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Saturday, January 19, 2013

And yet . . . the couch

Douglas Wilson: Wendell Berry's Halcyon Bean Patch
Second, let me briefly respond to Berry's observation that the Bible has a "lot more to say" about other sins, like fornication and adultery. This is quite true, and almost entirely beside the point. Say that a mother came home from grocery shopping to find out that her twelve-year-old son had set fire to the couch. When she was remonstrating with him, suppose further that she was met with the argument that he had been listening carefully to her for years, and that she had always had a "lot more to say" about table manners than this. This may be perfectly true . . . and yet . . . the couch.

For believing Christians, the issue is what the Bible teaches, not how much it teaches on one thing compared to other issues. There are matters of first importance compared to other matters, but this is determined by wisdom, and not by word counts. We should not tally up citations of the Ten Commandments throughout Scripture in order to manage our disobedience by triage. ...

J.V. dropped me an email note saying that she appreciated this, and that the last (quoted) sentence was "BAM!" I hadn't thought of it in those terms ;), but that last sentence is precisely why I wanted to share Wilson's piece.