A seductive gospel

Posted: December 9, 2011 by deadfliesmike in General

Our house flooded again last week.

As I cleaned up I found a piece of paper with this on it. I don’t think I’ve posted it elsewhere

Christian evangelism is a seduction, a wooing, a romance,  declaration of love and desire.
In an increasingly unromantic world, it is a strange and foreign form of speech, and so difficult to listen to. Both those who hear and those who speak the gospel may be tempted to view it as one of our more mundane forms of speech and thinking and truth.

Modernism eschews romantic truth. Instead it yearns for the alpha male. It searches for the truth powerful enough to force itself onto anyone. Beauty doesn’t enter the equation. It longs for the decision to be taken away by force. And we may attempt to present the gospel of Jesus in this way, as evidence that demands a verdict, as self evident to all.

No womder post-modrnism reacted against this brutal truth, this rape of the mind, the compulsion, but also the strange desire for it. And so post modernism is suspicious of desire. It first embraces ugliness, and then recognizing it’s own compulsive fetishized desire for ugliness, retreats into the isolated, comfortable masturbation of irrationalism. Post modernism can bear no children.
And we may attempt to present the gospel in this way, from the atomized individualism of self help christianity, to the ugly, voluntarist God of hyper Calvinism, ironically enshrining our freedom from the compulsion of desire by presenting such a soveriegn, evil-underwriting God that following him has nothing to do with self – yet secretely valourizing our heroic desire to submit to ugliness.

Yet the God of the gospel seduces us with his beauty. Beauty in himself, and beauty for us. He neither forces himself upon us, not is he ugly and undesirable, nor is he lacking in desire for us. Instead he is the goal and end of our best desires, he is life and peace and joy, he is where we find ourselves made new, the gospel is a call to fall in love.

  1. Jonathan says:

    Hi Wellsie, very interesting article. Amazing what you find when you tidy up!

    I think I got most of it, wish you’d explain what you have in mind by ‘yet secretly valourizing our heroic desire to submit to ugliness.’ That bit goes over my head.

    But I appreciate your analysis of the longing for overwhelming force of truth. You probably do want to persuade people that the gospel is true as well, I’m guessing. What do you think is the connection between beauty and truth? I’d love to understand more about this.

  2. Mike W says:

    Hi Jonathan,
    yeah I was obviously reading DB Hart when I wrote this, maybe trying to sum him up. He sees the realtion between beauty and truth as essentially the same thing. That is, God is harmonious within himself and is the highest peace and good for the creation too.

    As for the ugliness bit, I guess I was referring to some angry reformed people I know who seem proud of the fact that the God they believe in isn’t just good for humans. There is a certain boasting that says “I believe in God even though he comes across as a jerk”. It falsely (in my opinion) thinks it avoids the charge of projection. For me I think it is just a post-modern suspicion of desire.

    I’m trying to nut out how beauty relates to a post-post modern technological post humanism…..see how we go hey

  3. Jonathan says:

    It kind of sounds a bit Keatsish:
    Beauty is truth; truth beauty. – that is all
    Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

    I wonder how Hart avoids romanticism and its idolising of beauty?

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