commemoration of the 1973 Supreme Court decision that paved the way for legalized abortion, the church in the United States has designated today as a day of penance and prayer...It’s interesting to note that the church is calling all of us to repent, not just those who have been directly involved in abortions. It’s a call for all of us to examine our consciences to see how we have contributed to a culture that does not value the dig­nity of every human person.
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The Anchoress below reports on a new Bottum amazon.com single on Tim Tebow. Tebow's "drunkenness on charity" reminds me of Heather King's recent piece on how the rules are not the point of it all. From the Anchoress:
Joseph Bottum, who made a big hit with his Christmas-themed Amazon Single (a short ebook) Dakota Christmas, has published another one, this time on Tebow: The Gospel According to Tim:
Believe in him, I mean: believe that he’s for real. The young man is drunk on charity, in the same way he’s drunk on the endorphins that race through his body during his strenuous daily workouts. In the same way he’s drunk on the excitement of winning and losing football games before roaring crowds. In the same way he’s drunk on what the medieval mystics used to call “the gift of tears,” weeping easily and often. In the same way he’s drunk on his constant conversation with the Lord, referring all his victories and all his losses up to heaven.

Tim Tebow isn’t a Christian theologian. He’s a Christian mystic–intoxicated, as all mystics are, with God. He’s King David, dancing in the joy of his youth before the Ark of the Covenant. There is a theology, certainly, implicit in the prayers Tebow says, the hymns he sings, and the witnessing he performs. But whether he’s able to make it explicit or not, he rarely does. He expects, instead, his sheer fervorous presence and ecstatic deeds–the drunken joy he takes in it all–to do the work for him. He has showed you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
More from Bottum:
There’s another reason that younger evangelicals like Tebow have elevated an ethical verse with Micah 6:8, and it has to do with their terror of the charge of hypocrisy. An irony — aargghh — dwells here, too, for the Bible is what taught Western Civilization the great complaint against hypocrisy, from Ezekiel 33:31 (“they hear what you say but they will not do it; for with their lips they show much love, but their heart is set on their gain”) to Matthew 23:23–24 (“You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel”). But the narrative of attack upon Christians in our time is fundamentally a story of hypocrisy; reporters know, in fact, almost no other way to tell morality tales. Only with an almost pharisaical adherence to ethical standards — another irony, in a Protestantism that thought it was breaking away from Catholic law to a belief in salvation by faith alone — can evangelicals today combat the always looming accusation that any lapse will reveal them as hypocrites. And combat it, they must, for even if they hold the firmest of theological views of salvation by faith alone, the great barrier they experience in those to whom they preach is the narrative of believers as frauds: every Christian either a hypocrite already revealed or a hypocrite waiting to happen.

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