Tempering A Serrated Edge: Piper Responds to Wilson

Back in 2000 (twenty years ago!!), both John Piper and Doug Wilson were panelists at a Ligonier conference. Wilson made some remarks on rhetoric, satire, and taking the fight to the pagans. Strikingly – and from what I can tell, completely out of keeping with the rest of the kid-glove discussion – Piper challenges this at the 24:02 mark, “to balance it.”

Wilson published his book A Serrated Edge: A Brief Defense of Biblical Satire and Trinitarian Skylarking in 2003, just shortly after this. In the subsequent seventeen years, I would argue that this satire has not had the triumphant effect that may have been desired.

A few remarks in light of the video:

Piper notes some important distinctions we must bear in mind. The first difference is between Christ as holy (in his divine nature & unfallen human nature) and my sinful inclinations (post-lapse humanity). Wilson had earlier noted how Jesus could skewer self-righteous Pharisees (many old Credenda readers or current Blog & Mablog subscribers will think of his “righteous horse laugh”). Piper’s point is valid, since Jesus possesses both the foresight and insight to know when such barbed rhetoric will be useful. It is precisely at this point where our sinful nature obscures us, making us liable to hurt more than help.

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Not Jaded Enough?

Let’s go all the way tonight
No regrets, just love…
We’ll be young forever
– “Teenage Dream”

Where is my jaded and cynical generation when I need them? We are the generation that went through Monica-gate in the White House, have been inundated with casual sex flurries in the media, “reality” TV, and real reality. When this generation actually was in the teenage years, Cobain’s shadow was still hanging over the party. Though she has other reasons, I agree with this The Atlantic writer, that Perry’s teenage dream “isn’t mine.”

Does anyone still think the unicorn of “no-strings-attached” sex exists? This strange, erotic amnesia needs to die sooner than later.

Couples Can’t Figure Out Monogamy

“Many young American couples can’t agree on whether they’ve decided to have sex only with each other, a new study shows.”REALLY?! Now, far be it from me to criticize just because I disagree, but this article didn’t come across as the pinnacle of scholarship or journalistic rigor. For example, when Marie Harvey, a professor of public health, said, “Couples have a hard time talking about these sorts of issues, and I would imagine for young people it’s even more difficult,” my initial impression of Harvey’s inductive skills doesn’t skyrocket. The whole article can be read here.

But perhaps more worrisome than the incompetence of the authors is the idiocy of the subjects of the investigation: “…married couples were no more likely than other couples to have an explicit monogamy agreement.” REALLY?! You can’t find a commitment to monogamy somewhere in your marriage vows?!

This is one of those where you either have to laugh or cry. It seems that the sexual revolution of the ’60s liberated us right out of reality and into some dystopic orgy of confusion. We’re living in Eliot’s Hollow Men world with hollow marriage promises. How does this kind of world end? “Not with a bang, but a whimper.”