Thursday, April 27, 2006

Curmudgeonhood for the Masses

Let me re-explain the purpose and meaning of this blog.

My blog is called "The Constructive Curmudgeon" because truth-tellers, no matter how maligned or ignored, are crucial for living a serious and honest life. The curmudgeon is ever bothered by poppycock, humbug, bovine excrement, and every form of lies or intellectually lazy communication or inauthentic living. Curmudgeons have little tolerance for trendiness, cliches, or fashionable nonsense. Although they may be old and jaded, their hero is the little boy in the fable who said, "The emperor has no clothes." Indeed, curmudgeons denude pretense and prevarication for the sake of truth. That is the aim, the goal, the ideal—however inadequately realized. The curmudgeon himself needs to be corrected by fellow curmudgeons.

The curmudgeon is constructive in that half-truths, bovine excrement, fashionable nonsense, unfashionable nonsense, and other offenses to the Good, the True, and the Beautiful need to be exposed so that the light may dawn and reality be revealed. Reality denudes us all in the end, no matter how much we hate it. The curmudgeon tries to love reality, deep reality—whatever the cost. She or he encourages others to love reality as well, come what may.

In this sense, Jesus was the ultimate Constructive Curmudgeon. He brooked no spin. He exposed all pretense. His life was in perfect harmony with Reality. In fact, he was Reality Incarnate. He loved what was good; he hated what was evil. He was the Truth Teller extraordinaire. If you knew him, you either loved him or hated him. He is my model, although I will fall far short.


Michael Russell said...

Have you been reading Tolkien? Kreeft?

Your language, words, and style resemble greatly descriptions of Middle-earth and the virtues and values cherished there. Or, perhaps, your pre-modern Christian perspective (or so I would portray it, along with my own beliefs) follows down similar paths of those trod earlier by Tolkien, Lewis, and many others.

"For I too am a [curmudgeon]. Did you not know?"

Michael Russell said...

FWIW, I reviewed Kreeft's The Philosophy of Tolkien at my blog. If you have read it, I'd be interested in your take on it; if you haven't read it and have an interest in Tolkien, you might find it a good read.

Jeremy said...

I was having a conversation with my students this morning covering same idea. I'm dealing with a couple of students who have become rather disillusioned with the modern state of our particular tradition, to the point where thier original intention of becoming a minister in that tradition is waning.

The hard part is convincing people that the truth is worth the fight. One student told me that he didn't want to stay in the fellowship and fight its ideology for the rest of his life. I can understand this. It is, however, the call of the prophet (which not everyone is called to). The prophet called people to truth, and were often persecuted, often to death, for the message.

However, as you pointed out, our model should be Christ. He fought for the truth, and was killed because of it. Are we better then he that we should seek our own comfort in place of truth?

Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D. said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D. said...

"I thought maybe you were trying to be ironic, bending the language in a postmodern way."

In no way do I mean that! I may be bending the term a bit, but I am inspired by a book called "The Portable Curmudgeon," that give a more positive understanding of it. My use of the term is a bit hyperbolically, I suppose. I mean someone who is a critical thinker, is not cowed by peer pressure, and is willing to speak the truth when it is unpopular.

Milton Stanley said...

Enjoyed the post. The church definitely needs more truth-telling, both in and out of the pulpit. Peace.