Generous Orthodoxy  

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Marilynne Robinson and our lost traditions

A friend sent this. It's from an essay by Marilynne Robinson (author of Gilead). Exact quotations from her are in quotation marks.

Speaking of her understanding of personal holiness, which she describes as "no less traditional or Scriptural" than current prevailing views, she says of the tradition out of which she writes, "it has gone into eclipse with the rise in this country of a culture of Christianity that does not encourage thought. I do not intend this as a criticism of the so-called fundamentalists only, but more particularly of the mainline churches, which has assiduously culled out all traces of the depth and learnedness that were for so long among their greatest contributions to American life. Emily Dickinson wrote, 'The abdication of Belief/ Makes the Behavior small.' There is a powerful tendency also to make belief itself small, whether narrow and bitter or feckless and bland, with what effects on behavior we may perhaps infer from the present state of the Republic."

My friend (a UCC pastor) adds that the charge of "feckless and bland," is aimed, I believe, at the mainline Protestants, and comments, "Apt, I'd say."