Saturday, September 27, 2008

Knock it Off!!

I have been threatening for some time to read more Robert Farrar Capon. I have finished Bed and Board, his first book, and am now in the midst of Between Noon and Three: A Parable of Romance, Law, and the Outrage of Grace. I am not quite sure what to make of it. I love it, on one hand, and I fear it on the other. This is exactly the response that Capon expects, and exactly the response that most of the book dwells on for much of it's pages.

Essentially, Capon dares to take grace for exactly what it is, straight, no chaser - as you will read in the scond quote. It's bracing and it makes my head swim, and I fear that he is right. That may seem an odd thing to say. So what does that mean? More later, but now a tidbit.

"The gospel of grace is the end of religion, the final posting of the CLOSED sign on the sweatshop of the human race's perpetual struggle to think well of itself. For that, at bottom, is what religion is: man's well-meant but dim-witted attempt to approve of his unapprovable condition by doing odd jobs he thinks some important Something will thank him for. Religion, therefore, is a loser, a strictly fallen activity. It has a failed past and a bankrupt future. There was no religion in Eden and there won't be any in heaven; and in the meantime Jesus has died and risen to persuade us to knock it all off right now."


The reformation was a time when men went blind, staggering drunk because they had discovered, in the dusty basement of late medievalism, a whole cellarful of fifteen-hundred-year-old, two hundred proof grace -- of bottle after bottle of pure distillate of Scripture, one sip of which would convince anyone that God saves us single-handedly. The word of the gospel -- after all those centuries of trying to lift yourself into heaven by worrying about the perfection of your bootstraps -- suddenly turned out to be a flat announcement that the saved were home before they started...Grace has to be drunk straight boys: no water, no ice, and certainly no ginger ale; neither goodness, nor badness, nor the flowers that bloom in the spring of super spirituality could be allowed to enter into the case.

(Between Noon and Three: A Parable of Romance, Law, and the Outrage of Grace )

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