Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Seat of the Scornful

by RC Sproul Jr.

There may be nothing more soul damaging about the whole postmodern thing than its snarkiness. Sure, post-modern epistemology is immediately and obviously stupid, so much so that not even they believe it. No one believes it true that there is no truth. But this attitude, this mood, this posture, where we’re all too cool to care about anything, where sincerity is the high crime, that’s bad news. It’s corrosive, destructive, and likely lurking in your heart. (One of my favorite titles for something I wrote was a piece for Every Thought Captive touching on this theme called “The Impertinence of Being Earnest.”)

As I write it is snowing outside. Snow is one of my great joys. It is, as I have described before, liquid manna. It is God behaving as a grand Tom Bombadil, whistling and singing as He walks across the globe, tossing snow as fairy dust out of His pockets, for the sheer extravagant delight of it. This is what the scornful miss. This is how our sophistication poisons joy. The modernist sees snow as a problem to be solved. The postmodern can’t even see the snow.

Snow was a prominent part of my childhood, growing up in the mountains of western Pennsylvania . I wrote of its glory first when writing a friend from my childhood a letter. She was, at the time, studying art at a university. As a girl she had been my next door neighbor, and had shared in the joy of being raised in the context of a covenant community, at the old Ligonier Valley Study Center . I waxed eloquent about those blessings, those precious memories of shared life. She wrote back, explaining how utterly embarrassed she had been when, reading my letter, those memories reduced her to tears, right in front of her friends. I wrote her once more, and explained that if she had any hope of being an artist, she must aspire to beauty. And beauty cannot survive scorn. If she had not the courage to enter into beauty, she would never be able to capture it on canvas.

The Psalmist promises that he will not sit in the seat of the scornful. We, however, having drunk deep from the world around us, are ashamed of sincerity, embarrassed by earnestness. We would rather argue over the nature of beauty than to be carried away with it. We would rather complain about shoveling snow than make angels in the snow. We would rather be thought of as worldly than be thought of as uncool. We would, because God is true and every man a liar, rather not be the blessed man who does not sit in the seat of the scornful.

There is, according to God’s Word, blessing for the earnest. There is delight for those brave enough to delight. If we would put away such foolishness, we have the promise, the unassailable promise that we will bring forth fruit in its season, that we shall prosper. If we would no longer heed the counsel of the ungodly, if we would instead delight in the law of God, He will bless us. If not, the way of the ungodly will perish. Go play in the snow, not ironically, but sincerely. Blessing will come.

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