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What’s Wrong with the World is dedicated to the defense of what remains of Christendom, the civilization made by the men of the Cross of Christ. Athwart two hostile Powers we stand: the Jihad and Liberalism...read more

Cathleen Falsani: Irony-challenged

I had never heard of Cathleen Falsani until this evening while surfing the internet. I came across her forthcoming book on the Zondervan website. She seemed like a nice enough lady, the sort of person with which I could have easily imagined myself becoming friends. But then I read these comments of hers, published on the Huffington Post, on the occasion of Jerry Falwell's death:

In fact, my very first thought upon hearing of the Rev. Falwell's passing was: Good.

And I didn't mean "good" in a oh-good-he's-gone-home-to-be-with-the-Lord kind of way. I meant "good" as in "Ding-dong, the witch is dead."

But that thought -- good riddance, I suppose -- was not meant to be cruel or malicious. After all, the faith that the Rev. Falwell and I share teaches us that he was, at that moment, in a far better place, with Jesus in heaven, and not roasting on a spit in Hell's kitchen.

By shrugging off his mortal coil, the Rev. Falwell had ceased to suffer the pain of humanity.

Still, I'm not particularly proud of my knee-jerk reaction. But there it is....

My initial reaction to the Rev. Falwell's death was, and remains, relief -- not unlike the ease I felt when a particularly nasty bully who used to spit at me on the playground and threaten to beat me up after school moved to another town.

The Rev. Falwell was a spiritual bully. He was the Tony Soprano to Pat Robertson's Paulie Walnuts....

And if there's one thing I learned from the Rev. Falwell's example, it was to heed Jesus' warning to "judge not."

I won't miss having to apologize for the insensitive, mean-spirited, sometimes downright hateful things the Rev. Falwell said in the name of Christ. I won't miss having to explain that not all evangelicals are like the Rev. Falwell, that not all of us are that self-righteous, judgmental and holier than thou.

It takes an awful lot to shock me these days, but that did it.

To be sure, I share, as many of you no doubt share, some of Ms. Falsani's concerns and criticisms on how the Rev. Falwell spoke and conducted himself over the years. Like her, and like many of you, I cringed on more than one occasion when I saw and heard him on television opining on certain controversial issues. It is clear that he could have been more artful and winsome and less combative. And he probably should have allowed some of his talented and credentialed faculty members at Chancellor Falwell's Liberty University (e.g., Gary Habermas) to speak in his stead on matters in which the Rev. (and Chancellor) Falwell was clearly out of his depth.

Although there are many people with which I disagree on matters of politics and faith, it would never occur to me to take pleasure in their deaths. In fact, if I did find such feelings emerging from my heart, I hope I would immediately acquire a sense of shame. I would then take my sin to the Church, confessing it privately to my priest. I would certainly not publish it on the internet, "confessing" it passive aggressively on a widely-read blog.

The irony, of course, is that Ms. Falsani, who finds the Rev. Falwell to be too "judgmental," unleashes on him a severity of judgment that if offered by the Rev. Falwell against practically anyone on Earth (except, probably, Pat "Paulie Walnuts" Robertson) would quickly incur Ms. Falsani's ungracious wrath.

By the way, Ms. Falsani's forthcoming book is entitled, Sin Boldly: A Field Guide for Grace

Comments (10)

I once heard an Evangelical say, "The Christian army is the only army that shoots its own wounded."

Sadly, I have seen his words proved correct many times over.

Given that we are saddled with the frustrating and befuddling task of trying to understand a fallen world using fallen minds, if anyone has the courage to resist evil and to take a stand against it in public, that person is going to make mistakes. That person is going to say things that he or she ought not. To this failing we all are susceptible. If you need it, this blog site is proof.

Jerry Falwell stood against evil with determination and with insight. He sometimes made mistakes. When he did so, everybody knew it. But, unlike some folks, he had the courage to speak his mind in his own name. By comparison, frankly, he towers.

In a world of strife thankfully we have Ms Falsani to show us the meaning of love and tolerance, as did Mr Kos when commenting on the three dead contractors whose burnt bodies were hung from a bridge, or those bloggers who bemoaned a grenade explosion not killing Dick Cheney in Iraq.

The wise see deeply and feel more profoundly then mere mortals. To them is the sad knowledge that one death here or there, but mostly on the Right, may be required by Fate to give birth to the perfect society.
A society where everyone enters public service and taxes exist only to be raised.

Now that's something to look forward to.

I won't miss having to apologize for the insensitive, mean-spirited, sometimes downright hateful things the Rev. Falwell said in the name of Christ. I won't miss having to explain that not all evangelicals are like the Rev. Falwell, that not all of us are that self-righteous, judgmental and holier than thou.
In fact, my very first thought upon hearing of the Rev. Falwell's passing was: Good. And I didn't mean "good" in a oh-good-he's-gone-home-to-be-with-the-Lord kind of way. I meant "good" as in "Ding-dong, the witch is dead."

A professional writer with no sense of irony?

What I find particularly disturbing is that Ms. Falsani thought it appropriate to announce to the world inner thoughts that should remain private.

But, then again, she comes from a generation in which "hooking up" and facebook "friends" are considered "real" and not the burlesques that they actually are. This is why she has a school-girl crush on "Bono," the Christianly-ambiguous bad boy your Daddy doesn't like, and loathes the Rev. Falwell, who represents the ecclesiastical patrimony from which she wants to distance herself.


What I find particularly disturbing is that Ms. Falsani thought it appropriate to announce to the world inner thoughts that should remain private.

That's a terrific point, actually. Who among us does not experience the unbidden bubbling to the surface of thoughts that we know we must disavow? This is likely a daily, evenly hourly occurrence for everyone who isn't a saint, and perhaps some that are. The real danger arises when we begin to assume that our every first impression, intuition, tendency and prejudice is more or less correct by virtue of the fact they they are ours. That, I think, is something towards the definition of 'self-righteous,' and I would think that one of the benefits of the discipline of writing is that, at least ideally, forces us to think ourselves through.

Ho hum. Falwell has been moldering in the grave for over a year, and somebody out there still finds it necessary to harp about him.

This is getting so old.

So, Oengus, the only folks worth our continued attention are those who happen to be breathing?

Quote: "So, Oengus, the only folks worth our continued attention are those who happen to be breathing?"

No, it's not that. It's just that this particular dead horse has been beaten, and beaten, and beaten, and beaten, by everybody and his cousins and nephews and and aunts and uncles, so that it's now just a tedious blob of ghoulish jello thinly smeared all over the road.

I was just registering my ennui.

Yeah, I see your point.

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