No man would find an abiding strangeness on the Moon unless he were the sort of man who could find it in his own back garden. – C. S. Lewis, On Stories.
I’m beginning to despise Calvinism.
Oh, I still believe Christian infants are born into the Covenant. I retain a vague Augustinian metaphysic, and I still respect the Puritans and Reformers. What I despise is the dissection of the body of Christ on the autopsy table of science. I hate discussing God like He’s nothing but a system – a convenient explanatory mechanism for human experience.
God is never convenient…
In this world of shifting ages, aging sages, dramatic doctrines, and hallowed pages…the one truth we find is that no man knows the truth. No one is righteous. There is no one who understands. No one who seeks God. All have turned away and become worthless.
The perceptive Christian knows I’ve just cited Romans. And, being inquisitive (as perceptive Christians are), he will wonder how I’ve been able to determine the truth of Romans 3, if Romans 3 is true?! If it’s true that none of us seek the truth in sincerity, and Romans 3 is the truth, then how could I have read it just now and correctly understood, since even I do not seek the truth?
Well, I don’t want to downplay hermeneutics or the philosophy of perception. I am equally opposed to addressing the various theories of knowledge proposed to surmount such problems. Instead, I’ll note out how appalled I was the Apostle would so ill-charge me!
Despite my miserable attempts at seeking truth, and despite the errors I’ve stumbled into over doctrinal minutiae, God did, at one point in history, become a Man. It is my faith in that man that covers my errors. He’s my father. My merciful king. On that basis alone, I am comforted. No father leaves his child lost.
It is this fierce loyalty to a real being that comprises my Christianity, not all the abstract ideals about the preconditions of human intelligibility. This is what causes the real Christian to act. This is the fuel that stokes the flame of an antique-European. This is the Flame of Anor! We are the guardians of the Sacred Fire of Udul! And Satan SHALL NOT PASS!
But that’s a bit lofty. I grew up working on various farms, picking watermelons, gathering chickens and chucking tomatoes at school-fellows. I don’t have anything more than a vague notion of the good and right. I’ve only just now begun to grasp what Tolkien and Lewis meant by “myth” and only now am I wandering the edges of Faerie-Land.
The term “sam-wise” supposedly means “half-wit. Tolkien could not have chosen a more suitable description for the true hero of the Lord of the Rings saga. The half-wit, bumbling farm-boy, who nevertheless loved the Good in the world. Samwise was an antique-European:
Sam did not wait to wonder what was to be done, or whether he was brave, or loyal, or filled with rage. He sprang forward with a yell, and seized his master’s sword in his left hand. Then he charged. No onslaught more fierce was ever seen in the savage world of beasts…
This is the sort of theologian that I respect.
His is the sort of faith I want to call mine.
God bless the sam-wise European and may he continue his charge so long as the blood endures.