What A Fine Mess….
People tend to either love or hate the Three Stooges, but Laurel and Hardy seem to have brought a smile to every face in the hard times of
the Great Depression. “Another Fine Mess,” their 1930 short comedy, helped people lump all their troubles into a bundle and dismiss them with the censorious aplomb of Oliver. We knew—we knew—that despite the cataracts of misfortune into which the duo would be swept, everything was going to be all right. And it was.
Roger McGuinn’s life took many a turn before it turned out all right. Grace is like that, and sharing his back-story was a lot of fun because it’s just so, well, messy. It’s not at all the way we’d write the story, and the reason why is because we tend to be more concerned with getting “the moral of the story” just so than we are with the staggering display of God’s saving grace.
The simple fact is that God doesn’t have to save people the way we want him to. And yet, we often wring our hands that the ordo salutis in real life might include “smiling guy at a rock concert”. You’ll have to read the story to understand that reference, but whatever your opinion on the ordo, know that there is “rejoicing in the presence of the angels” over the salutis.
Our cover story is quite another matter. It should strike painfully at the heart of every believer that this is part of the church’s history in America. For most of you, this will be the first time you have heard this, and it will undoubtedly cut you to the quick. In a few short weeks, Jennifer Oast’s book will be released where you can read the rest of this deeply convicting look at our institutional past. How did it happen? How were we so blind, and perhaps more importantly, what blindness might afflict us in our own times?
As always, we appreciate your feedback and we pray that the stories we bring you will, despite how they may trouble us for the present, cause us to more carefully examine how we “work out” our own salvation with fear and trembling.
On the Cover
The Cotton Pickers, detail, by Winslow Homer, 1876. Oil on canvas. From Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
The Jan-Mar 2016 issue includes these articles:
- The Slave Owning Presbyterian Church in Old Virginia
- Sons of Thunder, Sons of Light
- Roger McGuinn
- The Waldensians