PZ’s Podcast: Phony Wars, And the Winner Is, and The Federal Theology of Samuel Rutherford

Episode 172: Phony Wars This purports to be an attack of reality in the midst […]

Mockingbird / 8.25.14

Episode 172: Phony Wars

This purports to be an attack of reality in the midst of “phony wars”.

I am always struck by the truth of pop songs. Not all of them, but some of them. Such as “Waterloo” by ABBA. (Mary and I were there, as it were, when ABBA hit, stuck at a “Saturday Dance” (Geoff Goddard) during the spring of 1974 in the parish hall of Holy Trinity, Hounslow. As soon as we heard the song, and watched the girls line-dancing to ABBA, we knew we weren’t stuck any more. We got up ourselves, tho’ I’m no Diamond.)

There was truth there. “I feel like I win when I lose.” It sure isn’t ideological truth.

The cast goes on to talk about Petula Clark, and her costly interview in connection with the release of a new album in 2013 when she was 80. Talk about reality vs. ideology.

Finally, ISIS comes into it, or rather, some light shining there — another Diamond, buried deep in an article in “The Guardian”. Reality vs. the way we think it should be, the way we’d like it to be (but it isn’t).

Where truth is, God is. Christ said it often. nd where there is some truth about the ever-defending “me” — “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man” — the truth of God is able to come in — “through the bathroom window” (Lennon/McCartney).


Episode 173: And the Winner Is

Some things haven’t changed. At least for me.

One of them is the conviction that core truth is either-or. (This doesn’t mean that both-and isn’t also true. But to me, both-and issues from either-or. I think that’s the right order, both in romantic love and also in the Gospel.)

A second thing that hasn’t changed for me is that core truth is one-to-one. When we “lie dying” (Faulkner), it’s not a group we want. It’s one person. We want one person when we are dying. I’m not saying who that person is, or should be. But I am saying that only one comforter will really do.

ABBA told us these things before I knew them personally. (Tho’ Mary and I were fortunate to fall under ABBA’s spell at the exact moment that they began. I’ll never forget that “Saturday Dance”–see Call the Midwife–in April 1974, just after ABBA had won the Eurovision song contest. It changed me forever.)

In any event, ABBA put things into words that everybody knew emotionally but no one was writing. Hence, songs like “Lay All Your Love on Me” and, later, “One of Us”. Not to mention “Honey Honey” — be still, my heart.

So in the Metavision Song Contest for 2014, the Winner is:

Episode 174: The Federal Theology of Samuel Rutherford

It’s not trolling! I really do reference Samuel Rutherford here.

But I also reference ABBA, and mainly for the purpose of better understanding what faith is.

Here is what I would suggest in terms of future praxis: Let’s invite everyone who’s concerned about the decline of mainstream Protestantism to a conference. But it’s going to be on ABBA. The conference is going to be about ABBA. We’re going to listen to all the songs of ABBA. Then we’re going to watch their videos — the original ones, I mean, the ones they were really in. We’re going to ask ourselves, how come these people were able to sell 370 million records? That’s what we’re going to ask ourselves.

I expect the result will be major long-term arithmetic growth in church attendance.



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