Pooh’s Think

… with comments

Imprecation, Vulnerability, & the Hebraic Psalms, Part 2

I received the following via email yesterday. Believe it or not, this is actually a big step in the right direction. Notice that this Wilson defender actually links to my post, quotes the appropriate text, and furthers something that could be charitably construed as an argument. This is the sort of behavior that I have been unable to procure from my pastor, elders, friends, and general kirk apologists for over a year now. One exception would be Chris Witmer’s recent attempt to rationally engage a post of ours, but it didn’t go very well for him as you can see here.

Below I copy the email I received in full followed up by a short reply. Thanks.

Considering the source, when I read the wacked-out distortions in statement like this –

http://poohsthink.com/?p=1093

I can’t help wondering if the author will one day, by the light of the full moon, attempt to drive home his point with one of these –

http://playground.sun.com/~vasya/cs-desperado-07.jpg

Where does the author get off putting forth the idea that ANYTHING that smacks of vigilante violence would be likely to emerge from Christ Church? That goes 100% contrary to everything they have ever taught there. It is the author of this smear whose mind is able to conceive of such things, but the author is neither a member of Christ Church nor was he taught to think along such lines there.

It’s just more baseless, disgusting slander from someone who needs help, badly.

“When Jesus called the Pharisees a brood of vipers he was calling the state to put him to death, somewhat like Socrates’ continual questioning of politicians and priests called down the death penalty upon him.” — What a load of crap! So the person who prays an imprecatory prayer is “asking for it” eh? Put an innocent person to death and say the victim “made” the perpetrator do it — as convenient a line of thinking as it is CRAZY.

I am appreciative of the image link; this should make a good picture metaphor in upcoming posts. I will not offer much comment to my propensity to physical harm or my sanity for at least two reasons: 1) folks watching the Wood for any amount of time would know that physical harm is my prototypical evil that I write against, and 2) Wilson and some folks at the Kirk have known me for years, and one of the things they know is that I had proven over the course of many years to be a “good guy” and an approved ministerial candidate. Nobody in Moscow is really frightened up me, despite the temptation to use such cheap rhetoric.

There appears to be two lines of argument here (after using a strong filter). First, this anonymous writer argues that the Kirk does not explicitly teach vigilante violence, and I obviously don’t know how to comment to this since I’m not a member of Christ Church. However, I was a member of Christ Church for a decade, and given my inside experience there, I likely know far more about Doug Wilson and Christ Church than most current members do. The writer is correct that they do not teach vigilante violence in word, but they do teach it in practice. But not the literal kind, but rather the sociological kind. There has been much violence done to myself and my family and a dozen other families, and Wilson seeks to do harm to people on a regular basis with his serrated mouth. Further, as one PCA pastor explained a while back, Wilson implicitly encourages young, loyal men towards harming Wilson’s critics—you can see this post here. Not physically harming them; but the words “violence” and “harm” naturally apply to more than literal bodily damage.

The writer seems to miss my primary argument at the end of my post entirely; my argument, which is more clear if one has watched Chocolat, is that vigilante violence is an emotional conclusion to the implicit message of sociological violence. In Chocolat, the message in the village was not vigilante violence either; but the kind of sociological violence latent in their words and practice made actual violence an easy next step for a member of the village Kirk who was prone to violence. Thus, the town mayor who controlled the sermons learned a hard lesson about what his message has really been about; as violence is used metaphorically for the sociology, so is the resulting literal violence a metaphor for the preceding sociology. I think the point is really simple actually. Wilson’s refusal to reign in the despicable behavior of his own parishioners (I have yet to see it done one time) makes the implicit message loud and clear as was eloquently pointed out by this PCA pastor watching from afar.

The second argument seems to be confused on a number of levels. I suspect I might be dealing with a kirker here, or someone closely following the practice here in Moscow, since they appear to vouch for the use of imprecatory prayer in a small peaceful town of North Idaho. I doubt there are many Christians outside Wilson’s cult following that would take up this sort of defense. The writer does not really touch my argument or point, so I will just make some clarifications. Jesus was not praying imprecatory prayers; Jesus was not in the habit of asking God to harm his opponents, and in fact Jesus asked God not to harm his opponents, even when they did physical violence to him. I was drawing an analogy between imprecation and the use of “strong language,” the kind of language Wilson points to in support of his aberrant Serrated Edge practice.

Vulnerability has been an important category of my argument for the last year. By speaking words of judgment against the Pharisees, the powerful oppressors of the people, Jesus was making himself vulnerable to be the next person oppressed. Wilson’s use of strong language and literal mocking ridicule is not from the vantage point of a vulnerable profit speaking judgment in truth no matter the cost. Rather, as Wilson has said explicitly, his Serrated Edge ridicule is an act of war; it is used on a purely strategic level, to intimidate and silence opposition. In the same way, imprecatory prayer is used as a cheap liturgical item to slap down any hiccups in his march to dominion and victory.

January 2, 2007 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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