What Passes For Pastoral Wisdom In Moscow, Redux

“Whole grains are a great delivery module for getting nutritional value down to the sewer treatment plant.”

“Obesity does not represent a major health crisis in America today. How’s that? In order to sell something to people you have to create a demand for it. In order to sell billions of dollars of something to people, you have to create a huge demand for it. This has now been successfully done — with pills, with weight loss programs, with healthy food regimes, and with more pills.”

(Douglas Wilson, Blog and Mablog, Nov. 8, 2010)

“Father, we confess our fear to You. As a nation, our courage has turned to bluster, our confidence into a calculated pose. We are afraid of real threats, like economic hard times or terrorism, and we are afraid of phantoms of our imagination, like global warming.” (Wilson, Blog and Mablog, Nov. 6, 2010)

Well, it’s been a busy couple of days for Moscow’s sage-in-chief, a man whose cake frosting-like depth of humility is exceeded only by the hairpin-slender breadth of his expertise; thus saith the Puckish Prophet of the Palouse, and pass the ham. Dissent is neither sought nor tolerated when found, and if he equates the food value of a Twinkie with that of a whole-wheat baguette, then that sliver of Hostess stock nestled in the portfolios of Moscow’s Reformed swells accordingly. With Wilson, every pronouncement is ex cathedra, brimming with authority and assurance, regardless of how glaringly self-evident his errors are.

Obesity not a major crisis in the U.S.? Whole grains enriching excrement, not eater? Global warming a hoax — and fear of it as silly as fearing bogeymen and phantoms? Listen to those who demonstrate evidence-based mastery and competence, or to a pastor whose grasp of those things in his purview (namely, theology) is shaky enough without his making shipwreck of medicine and earth science and everything else he presumes to embrace as areas of expertise? The choice is yours — unless you’ve hitched your wagon to the Man’s.

I shudder to think what students of Wilsonian classical Christian education are learning about evidence, education, and epistemology. But what really concerns me is that moms are feeding their kids based on bad science sanctified by a thin, brittle veneer of pseudo-pastoral wisdom. Hundreds of young NSA grads will pour into the world believing that their politics and their energy-consumption choices best glorify God when they fly in the face of established science, and the contempt they’ve been taught for the shadowy forces of Higher Learning Not Their Own not only doesn’t glorify God, but makes their leadership in any area highly suspect.

Wilson’s are not the pronouncements, as he would presume, of one who holds to a high view either of the body or of the Body, and while he finds it amusing when people object, there is One who will require a defense of every careless word spoken. I pray for Wilson, and I beseech him to accept correction now.

“Puckish” isn’t an attribute of the Spirit-filled life.

2 Responses to “What Passes For Pastoral Wisdom In Moscow, Redux”

  1. Ashwin says:

    Your quoting of Mr. Wilson was as follows: “Whole grains are a great delivery module for getting nutritional value down to the sewer treatment plant.”

    I went over to his blog to see what he was talking about. And I found (sadly no longer to my surprise) that he was saying the OPPOSITE of what you took him to mean. Here is his full point:
    “Back in the 1920s, everybody knew that fillintheblank was bad for you. In the 1950s, they knew the opposite thing, that something else was good for you, say, fillinanotherblank. In some instances, we still think the same thing as they did, and in others we think something completely different. Gone are the days when a particular brand of cigarette could be marketed as a “choice of doctors,” but equally gone are the times when we knew that processing grains made more nutrition available to the eater. Whole grains are a great delivery module for getting nutritional value down to the sewer treatment plant.”

    Mr. Wilson is saying that in the 1950′s we THOUGHT mistakenly that processing foods would release their nutritional value i.e. that whole grains meant nutrition ending up in the sewer. He did not imply that that is what we think now.

    I am glad to see that you have begun to quote Mr. Wilson verbatim. That is progress. The next step is to quote him IN CONTEXT.

    Taking cheap shots at Mr. Wilson does not help your case AT ALL. In fact this post made me rather angry. Mr. Wilson deserves better and YOU ARE better than this.

    God bless.

  2. Sorry, Ashwin, but the entire article makes it clear that he meant exactly what he said. Let’s be clear: It was originally thought that enriching wheat with added nutrition was a good way to make sure that poor Americans got sufficient nutrition, even when there wasn’t much food available. That’s still true — enriched grains are more comprehensively nutritious than “whole grains.” But whole grains are overall better for the consumer, as are most examples of “food in its natural state,” because we now have access (most of us) to abundant food supplies and are able, with careful planning, to enjoy the complete nutrition (fiber, etc.) of grains. Further, enriched bread products generally accompany high salt, high fat, low fiber, low nutrient foods (think hamburger buns), whereas an emphasis on eating unprocessed grains leads one to an overall more healthful diet.

    I have not misquoted or mischaracterized Wilson, here or elsewhere. He really does believe what he writes, as uncomfortable as it is to imagine.


Leave a Reply