Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Moving From Postfundamentalist Masturbation to Holy Foolishness: Missing Jesus

"9/11 was an act that had clearly been designed for television."
-Karen Armstrong, "The Battle for God" p vii

"Sometimes (the new fundamentalists) have been driven to acts that are deliberately self-destructive....it is difficult to imagine a more nihilistic act than... the Muslim suicide bomber...and the bizzare antics of the Bakers and Jimmy Swaggart represented a nihilistic revolt against teh more sober fundamentalism of Jerry Falwell."

If annihilating nihilism "by cultural masturbation" is not the best approach ( a "good movie or two" would be better),

then annihilating nihilism by nihilism itself, is probably not the best approach either.

We might even talk ourselves into the false belief that this approach is incarnational and redemptive. But this is not what Bruggeman means by"embodying the thing dismantled." (see part 14 here).

Karen Armstrong notes a "postfundamentalist" strand in all three monotheistic religions which would spiritualize sin, completely embrace nihilism, and thus violence and sexualization. Is it
ironic or inevitable that the most fundamentalist fundies will betray their fundamentalism while ostensibly claiming to drink carefully from its wineskin? :

Reconstructionism and the Christan Identity have left Jerry Falwell and the Moral Majority far behind. These are a form of post-fundamentalism, which is more frightening, intransigent, and extreme... In the same way, the9/11 hijackers seem to represent some sinister new development in Islamic fundamentalism...Mohammet Atta drinking vodka before he entered teh aircraft..The idea that a Muslim martyr could go to meet God with vodka on his breath is as bizarre a thought as that of Baruch Goldsten, the Jewush fundamemtalist who gunned down twenty nine Muslims...enjoying a bereakfast of bacon and eggs before carrying out the attack...

Most fundamentalists live strictyly orthodox lives....(but) the ignorant barbarism that (the new fundamentalists) have followed..is the (brand) they have vowed not only to abjure but also to eliminate. The hijackers seem to have gone out of their way not only to disobey the basic laws of the religion they have vowed to defend but to trample on the principles that motivate the traditional fundamentalist..

One Messiah figure advocated a form of "holy sin". The times were so desperate that something entirely new was required. Old values no longer applied; there had to be a new law, and a new freedom that could only be achieved by a flagrant disavowal of the old norms.
Karen Armstrong, "The Battle for God" p ix-x

In a sense, these last two sentences are accurately applied to what Jesus instituted in Mark 2:
New wine and wineskins. He was not deconstructing Judaism/Phariseeism/ entirely; even though "something entirely new was required." In a nutshell, the "new law and freedom" was the "new wine of new fasting." Jesus even flatly announced that literally NO ONE would be dumb enough/fundamentalist enough /post-fundamentalist enough to even try to cram new wine into old wineskins and fast the "old" (postfundamentalist) way.

But in the words of DC Talk, "what have we become"? Who have we become? The "no one" that Jesus spoke about. Why is Trucker Frank kicked out of a Christian bookstore and not the most blasphemous book title one can imagine:

"How to Put New Wine into Old Wineskins."


How about that, a "How to Do What Jesus Said Can't Be Done...And No One Tries."

What would Tyndale ("couldn't hit a bull on the ass with a banjo") do?

Was the whole structure of Jewish ceremonial, fasting naturally included, indeed consonant with the new spirit of the followers of the Messiah?

A new spirit must find new forms of expression.
(Alan Cole, Tyndale Commentary on Mark)

"Fasting is not a commandment," John Piper insists, "but a prediction of what will seem normal for those who miss the Bridegroom." But violent sexuality of annihilating nihilism cannot produce "the sorrow which find expresion in fasting" (Cole, 72)

I grieve not grieving.

"Why would you want a superannuated, impotent octagenarian?"

That's what my 83-year old friend (whose wife died several years ago) says he asks those well- meaning widows at church who ask him out.

"But more importantly, I am still in love with my wife;
and I don't miss you."

If we are still in love with our Bridegroom; and miss him---which leads to the new wine of new fasting, we won't cave into temptations to sleep around with other church members, other gods, or other wines...

..especially those "frightening, intransigent, and extreme" postfundamentalist ones.

We live in "desperate times" again; where postfundamentalism is still alive in our ecclesiology and missiology...and as such subverts our subversion and hijacks us into forsaking the necessary "holy fool" approach for the "holy sins" that are
"designed for television."

We can't get there without fasting.

I grieve not grieving.


Q. "How do you drink new wine?" A. "Fast!"

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