On sorriness and general [postmodern] emotionalism

Mat. 14:6-10…”But when Herod’s birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced before the company and pleased Herod, so that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask. Prompted by her mother, she said, ‘Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a platter.’ And the king was sorry, but because of his oaths and his guests he commanded it to be given. He sent and had John beheaded in the prison…”

People preach about this passage all the time, it seems. I generally don’t like preaching anyhow, so I’ll certainly avoid it here. I prefer wonderings…

Briefly. I wonder about the little clause that says, “And the king was sorry.” I wonder, because his sorriness doesn’t do anything: he still beheads Brother John. So I wonder if feeling a certain way about what you have done (or are about to do) is significant at all. In our culture, and in modern Christianity, methinks, feelings generally seem to be more of a gauge about someone’s goodness or sincerity than the thing that they actually do. I would think John was glad to die for his radical preaching about repentance and the Messiah – Herod was a tool in the hands of God, as are we all.

But what of Herod’s sorriness? Is it worth acknowledging? In a positive light, or a negative one?

On the other hand, if Herod had refused to kill John – for whatever reason (fearing the people, perhaps), but had wished with every ounce of himself that he could kill John, would his actions be any less despicable?

Why do we feel a need to justify our actions by letting others know how we feel about what we’ve done?

This has broader implications than just prophet-murder, of course. What about feelings when we sing worship songs, serve others, obey God (in the glorious and in the mundane [which is glorious in its own way]), work, etc.?


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5 Responses to On sorriness and general [postmodern] emotionalism

  1. Rick Roberson says:

    I appreciate your wonderings. Motivates me to what to do the same. Keep sharing.

  2. Hey Ozark House,
    I think we run into trouble whenever we stop dealing with/considering the whole person. Emotions + Actions. Feelings + Logic. Past + Present. Intentions + Doings. People are complex.

  3. johnny pronto says:

    Romans 10:14 — “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?”
    “Preaching” is the manifestation of His word — Titus 1:3
    Sometimes “wonderings” are not enough: some certainty of dogma is required.
    But I was just wondering…:>)

  4. Johnny, language has proven our foe here (as always) – for that tricky word “preaching” has tripped us up. By “preaching,” I think I mean something different than what Paul means in Titus 1:3. Who could argue that the only way for men to know about the great Gospel is for someone to tell them about it, to declare it to them? And it is the declaring which I think is what Paul means by “preaching.” What I usually don’t prefer is when someone stands on a pedestal and tells me what they think about a verse (or verses) in the Bible, without acknowledging the uncertainty latent in translations, the contextual nuances of the passage (in other words, acting as though a certain passage was actually written with 21st-Century Christians in mind), and the not-so-black-and-white nature of relationships (particularly our relationship with God). That kind of “preaching” comes across as pious, or pompous, or perhaps less devious than those and simply naive. So that’s what I don’t like. But declaring the greatness of God’s Gospel with boldness to all who will hear it? Like.

  5. mark bales says:

    This wondering has made me wonder onto a higher plain I think it is good. m bales

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