Wednesday, October 24, 2007

UPDATED: A Hard On For Christ

Though it has been fifteen years since I graduated from college, I still have some of my college textbooks, including Volume One of "The American Tradition in Literature" (6th edition).

Some months ago, while perusing through the text for information on a post I was writing, I came across excerpts from Jonathan Edwards, a mid-18th century Puritan from New England, who was an important catalyst for the first "Great Awakening". He is perhaps best known for his sermon Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. It is a sermon replete with references to fire and brimstone. I can only imagine how the congregation that was on the receiving end of Edwards' fiery preaching must have felt at the tongue lashing he unleashed on them. If you want to suffer through it in its entirety, you can read it here.

But what really caught my interest was an excerpt from his Personal Narrative. As befits the title, it is an extremely personal meditation on Edwards' religious faith and what it meant to him. To a 21st century secular minded person such as myself, Edwards ecstatic language comes across as bizarre, and sometimes downright creepy.

Here are a few examples:

"It has often appeared to me delightful, to be united to Christ; to have him for my head, and to be a member of his body; also to have Christ for my teacher and prophet. I often think with sweetness, and longings, and pantings of soul, of being a little child, taking hold of Christ, to be led by him through the wilderness of this world." And don't forget to spend some time at the Neverland Ranch while you are at it!

"Sometimes, only mentioning a single word caused my heart to burn within me; or only seeing the name of Christ, or the name of some attribute of God. And God has appeared glorious to me, on account of the Trinity. It has made me have exalting thoughts of God, that he subsists in three persons; Father, Son and Holy Ghost." Did he shoot a load in his pants every time he recited the Lord's Prayer?

"Once as I rode out into the woods for my health... I had a view that for me was extraordinary, of the glory of the Son of God, as Mediator between God and Man, and his wonderful, great, full, pure and sweet grace and love, and meek and gentle condescension. The person of Christ appeared ineffably excellent with an excellency great enough to swallow up all thought and conception-which continued as near as I can judge, about an hour; which kept me the greater part of the time in a flood of tears, and weeping aloud." (Emphasis mine). Imagine encountering this guy while hunting in the woods! The mountain men from 'Deliverance' would have had a field day with him. "Take your pants off boy. I'll give you something to weep and moan about."

"I have greatly longed of late, for a broken heart, and to lie low before God; and when I ask for humility, I cannot bear the thoughts of being no more humble than other Christians. It seems to me, that though their degrees of humility may be suitable for them; yet it would be a vile self-exaltation to me, not to be the lowest in humility of all mankind." Spank me Jesus! Spank me!

UPDATE: I don't know how this one slipped past me when I first wrote this post:

"I was almost constantly in ejaculatory prayer, wherever I was." Shit, if I went to church, I definitely would not want this man sitting in the pew behind me.

Jonathan Edwards was a very strange fellow.


Andrea said...

You're so naughty today! :D But yeah, the language is fairly erotic. It hasn't changed much, if you listen to the lyrics of contemporary Christian music (some of which they hilariously call "rock"). These white guys wax romantic about their savior. You can easily replace the name Jesus for "ooh girl" or "oh baby" in a lot of those songs. Some of the more macho types have finally caught on that the whole deal is kinda awkward, hence the proliferation of "cowboy churches," where presumably they tone down the yearnings for physical affection from their lord.

Not that I've ever been in a cowboy church. We did drive past one a couple Sundays ago, on the highway back from my mom's house. All these people coming out of a barn, every man, woman, and child wearing a cowboy hat. That in itself is not so unusual here in Texas, until we saw the sign that said something about a cowboy church. Whatever floats your boat, I guess.

Splinters of Silver said...

Jonathan Edwards was a very strange fellow.

Or, perhaps only those which read perverson into his thoughts and writings, hmmmm.... :)

Tommykey said...

Come on Tim, you gotta admit the guy goes a little off the deep end.

Tommykey said...

Hey Andrea!

How about "Brokeback Sermon on the Mount"?

Poodles said...

Jesus was so gay.

He hates booies and gets grown men to "love" him in so many ways...

Baconeater said...

You should watch the South Park where Cartman writes all kinds of songs that gave the impression that Jesus was his lover. Here is a discussion about the episode, and the songs played:

* “The Body of Christ”
* “Christ Again”
* “A Night with the Lord”
* “Touch Me Jesus”
* “I Found Jesus (With Someone Else)”
* “Saviour Self”
* “Christ What a Day”
* "Born Again"
* “Three Times My Savior”
* “Jesus Touched Me”

Here is a link to entire episode if you want to watch it.

tina FCD said...

Did this Edwards have a family? I think I'll look his name up and read more about him, although I'll probably have nightmares. I've never listened to christian music before...nah, not my cup-o-tea.

I can't believe this guy actually said that last statement. Ejaculatory Prayer, have to send that one on to ungodly cynic, he'll crack up!

Anonymous said...

"You're so naughty today!"

Yep. Christ is an easy mark for atheists; particularly when they spend most of their waking hours finding new ways to savage him along with people of faith.

Keep it up though. With the combined efforts of the nitwits at FFR, the ACLU, the liberal courts and every back of the room drawing "pitchurs of teechur" liberal blog in the universe, athies are making lots and lots of headway.

Up to about, what-,about 7.025 per cent of the U.S. population now?

Maybe you'll have your godless secular state in about another, say, 350 years now.

Tommykey said...

So, do you engage in ejaculatory prayer Bedrock?

tina FCD said...

Isn't the internet amazing when it comes to communication with like minded people.

Stardust said...

Yes, Jonathan Edwards and many from his era were "strange" fellows.

My oldest son was talked into going to the Moody Bible church in Chicago a few times with a friend of his from the university they both attended (though my son is agnostic). He remarked to me how "seductive" the lyrics to all the songs sounded. Sort of "homosexual" in many ways, or just "sexual" sounding. He also remarked how they use the things they hate about the world to promote their religion...rock music, sexual and seductive-sounding music and fads. The Moody church often uses rock instruments and set up concerts for young people to "head-bang" to Jesus lyrics.

Stardust said...

Funny how Bedrock is still worried and obsessed about atheists while at the same time pointing out how insignificant our numbers are.


Pyramidhead said...

one jesus and metal should never be uttered in the same sentence. As for their brand of "metal" it's lame,it's suck ass,Do I need to go on with this.No think you I'll stick with my music.