It's been a while since I've shared any quotes from Robert Farar Capon's book Between Noon and Three, mostly because it's been a while since I've done any reading in it. But now that I've resumed reading Part 2, I'm back to enjoying his provocative style and theology.
(STOP NOW!!! READ THIS WHOLE POST!!! IT'S ONE OF THE BEST THINGS I'VE QUOTED IN A WHILE!!! AND, YES, I KNOW I'M YELLING AT YOU!!! and that multiple exclamation markes are puerile!!! anyway...)
This quote will be a little hard to jump into, but it's nearly impossible to give you context without having you read the whole book (which you should); so I'm just going to dive in and have faith that you'll catch up :)
"Paul and Laura respectably married? Why, that would make you see grace as a way back to the sovereignty of the law -- grace as a mere one- or two-shot remission of guilt whose chief purpose was to suspend the rules for a while and give a second chance to people who now, having run out of chances, had best get back to the business that God really has in mind for them -- namely, watching their step. For at the roots of our fallen being, that is what we really think. Our pride drives us to establish our own righteousness. We strive all our life to see ourselves as keepers of rules we cannot keep, as loyal subjects of laws under which we can only be judged outlwas. Yet so deep is our need to derive our identity from our own self-respect -- so profound is our conviction that unless we watch our step, the watchbird will take away our name -- that we will spend a lifetime trying to do the impossible rather than, for even one carefree minute, consent to having it done for us by someone else." (page 145)
AND (this is long, but really good so I'm not apologizing but rather spurring you on):
"If we are ever to enter fully into the glorious liberty of the children of God, we are going to have to spend more time thinking about freedom than we do. The church, by and large, has had a poor record of encouraging freedom. It has spent so much time inculcating in us the fear of making mistakes that it has made us like ill-taught piano students: we play our pieces, but we never really hear them because our main concern is not to make music, but to avoid some flub that will get us in Dutch. The church, having put itself in loco parentis, has been so afraid we will lose sight of the laws of our nature that it has made us care more about how we look than about who we are -- made us act more like the subjects of a police state than fellow citizens of the saints.
"I have raised (nearly -- my nail-biting days will never quite be over) six children. After all these years, I now think my fears that the moral order was always in imminent danger of collapse were misplaced. My children and I have spent a great deal of time doing little else than wave it in front of each other's noses: my lectures to them on truthfulness were more than balanced by their tirades against me on unfairness. But all the while, there was one thing we most needed even from the start, and certainly will need from here on out into the New Jerusalem: the ability to take our freedom seriously and act on it, to live not in fear of mistakes but in the knowledge that no mistake can hold a candle to the love that draws us home. My repentance, accordingly, is not so much for my failings but for the two-bit attitude toward them by which I made them more sovereign than grace. Grace -- the imperative to hear the music, not just listen for errors -- makes all infirmities occasions of glory. I rest my case for Paul's and Laura's shortcomings on Rosina Lhevine's retort to the charge that Arthur Rubinstein played wrong notes: "Yes, but what wrong notes!" O felix culpa.