A Little More from the Teapot

Dr. Peter Leithart has just been awarded an Association of Reformed Institutions of Higher Education (ARIHE) Lectureship for 2010-2012 (Member institutions include Calvin, Covenant, Dordt, and Geneva colleges, among others). You can read about it at New Saint Andrew’s website (take particular note of the topics for his upcoming lectures). Congratulations, Dr. Leithart.

The timing couldn’t be better.

A Brief Excursus into the Teapot

For those of you who are following the sad degeneration of the PCA into a chest-thumping, savorless impotency, I thought I’d share this little bit about baptism from Robert Rayburn regarding the SJC’s incompetent attempt to railroad Dr. Peter Leithart:

At the beginning of Presbytery’s thirty minutes before the panel Presbytery’s respondent was told in quite a peremptory way to read Romans 6:1-7. “That is not about baptism,” he was told. I assume they meant that it was not about water baptism, the rite of baptism. This is the view now represented in the panel’s reasoning [C v]. Gentlemen, do you really want to go on record saying that the PCA does not believe that Romans 6 is about water baptism? That is a conclusion you will find in no reputable commentary on Romans: from Hodge to Murray, from Bruce to Cranfield, from Ridderbos to Moo. Let’s not make ourselves a laughingstock. Is PCA baptism really so light, so weightless, so invisible that it cannot be found even where it is the explicit subject of a text of Holy Scripture? However else one may account for the reality of baptized unbelief, Romans 6 is most assuredly about water baptism and it is an offense to the entire tradition of Christian biblical study to deny this!

You may read the whole thing here, if you so desire. Me, I’m going to go make a tasty beverage out of the water boiling on my stove. There’s a metaphor to be had there, no doubt.

Hat Tip: Credenda/Agenda

Our Aeneid: Twilight as Sexual Mysticism

You have said that the series is a “Mormon woman’s Midsummer Night’s Dream.” How so?

I mean that very literally because its inspiration came in the form of a dream that Stephenie Meyer, a cradle Latter Day Saint and BYU graduate, had on June 2, 2003. That dream—comprised of Edward and Bella’s time in a sunlit mountain meadow, which eventually became chapter 13 of the first book—is a snapshot of the allegorical meaning of the series: a Harlequin version of Mormon ideas about God and man. Harold Bloom of Yale University once wrote that Joseph Smith, Jr., the LDS prophet and author of The Book of Mormon, is America’s only religious genius. I agree.

Malcolm Muggeridge said that sex or eroticism is “the mysticism of the materialist,” and Mormonism is the spirituality of our times in this regard. It is no accident that Meyer wrote a book suffused with religious content within the romance genre (meaning a love story in this context) that includes a heroine’s apotheosis after marrying the image of Joseph Smith, Jr., and being transformed by childbirth into a super-powered near-immortal. Bella’s story is actually a mythic version of Mormon soteriology.

It is likewise no accident that Americans resonate with this message. Sex, after all, is by and large our religious faith and sole extra-personal experience—after reading and moviegoing, of course! In several ways, Mormonism, though a 19th-century anachronism, is America’s de facto religion in that it’s preoccupied with proper sexual relations. In this sense, Meyer has written the Aeneid for our naturalist, desire-driven culture.

– John Granger in an interview with Salvo. Read the entire interview here.

Also, Doug Wilson is in the process of reading through the first novel of the Twilight series: You may read his amusing and insightful take on the book at Credenda.org.