The Fierce Charge of a Sam-wise Farmboy

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.

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4 Responses to The Fierce Charge of a Sam-wise Farmboy

  1. thewhitechrist says:

    Bravo! You have stated the other side of the coin I have with the ‘dissecting disputants’ of either side of Filioquism; that is, the Calvinists, or the Thomists.They both dissect God ( to varying degrees) and then call the other disrespectful of YHWH’s Person, not realizing they are just doing the same thing.

    I like Cambria’s posts, in which he talks about the ‘magic’ and the ‘wonder’ that I have striven to maintain in my view of the world, as I have gotten older. I marvel at the wisdom of my children,when they are MOST being children, and pray that I do not stifle their sense of wonder and what Lewis called ‘joy’ when they hit adolescence (coming up fast)

    You do what is necessary, and you do what is right, simply BECAUSE it is necessary and right. That is why I love reading the Reformers, and then (as needed corrective) to read the Mystic theologians of Holy Orthodoxy. And I think that Christendom (just like the Church) needs both the analytical and the mystic.
    Something that the die-hard Byzantines, nor the dry as dust Calvinists care to hear.

    But some do, and they applaud this post. Fight on, Soldier of the King!

  2. shotgunwildatheart says:

    Wow! Thank you for that great encouragement.

    I’ve been meaning to talk with you; I’ve been approached by some “Orthodox” folk to join their congregation and as I am, at present, un-churched, I’ve been considering it (with all the obvious considerations of a naive protestant.)

    One thing that bothered me was the man’s insistence that the church was no longer ethnically-based. They follow the Russian liturgy, apparently, but he was adamant to communicate to me the egalitarian nature of the congregation: “We accept all Americans.”

    I mentioned that I was a fan of Father Raphael Johnson (the Orthodox Nationalist) and his eyes glazed over. I’m not sure that either of the gentlemen I was talking with were familiar with him, though I told them that he was “controversial.” I didn’t want to mention you at all, (I’m certainly sorry that society is in such a sad state that your blogs are not more readily accepted and cannot be freely discussed).

    At any-rate, I was wondering if you knew St. George’s Orthodox Church in Edenton NC?

  3. Emily says:

    “No, what I despise is the dissection of the body of Christ on the autopsy table of science. I hate the popular practice of discussing God as if he were nothing but a system –a suspended and (at times) convenient explanatory mechanism for human experience.”

    By this, are you referring to the deep theological discussions that involve a lot of name-dropping and technical terms and tendencies towards snobbery? Could you elaborate more on what you see as problematic in theological discussions?

  4. shotgunwildatheart says:

    Hey Emily, thanks for reading my ramblings.

    To answer your question:

    I think you’ve noted a few of the symptoms of the underlying sickness I’m trying to avoid. Snobbery! Yes! (It’s not the uttering of terms in a social context that disturbs me, but rather the underlying dispositions of those involved in the discussion.)

    Our heart *knows* first, before our mind is able to build a conceptual scheme, and even then, it will only build an imperfect and fallen one. Best not to depend upon the scheme religiously, then.

    Have you ever needed a friend, though got an apologist instead?


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