Doctor’s check-up, waiting room, time to spare. I found myself — finally — reading last month’s issue of TOUCHSTONE magazine. Lately, my nighttime recreational reading consisted of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. I finished it last night; it was a bit troubling. Then, dawn came in the morning!
David Mills, most-times mild-mannered editor of TOUCHSTONE, has a spot-on nutty piece, Puff the Maverick Dragons (about “scholars” falling all over themselves to support the Gospel of Judas), in the September ’06 issue. I just about laughed out loud in the doc’s holding tank. I hope Mr Mills will forgive my posting a few excerpts. (And, just to sweeten the deal, if you’re not already subscribed, you should be. TOUCHSTONE is the meeting place for right believers — Prots, RCs & EOs — winding their way through troubled times toward the Kingdom.)
Now, his words …
“‘Christian mavericks find affirmation in ancient heresies,’ declared the Christian Science Monitor headline … Gosh, what a surprise. The story was, as you might guess, about this year’s major media choice for The New Insight That Knocks Down Christianity Forever, the Gospel of Judas …
For those who don’t know about Christian Science, the ‘Christian’ in the newspaper’s title has nothing to do with Christianity, but is simply half the name of the gnostic religion invented by that crackpot and conwoman Mary Baker Eddy at the end of the nineteenth century. Which may, now that I think of it, partly explain the newspaper’s interest in a story about the Gospel of Judas.
You have to think them Christian or the reporter does not have a story. ‘Marxist denies Incarnation’ is not a story. ‘Buddhist denies Incarnation’ is not a story. ‘Christian affirms Incarnation’ is not a story. ‘Christian denies Incarnation’ is a story.
But the subjects can’t be any old Christian. There’s no drama in picking up some skeptic from off the street. No one cares if Mortimer P. Daffodil, the third person interviewed coming out of the grocery store, calls himself a Christian but says he thinks Jesus was just a really great guy.
To work, the story has to announce that ‘Official Christian denies Incarnation.’ That’s a story.
Whom do they find you may ask?
The main subjects — the story’s good guys — are a Unitarian minister, the dean of the Episcopal cathedral in Boston, the pastor of a homosexual church, and the Episcopal Church’s ‘social justice’ officer (which means, in this case, promoter of great income redistribution, a near-pacifist foreign policy, and legal abortion). These are the daring mavericks who find affirmation in ancient heresies.
A Unitarian likes the Gospel of Judas! Gadzooks! An Episcopal cathedral takes out of the Scripture readings and the liturgy all the un-p.c. bits. Shocking! The pastor of a homosexual church rejects the Atonement! Well, knock me down with a spoon! The Episcopal Church’s social justice officer thinks the idea of one truth oppressive! Oh, will such horrors never cease!”
Anyway … It’s a funny read. Get a copy. Here’s his (shorter) blog entry about it back in April.
But, just for the vast veracity of it, I’ve got to leak one more quote:
“The effect of such writing is to make you think well of the ‘mavericks,’ even if you don’t agree with them, and feel that the conservatives are just cold-hearted jerks with short, easy answers.”