A Reading of the PB's Easter Message

That is always a danger, perhaps, of confusing the Kerygma, the Gospel proclamation, with the moral response the Gospel requires--which may well vary in particulars as the vices besetting the hearers of the Word vary.

For the PB, it seems Evangelism essentially includes moral appeal along with the proclamation of the Gospel. I'm speculating, but her basic idea might be that the Spirit operates with prevenient grace outside the bounds of the church to prepare potential disciples to respond to their Lord's voice.

They are prepared in many cases by a graced sense of conviction of sin not yet fully or clearly articulated. The Gospel tagged with a call to repent--delivered in preaching or proclamation by example appealing through mimesis--articulates the previously dim moral sense of being vicious, bringing it to clarity: at that very moment one is ready to begin conversion--the seed is sown.

She is betting--it seems to me--that our special sins, the grotesque distortions we are particularly prone to, have to do primarily with Gluttony: materialistic excess in hedonistic consumption that ends up abusing creation in defiance of divine will.

We already dimly know we consume too much, we waste too much, we take more than our fair share, we are emotionally addicted to materialistic pleasures and therein conceive ultimate happiness...and we already in a dim sense know better, and in a dim way know we are courting ultimate ruin in mortal sin.

To hear a clear call to repent from these sins of Gluttony in the name of Jesus is to know the Shepherd's voice as authentic, and to be positioned for an authentic response. Her proclamtion in the letter is patterned, so far as I can see, after an evangelical on the left. Her messages' critics, if I am right, may be caught up in actively resisting her call to repent. Witness their talk about her Easter message as if it were only concerned with cow flatulence.

I'm not kidding. Here is a partial list:

Midwest Conservative Journal
Hills of the North
VirtueOnline (see the comments)
Daily Camera--see Kendall Harmon quoted in the body

But ask yourself, why are cow farts a problem? Might it be because we are Gluttons--we can't help but connect our high standard of living to high consumption of beef, for example? A rather earthy fact the PB might well be onto and which her critics miss. But a timely fact as well: people are starvingto death for lack, in part, of the resources we spend on ourselves, growing fat cows for our fat selves.

Indeed, if you read her critics, going on about bovine flatulence, as in effect justifying our pluriform practices of Gluttony in spite of themselves and without really knowing what they are doing--ironically enough given Dean Turner's theme--as if her critique were some catastrophe, as if Vegetarianism or even a reduction of meat consumption were literally unthinkable, their "critique" of her Easter message appears, I dare say, in a rather new light.

No comments:

Post a Comment