I love the song Rene and Georgette Magritte With Their Dog after the War.
Two nights ago, I heard Paul Simon tell how a picture’s awkward title inspired a song. Great genius inspires great genius. The artist Rene Magritte never stops making me laugh and think. Magritte’s work was absurd, in one way obvious to the point of heavy-handedness, but always backed up with a smile.
It was the smile that tormented the powerful, laughed at them, and made them realize they were wrong. Paul Simon added insult to injury by writing a brilliant song using a title from a picture book: absurd about absurdity.
How Warren Throckmorton is like Paul Simon
It is for all these reasons that Patheos and Patheos Evangelical need Warren Throckmorton. He is a scholar with a light touch, but one who sees the absurdity of the powerful. He has the temerity to keep telling the truth until the truth, absurd in our particular era, makes you laugh. It is obvious now that someone like David Barton was a fraud, but Throckmorton recognized it first.
His targets? They are many, but his humor and good will are true, start to finish. He is right again and again and when he is wrong he is sorry.
I began so badly in my life that I lack the confidence Warren showed weekly. He just kept painting the absurdity of crooks, con men, and fake Christians. Lie to Warren and he will not take joy in exposing the lie, but in loving the truth. That is a rare thing: the happy prosecutor intent on truth.
Why I Miss Warren Throckmorton
I love writing here at Patheos. I am thankful to do so. Nobody will ever confuse me with a leftist—I love free people and free markets. I am also a traditionalist: Trollope with an analytic philosophy degree.
Of course a private company can pick their writers and of course they can change directions. I simply miss Warren Throckmorton. I miss him the way I already miss last weekend’s Paul Simon concert: searing honesty combined with jollity. I miss Warren Throckmorton the way I miss a press that never bows the knee to power.
If you have ever been disillusioned by an abuse of power, Throckmorton understands. He knows it is absurd to marry Jesus to power.
Why Patheon Needs Warren Throckmorton
Here is a thought: the Lord giveth, the Lord taketh away. He also takes away and then gives back. Maybe Patheos made a mistake and could bring Warren Throckmorton back. After all, American Church culture needs some jolly souls invested in truth, goodness, and beauty. As the American church, we need fewer grifters, liars for Jesus, who are so narrow they can see down a straw with both eyes.
Bring him back Patheos:
The easy stream of laughter
Flowing through the air
Rene and Georgette Magritte
With their dog apres la guerre
Rachel Motte edited this essay and added the sub-headings.