18 February 2016

A Cup of "Water"

by Frank Turk

From 2006 to 2012, PyroManiacs turned out almost-daily updates from the Post-Evangelical wasteland -- usually to the fear and loathing of more-polite and more-irenic bloggers and readers. The results lurk in the archives of this blog in spite of the hope of many that Google will "accidentally" swallow these words and pictures whole.

This feature enters the murky depths of the archives to fish out the classic hits from the golden age of internet drubbings.

The following excerpt was written by Frank back in June 2006. Frank offered a parable to demonstrate the vital importance of orthodoxy to the Faith.

As usual, the comments are closed.
Imagine it's a hot day outside -- not one of those tepid 85 degree days they get in Ohio in late July but one of those 104 degree days we get in AR in early August. I'm in my bookstore, and some fellow walks in who is obviously in some kind of distress.

"Can I help you?" I ask, in honest concern. "Are you alright?"

"Dude," he chokes out, "I need a cup of water. I just walked 10 miles from my broken-down car, and I'm ... I'm ..."

I grab him as he teeters over, and I sit him in one of the reading chairs. He's not unconscious, but he's obviously weak and sick. So I go behind the counter, I get a clean rag, and I soak it in rubbing alcohol (which we use to clean our counters and our windows), and I go back to this fellow in distress.

"Here," I say to him, "This will make you feel better."

He grabs the rag, and it feels very cool and wet to his touch, but as he lifts it to his mouth he realizes by the smell that something's afoot.

"Dude," he gasps, "What is this?"

"It's cool and wet, friend," I say to him, "which is exactly what you need. Go ahead."

Now, without watching this little scene play out all the way to the end, let me ask you: was it a fair substitution to give him a rag soaked in alcohol when what he needed was a cup of water? Put another way, at what place did I stop giving him the aid he required as I was substituting out the essentials of his need with counterfeits or with handy (but inappropriate) spare parts?

And would you be some sort of malcontent or trouble maker if you pointed out to me that it would do more harm than good to give a dehydrated man an ounce of rubbing alcohol to drink?

Let me propose to you that this little scene is a metaphor for orthodoxy in the Christian faith. If we think that somehow we are coming to the aid of someone by bringing them a sloppy mess which has absorbed something that only superficially appears to be like what they need, rather than a self-contained measure of the actual stuff that they need, we're not helping anybody. And clearly, in some cases, we are actually hurting them worse.

You apply that as you see fit.