"I Meant To Do That" Part 2

My, the firestorm that’s erupted over Douglas Wilson’s inane attempt to claim fool-for-Christ-and-to-God-be-the-glory motivation for his equally inane defense of slavery beginning in the mid-1990s.

There are now at least 20 comments following his defense of taking a stupid, un-Biblical position so that any ensuing growth in his ministry would obviously be not BECAUSE of him, but IN SPITE of him through God’s providence.  Wilson, not the most self-aware guy in the world, does seem to understand that odiousness and unnecessary offense in the proclamation of the Gospel isn’t a prescription for ministerial success, and yet, because Wilson has, in fact, prospered and grown in stature through it all, it’s obvious that God wants his work to flourish.

Put simply, he said bizarre, Scripturally unwarranted things in order to soak the altar on which God would ignite the fire of his ministry — so that God would clearly be endorsing his work.

Again, he would say things that would make himself widely considered unfit for ministry so that God would offer a cosmic “Neener, neener” to the world who condemned him.

Unclear about the imprudence of the man and the size of his ego?  He compared himself and his work to the Prophet Elijah.  Not even in claiming the earned humility of a stumblebum intellect can Wilson manage to sound even remotely humble.

In clear-thinking circles, and as reflected in the comments that follow today’s Blog and Mablog post, on which I’ve already written, this sort of thing is considered silly at best and sinful at worst.  Commenters have suggested that rather than say stupid things and then, nearly two decades later, insist that you did so for God and God only to get the glory, the one who said those things should simply recognize his error and apologize.  That won’t happen.  If “the market” finds his words odious — but odious for God’s glory, remember — the fault isn’t his, no matter how noxious and reckless those things, like a Biblical defense of antebellum slavery, really is.  No, our erstwhile fool for Christ only says what’s true and good and beautiful; that he’s misunderstood and reviled is the risk he gladly takes when asking God to bless his ministry in spite of — what? — the true and good and beautiful positions he takes. Which, of course, can’t be understood that way — that is, true, beautiful, and good — when it proclaims the marvelous harmony that results from a Black person being bought, sold, owned and abused when created in the image of the same God the white slaveholder professes to revere.

Head spinning?  Welcome to life in Moscow.  Some of us here remember that while a few homos, liberals, feminists, and misguided evangelicals took issue with him, the controversy over Southern Slavery As It Was, no out of print and re-tooled as Black and Tan, was actually very good to Wilson.  He suffered only the fools who dared criticize him; what actually happened, as he himself knows to be true, is that in hitching his dwarf star to the impending cultural supernova of neo-Confederate Presbyterianism, he enlarged his stature in areas — particularly, the Anglo-Celt homeland of the American South — where he was largely unknown.  That he was and continues to be foolish is undeniable.  What is deniable is he actually suffered any repercussions at all, or at least none greater than the warmth with which he was received in those patriarchal, neo-Confederate, Scottish Presbyterian, racialist quiverfull homes in which he had not previously been received.

It’s been a comfy, lucrative fit that has catapulted Wilson to unwarranted prestige in some circles and shamefully heroic adulation in others.  He caught, as it were, the biscuit-and-gravy train of simmering secessionism and Confederate heritage, and he’s riding it still.
Wilson wasn’t looking to debase himself by proclaiming truth so that God would be glorified in his eventual prosperity.

He was looking to proclaim debasement so that he would be made prosperous in circles that didn’t know him beforehand.  If it took a little stink, a little filth, a little toxin insouciantly tossed off to libs, homos, and feminists, well . . . it was a fragrant aroma to the Sothren who embraced him.  To pretend that it was a fragrant offering on any kind of altar to the Lord Jesus ought to recall in him and in his supporters nothing more than the mossy, sour stench of filth on his shiny new Confederate boots.

Leave a Reply