Excellent article. Goes a long way in explaining the uneasy appeal of the fundamentalists - appealing because they gaze unsentimentally at the world against what our religion says we should be doing, and uneasy because all too often they are a bit inhuman/inhumane in putting their ideals into action.

Side note 1: I always thought John the Baptist's attitude came from his upbringing - the son born late in the lives of his parents, his father a chief priest in the temple in Jerusalem, his teen years must have been difficult, and he KNEW what all the bigwigs were saying and doing in private... he may well have been in the room at the time.

Side note 2: Back in 1990, in the early days of Bishop John Makoto Takeda, he invited the new suffragan bishop Barbara Harris to Tokyo to talk to the clergy here. She preached one Sunday at St. Alban's, and thoroughly roasted the expats, diplomats, and elites of the community at the 10:30 service. Not a word of comfort for those "suffering the hardship post" at the Tokyo American Club with their very nice lifestyle packages provided by their employers. Rather, her sermon was a challenge to look deeper into what they could and should be doing with their lives.

The Japanese clergy in Tokyo at the time had long talks with her, and they could clearly hear the Holy Spirit speaking through her. She was not preaching a single word of "feminism", rather, much the same message as John the Baptist's. The career ladder is truly "snakes and ladders", and upon your immortal soul, you can repent and do better.

Good thoughts to remember. Thank you!

Expand full comment

Wonderful sermon/post! Will reread immediately.

Expand full comment