The (W)Right Authority

There was a little flurry of activity around our tiny dark, dusty cupboard of the internet a few weeks back when the Nerdlingers (Jaybercrow, Peebles, Bob and me) blogged boringly about the Bible and what authority it might have. Because I was reading a book about homosexuality in the church (yawn) I started reading Tom Wright’s little book explaining his views on the topic. Oh what a book it is!

At one point he is talking about the vexed issue of how we split the bits of the Old Testament we don’t live out anymore away from the bits we do. Dave and I were just chatting about this last week. (Dave actually gave me book in the first place; thanks Dave!) Wright talks about the continuity and discontuity of the OT laws. He says that which is left behind is that which was pointing to Jesus and fulfilled by Him. Obvious examples include the Jewish keeping of the Sabbath. Its a quick way of describing the solution but one of the masterly things Wright does is bring the best possible illustration to you so you can grasp the complex idea (really that is what the 5-Act debate was all about, an illustration). (Well, an illustration grown up into a model, but…)

Here is what Wright says about the discontinuity and continuity issue:

When travellers set sail across a vast ocean and finally arrive on the distant shore, they leave the ship behind and continue over land, not because the ship was no good, or because their voyage had been misguided, but precisely because both ship and voyage had accomplished their purpose. During the new, dry-land stage of their journey, the travellers remain- and in this illustration must never forget that they remain- the people who made that voyage in that ship.

Now us nerdlingers can take a moment to compose ourselves in the face of our inadequacy. Why can’t we write the way Wright writes? Eh?

Nightmare Where A Knife Bearing Pregnant Lady Screams At You
Over the weekend we watched Last Kiss. Just like in his last terifically successful indie flick aimed at 20-somethings, Zach Braff plays on stereotypes. In Garden State it was the fancifully unreal Natalie Portman character. Here it is four friends in their late 20s right out of a militant feminists’ attack on maxim mag readership. I’m not in my late 20s yet but if all my male friends far exceed these characters in maturity and vision, then I conclude he may be cutting his characters out of cereal boxes.

The whole movie rests on a faulty premise. I guess when you are dealing with matters of the heart, illogic does not lead to incoherency. Braff’s character is concerned that his life is too stable, that there will be no more surprises, that its all planned out. An unplanned pregnancy precipitates this crisis.

Thankfully there is a character written who is mature enough to see through this navel gazing and set the young man back on track. Its Tom Wilkinson playing the father of his girlfriend. In the great scene of the movie and in one of the best lines of recent times he says, “What you feel only matters to you. It’s what you do for those you say you love that counts.” Damn straight. Amen. Preach it brutha! And so on and so forth. The movie is worth it just for that.

If I were a badly disciplined blogger I might jump off here to some meditations on how marriage is the great adventure offered to humankind or to thoughts on how we all desperately long for home in a way more profound than Dr Scrubs can yet articulate but you know I’d never do that you you, don’t you?

Don’t you?

Your Correspondent, Lead singer of Captain Downer and the Buzzkills

2 Responses to “The (W)Right Authority”

  1. Konchog says:

    Ahem. Mr. Wright’s image was employed in the exact same way, for the exact same purpose (showing the fault of grasping even to one’s own path) in the Alagaddupama Sutra, spoken by the Buddha nearly 2600 years ago. Maybe elsewhere, but I only have a few of my books here in Mongolia. Carry on.

  2. zoomtard says:

    What? Buh? The Alagaddupama Sutra has been translated!? 😉

    Konchog, does it also have any clarification on the question of whether Paul\’s primary focus in his letters was going to be soteriological or ecclissiological because if it does, I think we will be able to unmask the venerable Bishop of Durham as a plagiarist!

    Of course, the wisdom of the Alagaddupama Sutra doesn\’t surprise me K. One of my sacred texts, the 2800 year old Ecclesiastes writes (1:9 ESV): \”What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.\”

    Good to see you round these parts again Sir.